New Governor To Decide On N.J. Sportsbetting

Corzine decision to support sportsbetting legal action stands for now

The defeat of New Jersey governor Jon Corzine by incoming governor Chris Christie earlier this week does not mean the end of New Jersey's legal action to bring sportsbetting to the state, reports NJBiz.

On Monday, a day before Corzine lost the election to Republican rival Chris Christie, a federal judge allowed Corzine until November 12 to file a complaint against a 17-year ban on sports wagering, overruling resistance from the federal Department of Justice .

'We'll continue to move forward and file the necessary court papers by the due date,' said Robert Corrales, a spokesman in the governor's office. 'It will be up to the incoming governor to decide if he would want to proceed.'

Christie had 'publicly indicated initial support' for allowing sports wagering in the state, recalled Joe Brennan Jr., chairman of the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association Inc.

Sports betting is permitted in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon under a special dispensation, and earlier this year, iMEGA, state Sen. Ray Lesniak and representatives of the NJ horseracing industry filed an action suing the federal government in a bid to reverse the ban on sports betting in New Jersey and 45 other US states. Corzine has indicated New Jersey's intention to join the action.

Lesniak said through a spokesman that he has asked Christie 'to announce his support for our efforts to have the federal ban on sports betting declared unconstitutional.'

Allowing sports wagering means more than $100 million a year in revenue for the state, besides jobs and a boost for tourism at its casinos and racetracks, he added.

'New Jersey could potentially become a hub for online gambling in the U.S.,' Brennan said, pointing to the wide business and employment advantages as well as tax revenues that legalised sportsbetting could bring to the state.

The state's casino industry, too, has supported sports wagering, though it is adopting 'a wait-and-see attitude' to see how the lawsuit challenging the ban progresses, Brennan said.

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