New Jersey wants sports betting, and Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t think the feds can stop him.
Las Vegas industry executives wish him luck, but aren’t as confident about Jersey’s chances of becoming the only other state allowed to accept single-game wagers in the U.S..
Christie told reporters at Thursday news conference in Atlantic City that the state will defy a federal ban and allow people to bet on sports this fall, the Associated Press reported.
“We intend to go forward,” Christie said. “If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us. We want to work with the casinos and horse racing industry to get it implemented.
“Am I expecting there may be legal action taken against us to try to prevent it? Yes,” the governor said. “But I have every confidence we’re going to be successful.”
New Jersey Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a Democratic proponent of legalized sports betting,delivered the biggest haymaker, saying a statement:“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 20 years — I respectfully say, ‘Bring it on.’ The sooner you make an issue of New Jersey’s noncompliance with an unconstitutional federal ban, the sooner we can defeat that ban in the courts, and put New Jersey on the same competitive footing as the rest of the nation when it comes to sports wagering.”
A comment request made via Twitter to an NFL PR rep was not immediately returned.
Jay Kornegay, executive director of the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino SuperBook, believes there is a lot of work to be done before people are placing bets in New Jersey on the NFL in September.
“Saying it and actually pulling it off are two different things. I believe they will face enormous amount of pressure from the feds and all the major leagues,” Kornegay said in an email “I don’t think it would be a good thing for Nevada since we have the exclusive rights but opens the door for many in the business.”
John Avello, sportsbook manager at the Wynn, agreed with Kornegay and also was skeptical about the presumed legal battle that’s ahead for New Jersey. Avello didn’t think legalized sports betting in New Jersey would hurt Las Vegas, though.
“No one flies all the way out here from the East Coast just to place a bet on a game,” Avello said
“I definitely think it will be good for the industry as a whole, and people who’d like to get back east should probably start updating their resumes,” added Avello, a native of New York. “Not me , though; I can’t handle the winters anymore.”