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Sports Betting Coming to NJ Despite Fed Ban, Christie Says

You could soon bet on your favorite professional sports game in New Jersey.  Governor Chris Christie is moving ahead with a plan to allow sports wagering at casinos and racetracks, despite a federal ban.

Sports Betting in NJ
Flickr User Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

“I signed this bill into law because it is another way to continue to boost our casino and horse racing industries and encourage tourists to come to Atlantic City. We’re doing this in a responsible way that not only gives visitors another option, but ensures we’re doing it the right way” Christie said during a boardwalk press conference.

Legislation signed earlier this year by Governor Christie allows wagering at casinos and racetracks on certain professional and collegiate sports events.

“It will be another exciting way to add to the experience here in Atlantic City and I know it’s something people have been wanting for a long time.”

To engage in the business of sports wagering, a person or entity must obtain a “sports pool license.” Only a casino licensed by the CCC or a racetrack licensed by the RC may apply for and obtain a “sports pool license.” Moreover, 50 percent of the proceeds derived from the collection of license fees will be used to fund compulsive gambling treatment programs.

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The new regulations also establish that sports wagering takes place within a “sports pool lounge” located at a licensed facility. For racetracks, the lounge must be located in the simulcasting room or area, unless approved for another location by DGE.

While the new rules prohibit sports wagering on collegiate sports events that takes place in New Jersey or those that involve a New Jersey college team, there are no limits on professional sports teams.

Christie said he’s ready for a fight from the federal government or anyone else who gets in his way.

“Am I expecting there may be some legal action taken against this to try and prevent it…yes…will we have to go through some litigation to get there, probably…but I think we are going to be successful.”

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, (D-Union), the lead sponsor of measures to legalize sports wagering in the Garden State and the person behind the state’s legal challenge to the federal sports wagering ban, praised the governor’s effort.

“The move by the Christie Administration represents one of the final steps in our long journey towards the repeal of an unfair, and ultimately, unconstitutional ban on sports wagering which gives four states a monopoly on the market to the detriment of New Jerseyans and the rest of the country.”

“To those with a vested interest in the status quo – the professional sports organizations who take a hypocritical stance that wagering will ‘ruin the purity of the game,’ and the Nevada-based gaming conglomerates that have enjoyed that state’s stranglehold on sports wagering for the last twenty years – I respectfully say, ‘Bring it on’, Lesniak added.

Christie wants sports betting legal by early fall.

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