New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks are celebrating Governor Chris Christies surprise decision to decriminalise sports betting at licenced New Jersey gaming venues.

The attorney general’s office in New Jersey issued a directive Monday, alongside a motion filed in the US District Court on behalf of Governor Christie, allowing racetracks and casinos to operate sports pools without fear of criminal or civil liability.

The attorney general’s office said the statewide directive follows the Third Circuit’s ruling and concludes that “nothing under New Jersey law prevents casinos and racetracks from operating a sports pool effective today”.

The motion filed on behalf of Governor Christie in federal court asks Judge Michael Shipp to clarify or modify his February 2013 injunction to conform with the decision of the Third Circuit.

The Governor’s office said that based on the arguments of the sports leagues and the Department of Justice, the Third Circuit has already ruled that New Jersey can carry out sports wagering.

“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,” it added.