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Legal Sports Report

NJ Gov. Christie Says He Thinks Trump Administration ‘Against’ Gambling, Sports Betting Included?

Christie Trump gambling
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared to indicate that the administration of President Donald Trump is “against” gambling and sports betting in a radio show on Monday.

How far such opposition might go — if it includes being against the legalization of sports betting from a federal standpoint — was unclear. It could just capture the administration’s views on current laws on the books.

What Christie said on sports betting

Christie was sitting in as a co-host of WFAN’s “Boomer and Carton” show in New York City.

A caller asked Christie about the status of the NJ sports betting case. The US Supreme Court will likely say if it intends to hear an appeal in the the case — in which the state is trying to legalize sports betting — later this month.

If that happens, Christie painted the optimistic picture that people in New Jersey could possibly bet on the Super Bowl legally in 2018.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the segment on sports betting is his apparent characterization of the Trump administration’s stance on two states’ rights issues — marijuana and gambling.

“I think they’re against both,” Christie said when asked about where the current administration stands on the issues.

The conversation with host Craig Carton was a bit meandering, but Christie, a confidante of the president, appeared to indicate that the administration opposed sports betting.

You can listen to the segment here.

It’s not clear how far such opposition would go

It’s difficult to know exactly how far Christie’s summation of Trump’s stance reaches. The conversation was quite vague.

Trump, as a former casino owner, has been painted as friendly to the interests of the gaming industry.

Here’s what we do know:

Christie’s characterization could just involve the administration’s interpretation of current federal law — PASPA — which restricts single-game wagering to Nevada.

It might not extend to any future efforts to repeal or amend federal law on sports betting specifically. Again, it’s difficult to parse exactly what Christie said.

SCOTUS looms as the quick answer for sports betting

New Jersey could indeed have sports betting by next year.

That would take SCOTUS both taking the appeal, and then a majority of justices finding for New Jersey. Such an outcome appears to be a longshot based on a string of court defeats the state has suffered so far.

But it remains at least a possibility, and certainly the quickest path to the expansion of legal sports betting in the US.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.