Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie urged lawmakers in the US to resist the federal gambling bill. He warned against the federal government taking control of the country’s gambling sector. The Republican said in a National Council of Legislators from Gaming States conference on Friday that the states have proven that the states can handle the job of regulating their sports betting industries.
The state of New Jersey championed the cause of nationwide gambling regulations after Christie began a battle in the US Supreme Court against college sports leagues and major pro leagues. The legal process ended with the striking down of the PASPA. The states got a chance to offer sports betting options within their jurisdictions.
Christie is also opposed to the idea of “integrity fees” that the major sports leagues are pushing. The fee will bite into the sports betting revenue of the states by forcing the operators to use only official league data for wagering. He noted that the fee would “reward bad behavior.”
Seven US states are currently offering sports betting options, but the number is expected to go up to 30. Christie holds a firm belief that states have been handling their gambling industries efficiently without incident for decades and they do not need a federal bill.
The bill Christie is talking about was introduced by Democratic Sen Charles Schumer of New York and Republican Sen Orrin Hatch of Utah. The bill will empower the US Justice Department to set the minimum standards for states offering sports betting. The bill doesn’t say much about integrity fee but doesn’t prohibit it also.
Christie was critical of the major leagues asking whether rewarding the people they fought to diminish the states’ margin is right. He said that the leagues neither need it nor deserve it. The leagues are backing the federal regulations, suggesting that a single set of rules will be more efficient than 50 different rules. Senior Vice President of NBA, Dan Spillane said that they bear a risk because their product is on the line in sports wagers. Therefore, integrity fee is reasonable and wouldn’t hurt the industry too much.
None of the spokesmen for professional hockey, football, and baseball leagues commented on Christie’s statements. One thing is sure that at least three states- Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio are opposed to the federal regulations. Ohio Republican Sen. William Coley II indicated earlier that the state authorities know what they can do in their jurisdiction and do not want federal oversight. Senators from other states are now also backing up his statements, calling the nationwide bill a “money grab” by the feds.