Gov. Christie refuses to join lawsuit to overturn federal sports betting ban

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July 13, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

TRENTON, New Jersey: Governor Chris Christie on July 12, 2010, announced that he will not participate in a lawsuit with state lawmakers that are pressing to overturn a ban on sports betting[1].

Jeff Chisea, who is legal counsel to the Governor, sent a letter to the federal judge presiding in the case that Christie would not participate in the suit as a litigant. The suit led by State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) is part of a plan to get sports betting legalized in the Garden State. The Senator first filed the suit in federal court in 2009[1].

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the Governor said that: "there were just too many steep legal hurdles to clear, and it would at best be a legal long shot." In addition, Chisea also told NJ.com that the state has limited resources that would prevent them from fully participating in the suit. Lesniak expressed his disappointment over the Governor not participating, but further stated that he is confident the law would be overturned[1].

Lesniak argues that a 1992 law prohibiting sports betting in 46 out of 50 states violates the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Senator also argues that states rights are violated when the federal government dictates that Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon are the only states allowing sports betting. Lesniak's arguments fall in line with gaming industry experts who want sports betting legalized in the Garden State. Industry experts feel that sports betting would provide much needed revenue to struggling casinos in Atlantic City[1].

No date has been set on when a decision will be made to overturn the law[1].

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