New Jersey Governor bemused by NBA chief’s offer

New Jersey Governor bemused by NBA chief’s offer

Wednesday, December 24, 2014 Totally Gaming

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has described claims by NBA basketball league commissioner Adam Silver that the duo could link up to lobby US Congress for the widespread legalisation of sports betting in the US as “kind of crazy”.

Silver told US pay-television broadcaster ESPN on Monday: “Governor Christie – and I'm happy to join him – should turn his attention to Washington, D.C., to Congress, and say, ‘here are all the reasons it should be regulated’, but let's come up with a framework that makes sense on a national basis presumably that would allow states to opt in.”

However, Christie has responded with scepticism to the invitation after the NBA joined three other US major leagues and the NCAA college league in forcing New Jersey to delay the launch of legal sports betting in the US state in October through a temporary restraining order.

Christie said: “I think it's kind of crazy for the commissioner of the NBA to say, on one hand, ‘join me, governor, let's have legalised sports gaming everywhere, but not in New Jersey right now’.

“What I call it, quite frankly, is a bait and switch.

“If Adam Silver believes that sports gaming is okay, then allow sports gaming in New Jersey. Allow us to be the model.”
Silver, who said in September that legalised sports betting is “inevitable” in the US, said last month: “Outside of the US, sports betting and other forms of gambling are popular, widely legal and subject to regulation.

“Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorise betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.”

In October, William J. Pascrell, III, Esq., a lobbyist with the Princeton Public Affairs Group, told TotallyGaming.com: “The professional leagues continue fighting hard because they ultimately want to control the revenues derived from sports wagering.

“This is the last stand for the sports leagues. New Jersey sports betting is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.”
This autumn, Christie signed off on a plan to allow sports betting at New Jersey racetracks and casinos as long as wagers are not placed on events in the state.

However, the plans were scuppered – temporarily at least – by Judge Michael Shipp agreeing with the complainants – the NBA, the NCAA, American football’s NFL, baseball’s MLB and ice hockey’s NHL – that allowing limited betting could cause their games to be “irreparably harmed”.

Some estimates suggest as much as $400bn (€330bn) is wagered illegally on sports in the US every year.

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