New Jersey sports betting Chris Christie
Supported by Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey’s sports betting legal battle used $5.1 million in government revenue to make its case. (Image: Henry Romero/Reuters)

New Jersey sports betting efforts in the Garden State cost Governor Chris Christie’s (R) government $5.1 million in legal fees.

As reported by The Record, New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino’s office says $5,179,885 was paid to the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher relating to the state’s wishes to legalize sports gambling.

In early August, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 10-2 in favor of the sports leagues who sought to block New Jersey’s plans to repeal sports gambling prohibition. After a lengthy process that included two three-judge rulings, the Third Circuit agreed to a rare “en banc” proceeding that brought 12 judges to the bench.

But in the end, the same verdict was reached.

The court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) prevents individual states from legalizing gambling on sports. New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2011 and Christie signed sports betting into law in 2014.

Taxpayers Shielded

Porrino’s office is stressing that the $5.1 million isn’t taxpayer money, but funds received from the state’s current gaming markets. A spokesman for the state said 75 percent of the legal fees are being paid from the Division of Gaming Enforcement’s Casino Control Fund, and the state’s Racing Commission is covering the rest.

But for many who believe the government is supposed to work for the people it serves, the notion that the money wasn’t directly raised through taxes is simply a political way of splitting hairs.

In the end, less revenue in the bank in Trenton is bad for residents of the Garden State. Though $5.1 million is only a drop in state’s budget bucket, some taxpayers will justly be upset with the expenditure considering it�was a failure.

The state could ask the US Supreme Court to consider taking the case, but at this moment that seems unlikely.

Football is Back

College football officially got its season underway over the Labor Day weekend, and there was no shortage of excitement.

The biggest upset came at the hands of Wisconsin. The unranked Badgers were 10.5-point underdogs in Vegas but overcame the odds to knock off #5 LSU 16-14 at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin.

#15 Houston managed to oust #3 Oklahoma. The Cougars were spotted 11.5 points at the books in Nevada, but didn’t need any as they won 33-23.

Out of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Virginia Cavaliers did the near unthinkable by losing to D1 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member Richmond. Vegas didn’t even offer lines on the game as Virginia, playing out of one of the Power Five football conferences, was expected to cruise to an easy victory. Richmond won 37-20.

But the game of the week was unquestionably #10 Notre Dame dropping to unranked Texas 47-50. The Longhorns were given between 3 and 4.5 points at the major Strip sportsbooks, but topped the Fighting Irish in a double overtime thriller.

NFL Returns Thursday

The NFL kicks off on Thursday, September 8, with a rematch of Super Bowl 50. The defending champion Denver Broncos are three-point underdogs against the Carolina Panthers.

Other week one marquee games:

Sunday night, the New England Patriots travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals. Without quarterback Tom Brady who is serving his four-game suspension, Arizona is a six-point favorite.

And longtime rivals the Giants and Cowboys waste no time in renewing their hatred on Sunday afternoon in Dallas. The line is currently even in Vegas.