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After being widely recognized as one of the main driving forces that legalized sports gambling in America due to his lawsuit, former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie has been making his way around gaming conferences delivering speeches.
Speaking on the successes of New Jersey sports betting legislation and how their monthly handle now rivals Nevada for tops in the United States, Christie took aim with some harsh criticism of neighboring states that did not follow the Garden State’s blueprint for success.
In particular, Christie singled out the state of Pennsylvania and their slow pushout of mobile betting and higher taxes on betting revenue as self-sabotage.
Read more about sports betting in PA.
Last weekend, state officials put the Scoreboard app through its final testing. According to CNBC, six hand-picked testers were given $100 to place bets on an Apple iOS device, Android device and desktop computer.
“Let’s take a state that has really screwed it up — Pennsylvania,” Christie said according to Pennbets.com during his keynote speech at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.
“And I mean, a rolling dumpster fire is sports gaming in Pennsylvania. They did all the wrong things — a ridiculously high tax rate, a ridiculously high barrier of entry.”
Christie went on to note that Pennsylvania’s tax rate, a whopping 36% on all betting revenue was an industry killer when compared to the 9.75% that New Jersey takes from sportsbooks.
Not only are sportsbooks hit with high taxes but players are as well in Pennsylvania with winnings taxed at a rate of over 27%, several percent higher than standard.
“Every Saturday and Sunday this fall, people are driving from Pennsylvania into New Jersey and sitting at our rest stops on their mobile phones and making bets, then heading back home,” Christie told the crowd.
Christie’s main issue with Pennsylvania’s laws for sports betting in that they are designed to stifle growth and ruin an industry that already survives on fairly small margins.
“It’s the opposite of ‘Field of Dreams’,” Christie said in regard to Pennsylvania’s high tax rates. “If you do that, they won’t come.”
When asked later in a question and answer session if he could foresee Pennsylvania turning the ship around on their high tax rate on betting revenue, the former governor was not enthusiastic at the state’s prospects in the short-term.
“I’m not seeing it. There was no reason they shouldn’t have been way out in front on this. But Pennsylvania will come around eventually,” Christie said.
After taking a swipe at Pennsylvania, Christie offered a more direct argument later in his speech as to why New Jersey is setting the gold standard for states looking to legalize.
Telling the crowd that New Jersey is “the test case for all the other states about how to do it, and do it well,” Christie offer a brisk synopsis of how New Jersey filed lawsuits to break apart Nevada’s monopoly on sports betting.
New Jersey is one of the few states that bans bettors from wagering on games involving in-state colleges, something that Christie acknowledged had to be done to make sure sports betting was passed in the state’s legislature but also said he did not believe residents cared about.
“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.”
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