New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has hit out at a call from National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver to join him in lobbying the US Congress to legalise sports betting across the nation.
Christie (pictured) criticised Silver’s legalisation push, pointing out that the commissioner is part of a lawsuit blocking sports betting in his state. “I think it's kind of crazy for the commissioner of the NBA to say, on one hand, 'Join me governor, let's have legalised sports gaming everywhere. But not in New Jersey right now,'” Christie said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “What I call it, quite frankly, is a bait and switch.”
Silver has called on Congress to pass legislation that would let states legalise and regulate sports betting across the US. Silver believes there is a widespread desire among sports fans to bet on games, but has maintained any new approach must ensure the integrity of sport while being consistent from state to state.
Repeating his claims, Silver told ESPN: “Governor Christie, and I'm happy to join him, should turn his attention to Washington, D.C., to Congress, and say, 'Here are all the reasons it should be regulated.’ But let's come up with a framework that makes sense on a national basis, presumably that would allow states to opt in.”
But Christie rejected the premise, adding: “If Adam Silver believes that sports gaming is okay then allow sports gaming in New Jersey, allow us to be the model.”
The NBA, National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sued Christie in 2012 to block his attempts to legalise the practice. A federal judge has prevented New Jersey from introducing sports betting at casinos and racetracks, saying it violates federal law.