Recently, the New Jersey state Assembly voted 73-4 on a bill that would loosen the provisions on state laws that ban sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The bill has made its way to Christie’s desk, and he has 45 days to make a decision on Assembly Bill 3711.
Of the entire 77 assemblyman who voted on this bill, only four of them opposed the bill. Jack Ciattarelli, Jay Webber, Erik Peterson, and John DiMaio all voted against the bill. Webber spoke out by states that he does not think that “the state needs it”. He argues that loosening restrictions on sports betting seems unnecessary, and could produce deleterious effects from a monetary standpoint through the litigation the state may expect from sport associations, and other such opposing entities.
On the other hand, however, supporters of the bill have focused on the economic advantages the bill might offer to Monmouth Park and Atlantic City. According to Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, “Everybody recognizes the problems of Atlantic City and the racetracks. This (bill) would be a tremendous boost”. Senator Joseph Kyrillos, a good friend of Chris Christie has urged Christie to sign the bill. According to Kyrillos, “Sports betting can assist New Jersey’s struggling casino industry and with our challenges at Monmouth Park Racetrack”.
However, the question remains as to whether or not Christie will sign the bill. According to Dennis Drazin, an attorney for the Monmouth Park Ractrack, Christie will likely sign it. Drazin has mentioned that the Christie administration has proposed two amendments to the bill, something he believes could be a sign of Governor Christie’s support. One of the two proposed amendments was to include provisions in the bill that would prohibit wagering on games involving state colleges and universities. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) does not hold athletic championships in states that offer sports betting. However, according to the NCAA spokesman Stacey Osburn the NCAA has already asked the United States District Court “to stop the state of New Jersey from allowing sports wagering to occur in casinos and racetracks across the state in violation of the injunction issued last year.”
It remains to be known as to what will happen with the sports betting bill. However, passing it might result in unnecessary issues for the state in regards to litigation and opposition by interests groups. Hopefully, a solution that will assuage both the opposing factions will be reached.
UPDATE: Chris Christie has signed the sports betting bill.