Chris Christie Gets Candid About Sports Betting In New Interview

Posted By Steve Ruddock on November 7, 2017

[toc]Gov. Chris Christie only has a few months left as the Governor of New Jersey. Even though he won’t be in office when the decision is rendered, Christie sat down with HBO Real Time’s Andrea Kremer to talk about his state’s sports betting case.

When asked by Kremer if New Jersey is ready now for legalized sports gambling, Christie didn’t hesitate.

“Yes. We are ready.”

Here’s what else the New Jersey governor had to say about the ramifications if New Jersey is victorious when it argues for its right to legalize sports betting in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in December.

Christie’s legacy indelibly tied to gambling in New Jersey

Christie will still be Governor of New Jersey when the case is heard. However, in January Christie will hand over the reins to a new governor, bringing an end to an up and down term filled with both crowning achievements and scandal.

It’s always difficult to judge legacy. If New Jersey triumphs in its sports betting case, Christie’s legacy could be one of gambling though.

  • Christie was at the helm during a period of significant contraction in Atlantic City.
  • Following the contraction, Atlantic City is reinventing itself, and gaming has been a big part of its revival.
  • Christie was Governor when New Jersey legalized online gambling.
  • Following a voter referendum, Christie signed a law legalizing sports betting, and has been a key figure in the sports betting case that bears his name: Christie vs. the NCAA.

Christiespoke to Kremer about the suit.

“The case was the NCAA, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball versus Governor Chris Christie. They picked this fight, not me. I was just doing my job as governor, following the referendum of the people of my state and signing a law. They sued me.”

Christie: ‘The leagues can’t have it both ways’

In his sworn statement for the case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell opined:

“If gambling is freely permitted on sporting events, normal incidents of the game, such as bad snaps, dropped passes, turnovers, penalties, and play calling inevitably will fuel speculation, distrust and accusations of point-shaving or game-fixing.”

Christie lambasted this assertion during his interview:

“The hypocrisy is just so overwhelming.  They say because we have the Giants and the Jets and the Devils that somehow we shouldn’t be allowed to have gambling here because somehow it will threaten the integrity of the game. Well, you kidding? How isn’t it threatening the integrity of the game in Las Vegas for the NHL and the NFL?

“I mean that’s why they no longer have moral high ground on this. They cannot make the integrity of the game argument anymore, Andrea, because they have now gone to the sports gambling capital of America and put two of the four major sports now, having teams in that city. It’s over.”

Not only are sports teams popping up in Las Vegas, but the NFL has hosted games in London, where legal betting shops are running rampant since 2007. The integrity of these games has never been called into question by the NFL.

The leagues just want their cut

Christie believes the opposition isn’t about legalized sports betting. Rather, it’s about the way sports betting is legalized in the US. According to Christie, the leagues want the federal government to preside over legal sports betting. Not because Congress would do a better job though.

“I think not only do they want a piece, but they want to determine the size of their piece,” Christie said. “And I think they think they have a much better chance to do that by negotiating just with Congress than they do with 49 other states.”

 Musburger: The New Jersey case could ‘open the floodgates’

Christie didn’t discuss New Jersey’s chances in front of the Supreme Court, but longtime football commentator Brent Musburger believes New Jersey will prevail, leading to a domino effect across the country.

Here’s the exchange from the episode:

Andrea Kremer: “If you were a betting man what happens with the Supreme Court case?”

Brent Musburger: “They will rule in favor of the State of New Jersey and Chris Christie.”

Andrea Kremer: “And what will the implications for sports betting in the United States be from that?”

Brent Musburger: “It will then explode across the country.”

Photo by Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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