ESPN – New Jersey will defy a federal ban and let people bet on the outcomes of football, basketball and other games this fall, Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday. Speaking at a news conference highlighting efforts to reinvigorate Atlantic City, Christie said the regulations his administration will issue next week make no attempt to overturn a 1992 federal law that limits sports betting to four states. “We intend to go forward,” the Republican governor 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.” The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on Thursday. A federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act limits sports betting to four states that approved it by a 1991 deadline: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. At the time, New Jersey was given the chance to become the fifth but failed to act during a prescribed window. But for the past two years, New Jersey has been moving toward implementing sports betting. A state senator from northern New Jersey tried to sue to overturn the law, but the case was dismissed. In the fall, voters indicated by a 2-to-1 margin in a nonbinding referendum that they want the ability to bet on sporting events. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a sports betting law, and Christie signed it. It would allow bets to be taken at Atlantic City casinos and the state’s four horse tracks. “I love the idea of playing offense and having the federal government have to play defense against us,” said Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, which owns the Tropicana in Atlantic City, as well as casinos in several other states. “But I don’t know who’s going to want to be the first to open knowing they can shut you down. We’d need a lot more clarity before we invested lots of money in a sports book.”
Anybody else see the connection between New Jersey’s new-found ballsy legislation towards strict federal restrictions and what California has done over the past decade or so concerning marijuana? The president of Tropicana Entertainment Tony Rodio said it all — “I love the idea of playing offense and having the federal government have to play defense.” Tony’s right. The government probably isn’t going to waste time and resources constantly invading casinos and battling with state lawyers. Jersey, like California, is too valuable a piece of the Union to consistently harass like that. At worst there will be a federal raid every once in a while that you’ll read about on Yahoo, you’ll bring it up to your coworkers (“Hey did you hear about the blah blah casino raid this weekend?”), and the story will die out quicker than expected. Washington just wants to remind us every now and then who’s boss, but in the end — just like obtaining weed in California — sports betting will be easily available and legal.
I’m curious to see if this is also just the beginning of many dominoes falling regarding states passing laws that go directly against federal regulations. I would add gay marriage to this argument, but at the moment there is no federal law regarding gay marriage. Will other states just start doing illegal shit and daring DC to make a move? I bet Hawaii’s “All mainland 18-35 year old female tourists must blow at least one state resident during their stay” will go over well.
This sounds like the beginning of an awesome Civil War 2 movie that I’ll never write.