A recent AP article featured in the Las Vegas Review Journal has said Governor Chris Christie plans to defy the federal government regarding sports betting.  According to the article, Christie said his administration will make no attempts to overturn a 1992 law that limits sports betting to four states.  But he doesn’t sound like he intends to follow it either.

“We intend to go forward,” the Republican governor said. “If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us. We want to work with the casinos and horse racing industry to get it implemented.  Am I expecting there may be legal action taken against us to try to prevent it? Yes,” the governor said. “But I have every confidence we’re going to be successful.”

Way to go, Governor Christie!  I’m going to start calling you “Tenth Amendment Guy” if you keep it up.

Unlike his recent veto of the Legislature’s bill that would have implemented the health care exchanges under ObamaCare in New Jersey, the governor appears to have support from some big names across the aisle.  Senator Raymond Lesniak, who attempted a lawsuit to overturn the federal ban, had this to say, “To those with a vested interest in the status quo – the professional sports organizations who take a hypocritical stance that wagering will ‘ruin the purity of the game,’ and the Nevada-based gaming conglomerates that have enjoyed that state’s stranglehold on sports wagering for the last 20 years – I respectfully say, ‘Bring it on.’  The sooner you make an issue of New Jersey’s noncompliance with an unconstitutional federal ban, the sooner we can defeat that ban in the courts, and put New Jersey on the same competitive footing as the rest of the nation when it comes to sports wagering.”

Senator, you almost sound like a Tenther there too.  I would have left out the bit about the courts.  Go ahead with the noncompliance even if we lose in the courts.  Many Northern states did the same after the infamous Dred Scott decision as well, and California continues this tradition by defying the 2005 Raich decision on marijuana.

New Jersey’s plan to defy the federal government also has the advantage of considerable support in the business community and 2-to-1 voter support after it was put to a vote before the people.  I’m not a betting man myself, but even I like those odds.

It’s not like me to say this, as I often find the Tenther landscape somewhat barren in New Jersey, but the Governor, Legislature and the People of New Jersey all have done a great job standing up and actually acting like a State rather than a subjugated province or territory.  Although a lot can happen, it appears New Jersey has finally left the starting gates in the race for freedom.  But in this game, when one wins, we all win.

Benjamin W. Mankowski, Sr.

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