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New Jersey Legalizes Sports Betting ... Again

As standing NJ governor, Chris Christie says he is simply doing what his constituents ask of him. And ever since agreeing to a "nonbinding referendum" in 2011, New Jersey state residents have been staunchly supportive of New Jersey-based sports betting operations offering real money wagering. Unfortunately, Big Brother has trumped every move that the Garden State governor has made in his efforts to give his citizens what they want. This has made things a little confusing when it comes to New Jersey betting laws. Tweaking a similar proposal he made last year, Governor Christie released a directive Monday that he says is based on previous federal court rulings. Christie stated Monday that casinos and racetracks can begin offering sports betting for real money immediately, because of previous federal opinions which show that no NJ law prohibits those particular operations from offering wagering on sporting contests. Up until now, NJ residents had to rely solely on licensed and reputable New Jersey sports betting sites that are located offshore, or travel out of the state.

This Christie NJ Sports Betting Proposal The Same, But Different

Sports bettors love a "lock bet" that just can't lose, and if you want to bet on a sure thing, the smart money says that the NCAA and professional sports leagues will quickly move to try and block this directive. They have done so successfully in the past, begging federal authorities to step in and shut down Christie's proposed statewide sports betting legalization in February of 2013. The previous month, Christie had signed a bill into law which would allow the licensing of NJ land-based operations for offering sports wagering. The federal government overrode that decision, but this particular Christie directive is different for several significant reasons. First of all, it disallows gambling on college teams which are based in New Jersey, as well as any college teams which may be playing in New Jersey for a particular contest, which would eliminate New Jersey football or other state based sports programs from being wagering on by NJ residents.

William Hill / MonMouth Agreement Could Offer NJ Sports Betting This Weekend

Another smart move that Christie made this time, according to New Jersey attorney Dennis Drazin, was to limit licensing to currently existing properties which legally offer other types of gambling already. Drazin is also an advisor to the New Jersey thoroughbred Horseman, as well as the Monmouth Park thoroughbred racetrack in Oceansport, New Jersey. That property has stated openly that it will take an aggressive position as the leader in the new sports betting industry in the state when betting becomes legal. N.J. State Senator Jennifer Beck happens to represent the area where Monmouth Park is located. She said the track could be up and running and taking bets as soon as this coming weekend, but that she has suggested the property wait for the inevitable reaction from major sporting leagues. In advance of this type of legislation, global gambling giant William Hill has an agreement to be the exclusive sports betting provider for Monmouth Park.

Why Legal Sports Betting in New Jersey Will Succeed This Time ...

The residents of New Jersey are fully in favor of state-based sports gambling operations. That has never been questioned. Governor Christie has consistently attempted to pass sports betting laws in the state. The persistence of New Jersey citizens and Governor Christie almost guarantee that it is simply a matter of time before "real money" sports betting in New Jersey is a reality. Christie this time around has limited legal sports betting to licensed casinos and racetracks already in business offering federally recognized types of gambling. And by including a provision that New Jersey college programs and other college teams playing in New Jersey are excluded from this sports betting legislation, the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is appeased. The feds also have a lot on their plate currently with issues about the Affordable Care Act, growing tensions in the Middle East, economic problems at home and other concerns. This could be a perfectly timed end-of-year moved by Christie that legalizes sports betting in the Garden State for good.

... And Why It Will Fail

If the Christie directive announced Monday fails, here's why. President Obama's Justice Department has been friendly enough where certain forms of gambling are concerned. In late 2011 the DOJ agreed that each individual state should be allowed to figure out its own stance on certain forms of gambling, such as online lottery ticket sales, fantasy sports leagues and Internet casino and poker. But they have never wavered on their stance concerning betting on sports through US-based companies. The feds may believe that if they concur with Governor Christie and allow sports betting in New Jersey, then every other state will step forward to do the same. If the current legislation proposed by Christie does not hold because of federal oversight, New Jersey and US citizens should fear not. There still are online gambling industry recognized operations which have been in business for years that legitimately support US citizens and their right to gamble online. But Governor Christie would prefer that sports betting money stay at home and in his state coffers, and his recent directive is the first move in accomplishing that.

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