New Jersey casinos and race tracks can offer sports betting: Governor

    Casinos and racetracks in New Jersey can offer sports betting without fear of prosecution or civil liability, the state’s Governor Chris Christie has declared.Following a ruling from a U.S. Appellate Court judge, Christie’s office issued a statement saying nothing under New Jersey law prevents casinos and racetracks from operating a sports pool, Bloomberg reports.The appellate court “made clear that New Jersey was free to remove prohibitions against sports wagering.”This sets up a confrontation with professional and college leagues, which have fought a long legal battle against sports betting in New Jersey and most other states. Wagering on New Jersey’s own college teams is still illegal.The Governor maintains he has not issued any directive, but is instead relying on the interpretation of the court’s ruling given by the state’s Attorney General.The move has been welcomed by some legislators, with State Senator Raymond Lesniak, a Democrat, quoted as saying: “Gambling on sporting events already takes place every day, but the profits were going to offshore businesses and organized crime.”The move towards legalized sports betting comes as the governor convened a closed-door summit in Atlantic City with political leaders and casino officials to discuss how to revive the resort. Gambling revenue in Atlantic City fell from a $5.2 billion peak in 2006 to $2.9 billion last year mainly because of a host of new casinos setting up in neighbouring states.