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Corzine Wins Fight to Join Betting Suit, Loses Election

4th November 2009 9:00 am GMT

Democrat Jon Corzine last night lost his battle to retain the governorship of New Jersey to Republican Chris Christie, a day after the District Court cleared the way for his involvement in a federal lawsuit filed by New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak, iMEGA and the state's horse racing associations, which seeks to lift the ban on sports betting in New Jersey.

The Department of Justice had asked the Court to block Corzine from joining the legal challenge against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, claiming that he had failed to establish a sufficient legal interest in the litigation. In a ruling Monday however, the Court found that Corzine did have an interest in the litigation as Governor to represent the executive branch of the state of New Jersey.

iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan Jr. said of the court ruling: "It's nice to clear this hurdle and move closer to a court considering the merits of our challenge. It's ridiculous the DOJ opposed the motion. We expect they'll now ask the court to have all of the plaintiffs thrown out for lack of standing. It's a waste of time and effort, but it seems they'll do anything to prevent the court from examining this law."

Last night's election victory by Republican Chris Christie, however, means that it remains to be seen whether New Jersey's new Governor will be as supportive of moves to expand gambling opportunities within the state, and whether he will play a role in the upcoming legal challenge to the sports betting ban.

Governor Christie was criticised by some on the campaign trail for failing to make his position clear on the major issues facing the state and this extends to the issue of sports betting. Christie has however vowed to cut New Jersey's income tax, provide property tax relief and reduce corporate taxes, all of which would need to be financed from somewhere, with legalised sports betting continuing to top the list of potential new revenue sources for the debt-laden state.

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