New Jersey Officials React to NCAA Moving Championships Out of State

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In a lame reaction to New Jersey’s planned attempt to legalize sports wagering in January 2013, through a statement released late Monday, the NCAA announced that it was in essence punishing the state by pulling five championship events out of the state.

Taken from Garden State are a swimming and diving event in Piscataway, part of the women’s basketball tournament in Trenton and some lower division volleyball and lacrosse championships in Montclair and Hoboken. The NCAA cited its policy of not staging any part of a national tournament in a state with “single-game betting.”

“The NCAA wants to penalize New Jersey for legalizing what occurs illegally every day in every state and often with the participation of organized crime,” Michael Drewniak, spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie said. “But the NCAA looks the other way for that? Ludicrous and hypocritical.”

The NCAA’s wrist slap to the state is quite comical if you think about it becuase they’ve pulled things that don’t bring major revenue to the state and that no one bets on. Meanwhile, New Jersey, like Nevada, can still host major revenue draws such as conference tournaments and bowl games. It would be one thing if an entity like the NFL decided to pull the 2014 Super Bowl from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., but that’s not happening. In fact, while the NFL is aligned with the NCAA in opposing New Jersey’s legalization attempt, league spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday that there is no discussion about moving the Super Bowl, even if sports betting is allowed at the Meadowlands Racetrack, which shares a parking lot with MetLife Stadium. “We are continuing our Super Bowl planning and do not anticipate this having any impact,” Aiello said.

So for now it’s full steam ahead for both sides in a showdown destined to be decided by an 11th hour decision by the highest court in the land as Christie’s bold move is essentially daring the justice department to do something about it. Of course, if sports wagering were made legal in NJ it would start an avalanche of petitions to do the same in almost every state as they would all look to capture revenues on something that’s happening in their states anyway. In fact, states that don’t currently have an interest in hosting sports wagering would practically be forced to do it as well so they didn’t lose revenue to neighboring states that had it. It’s not out of the question that within a decade or two, betting parlors would be as omnipresent in the US as they are in Europe.

New Jersey’s plan is to issue licenses on Jan. 9, 2013 and begin taking bets soon after as Gov. Christie’s state is determined to give its Atlantic City casinos, four horse and dog tracks and its tax reserves a boost by boldly violating federal law – the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that prohibits sports wagering in all but four states (Nevada is the only state without collars). Even Indian casinos are banned from operating sports books.

“If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us,” Christie said last May at a press conference in Atlantic City. We’ll the NCAA just did Governor, what, you didn’t notice?

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