ormer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday delivered a keynote speech at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas, where he celebrated New Jersey's successes in sports betting, rejected a federal government involvement in the business, and criticized neighboring Pennsylvania.
“The first and most important thing is that we need to keep the federal government out of this business,” said Christie during a keynote speech titled “How New Jersey Fought the Feds and Won” on the Sands Expo Special Events Stage, according to US Bets. “We’ve got to keep them out."
“The only way is rigorous, responsible state regulation,” Christie added. “As I travel around the country talking about this issue, I tell state legislators and governors all the time: ‘You are the only ones who can screw this up.’ One scandal that traces its origin back to lax regulation will be the invitation that the federal government needs to get into this business.”
Christie played an instrumental role in opening the door for states outside Nevada to legalize sports gambling. While in office, he signed and helped drive forward legislation that eventually prompted a Supreme Court ruling in favor of New Jersey and other states opening their own books.
“Let’s take a state that has really screwed it up — Pennsylvania,” Christie said, as reported by The Philly Voice. “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."
Pennsylvania's taxes are among the highest in the country among states that have opened, or plan to open, sports betting to the public, both at land-based venues and online. While New Jersey now imposes a 9.75% tax on brick-and-morter sports betting revenue and a 13% tax on mobile or online sports betting revenue, Pennsylvania takes 36% of revenue from casinos.
Bettors are generally subject to a 24% tax on winnings, but it's an additional 3.07% more in Pennsylvania. “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 claimed.
Numbers from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board show that sports betting wagers rose to $109 million in August, an 84% percent increase over July. New Jersey, by comparison, set a state-best $446 million in wagers in September, up from $183.9 million the year before.
Sports betting in New Jersey has been up and running since June 2018, while Pennsylvania books began to open in November 2018.