Will New Jersey Ever Succeed in Bringing Sports Gambling to their State?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been fighting hard to bring sports gambling to New Jersey but has suffered numerous defeats in court doing so.  Christie recently hired a law firm, using tax payer money, to defend a lawsuit filed by the four major sports.

According to figures obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request, Gibson Dunn billed the state for $2.8 million in fees between August 2012, when the leagues sued to stop Christie from going ahead with his plan to issue sports gambling licenses, and the end of 2013.

Many New Jersey politicians are not happy about the money being spent to bring sports gambling to New Jersey, considering they have an $800 million budget deficit.  The state’s last chance for the gambling case is for the U.S. Supreme Court to take it up, a decision that could come this month.

Christie is fighting hard for sports gambling to help their struggling casinos.  Atlantic City has been in serious decline after losing people to neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and Delaware which have casinos of their own.  Most legal experts predict it’s a long shot to overturn this case, given that it would require overturning the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 law that restricted sports gambling to Nevada and three other states that already offered betting pools.

This brings up a valid argument, one in which Christie is making which asks the question as to why four states have legalized sports betting but other states must obey the federal law?  If a state, such as New Jersey, wanted to take all the proper steps to legalize sports betting in their state, why do they continue to get denied?  We all know sports betting is a multi-billion dollar business and New Jersey wants a slice of the pie.  If pot can help increase revenue in Colorado and Washington, why isn’t sports betting a viable option for a state like New Jersey to increase revenue?

This is a political game played out by politicians protecting their interests.  If enough New Jersey residents come together and demand it be put on a ballot, similar to certain counties in Colorado, they can’t ignore the fight.  These are certainly two different circumstances but needless to say a number of states have legalized a drug and the federal government has simply let them carry on for now because they know the amount of federal tax revenue pot is creating.  We are talking about two parties wagering on the outcome of a sporting event.  Just like pot, gambling takes place underground whether it’s legalized or not.

By RC Blevins

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