Gov. Christie: ‘We’ll Have Sports Gambling In New Jersey’ Soon; But Why The Optimism?

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Christie NJ sports betting

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is bullish on his state having legal sports betting in 2017, according to comments he made on Tuesday. But it’s not clear where that optimism is coming from.

Christie on sports betting

Christie was appearing as a guest radio host on the “Boomer and Carton” sports show on WFAN in New York.

Here is what he said on the topic of sports betting, which New Jersey has tried to legalize for years, according to

“I also think that we’ll have sports gambling in New Jersey in the next year,” Christie said. “Before I leave office, I think we’ll have sports gambling in Monmouth Park.”

New Jersey has twice passed laws that would have partially repealed its sports betting prohibition, allowing race tracks and Atlantic City casinos to offer single-game wagering. So far, those laws have been struck down in federal court as violating a federal law — the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Currently, the New Jersey sports betting case is being appealed to the US Supreme Court, with new filings due in the case this week.

Why does Christie think sports betting is coming?

The statement from Christie does not represent some sea change in the climate for sports betting in New Jersey or the US.

More likely, Christie is simply hoping that a battle he and the state legislature have fought over PASPA for years results in something other than attorney fees during his administration.

Part of the legacy of Christie’s tenure is wrapped up in gambling. Atlantic City has fallen on hard times in recent years, with several casino closures. Christie helped orchestrate a state takeover of the casino town. Legalized sports betting is seen as a way to prop New Jersey’s struggling gambling industry.

What would have to happen for New Jersey to have sports betting in 2017?

Christie’s term will end early in 2018. There are several paths to New Jersey offering sports betting, none of them terribly likely:

The bottom line: Christie’s optimism on legal NJ sports betting in 2017 is not grounded in any new developments.

Image credit: L.E.MORMILE /