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On Monday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a curious change to the state's laws on sports betting, effectively repealing a ban on sports wagering. While gamblers in Jersey might be rejoicing, the law around sports betting is far from settled.

For starters, there is a federal law prohibiting sports betting in nearly every state, including New Jersey. Christie previously challenged this law in court, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. However, federal courts did find that "nothing in New Jersey law prohibits the casinos and horse racing tracks from offering sports betting."

Just last month, Christie vetoed attempts by the state legislature to make gambling on sporting events fully legal, but instead opted for this workaround, which will allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting without fear of state punishment. 

With that in mind, Christie made this move, saying in a statement

Based on the arguments of the sports leagues and the United States Department of Justice, the 3rd Circuit has already ruled that New Jersey can carry out sports wagering as described in today's statewide directive. The motion simply would clarify and formalize that authority and give clear guidance to casinos and racetracks waiting to open a sports pool in New Jersey."

This could help pump some dollars into struggling Atlantic City, which has seen three casino closing this year. However, professional and college sports teams are none-too-thrilled. They believe this new law — or lack of law — will affect the integrity of sporting events (read: players/coaches/refs will have an incentive to take bribes.) While point shaving and tanking has always been a valid concern, sports betting does legally exist in Nevada (and illegally almost everywhere else.)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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