New Jersey Fares Better With Christie Remarks
“I called Ted and said, ‘Are you available, or do you have a conflict?’
“I have no conflict,” Christie recalls Olson as saying, describing how “those were the four words that led to sports betting across America.”
Olson’s arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Dec. 2017 won the day — and five months later, the Court vacated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The one aspect of New Jersey’s sports betting model that gathers the most criticism is the ban on wagering on college games played by New Jersey universities (or on any college sporting events taking place in the state).
The ban has variously been credited in homage to former U.S. Senator and Princeton/Knicks basketball star Bill Bradley — the PASPA sponsor 27 years ago — or to former Gov. Richard Codey, a stalwart Seton Hall supporter. Others say there were enough Rutgers alumni in the Legislature that there was no point in seeing a risk of a challenge to PASPA delayed by a potentially modest revenue stream at best.
No regrets, says Christie.
“For New Jersey people, they are not knocking down the doors to bet on Rutgers or Seton Hall, and those are essentially our only two major university sports programs — God love Princeton, but I don’t think people are dying to bet on Ivy League football or basketball,” Christie said. “If the ban was repealed, I wouldn’t stomp my feet up and down, either. “
More Christie bon mots
This month’s news of the latest Atlantic City mayor resigning in disgrace prompted Christie to tout his administration’s controversial takeover of the city.
“The mayor gets elected, but most of the major decisions are still being made by state government,” Christie said, asserting that some new development in the city only has taken place because of the takeover.
“My successor [Democrat Phil Murphy] campaigned saying he would not continue that,” Christie said. “But two years later, he’s doing the exact same thing because it’s the right thing to do. Someday he’ll admit he’s wrong — he essentially called me a racist for taking over Atlantic City. I’m sure the apology from Governor Murphy is coming any time now. I wait by my phone every day for it.”
The “walk-up” and “walk-off” music for Christie Tuesday was “Dancing in the Dark,” one of the many hits of fellow Jersey guy (though politically opposite) Bruce Springsteen.
Asked if “Roll of the Dice” or “Atlantic City” might have been more appropriate Springsteen tune choices, the former Governor replied, “Nothing could be worse than ‘Dancing in the Dark’ — no one wants to see me dance, that’s for damn sure.”
With just a few minutes of his one-hour slot remaining, Christie humorously made a note of an event coordinator’s wave of an arm under the chin, “You know, in New Jersey, that’s a threat. Maybe in other parts, it means, ‘Wrap it up.’ In New Jersey it means, ‘I am going to kill you.’ So please, if you have other New Jersey speakers, be sensitive to those type of things. If you do that [signal] again, they are going to run out the back of the stage and leave.”
Final Christie thoughts
It’s little-remembered now, but technically Delaware burst forward in June 2018 to gain “second state status” on Las Vegas-style sports betting one week before New Jersey went live.
“I’m really disappointed — and if I were Governor, it never would have happened, I guarantee it,” Christie said, jokingly adding, “We could have brought in our National Guard. Delaware is smaller than us, so we could have taken them for sure.”
On another technical front, the “Christie I” and “Christie II” cases that lingered for years in the federal courts wound up as “Murphy v NCAA” since the new governor was sworn in before the Supreme Court’s final ruling.
Christie shrugged and said, “It’s not like people have forgotten who brought the fight. What matters to me is who gets the result — and it’s not like I’m lacking in name recognition.”