NJ Politics Digest: What Christie Thinks of the State’s Efforts on Sports Betting

Former Gov. Chris Christie thinks his former colleagues in state government are blowing it by delaying the date when folks can start laying down bets

Chris Christie
Chris Christie. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

He was a big proponent of allowing legalized sports betting in New Jersey, and now former Gov. Chris Christie thinks his former colleagues in state government are blowing it by delaying the date when folks can start laying down bets.

“We should allow Monmouth Park to start taking bets on Memorial Day,” Christie—who still refers to state government as “we”—told Advance Media for a story posted Sunday.

Not only will that start generating tax revenue, but it will also help the state economy by drawing visitors to the New Jersey shore for the long holiday weekend, Christie said in the report.

State officials, however, say June 7—the day of the next legislative voting session—is the earliest sports betting can go ahead following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of New Jersey’s argument to allow for the spread of legalized sports betting.

While Monmouth Park had originally planned to start accepting sports bets on May 28, it backed off the date when Senate President Steve Sweeney included provisions in the proposed state legislation regulating betting that would ban anyone who accepts bets before the measure is approved from accepting future bets.

Under Christie, the state has been waging a campaign since 2011 to overturn the federal law that prevented the state from accepting sports wagers.

But now it looks like Delaware will be the first East Coast state to allow people to place single game bets on professional and college sports. That state has allowed multi-game betting since 2009, and on Thursday state officials said there was nothing stopping the state from moving ahead with plans to expand gambling choices, according to Delaware Online. Delaware Gov. John Carney has said betting could start by the first week of June, according to the report.

New Jersey officials have said they expect the state to reap between $20 and $30 million from sports betting in the coming fiscal year, though some estimates have been as high as $60 million. There is some question as to how sports betting will impact Atlantic City’s future, with supporters hoping it will prove a boon to the struggling gambling resort while others saying the spread of sports betting will lead potential Atlantic City tourists to other states.

Quote of the Day: “It was completely overwhelming. You’re being followed everywhere and screamed at and yelled at with questions and charges.” — Former Gov. Chris Christie, on dealing with the fallout from the Bridgegate scandal.

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NJ Politics Digest: What Christie Thinks of the State’s Efforts on Sports Betting