However, the legal case, which could bring the United States one step closer to legalized sports betting across the country, gives the governor the chance to win millions of Americans eager to gamble legally on sports .
"I always believed that leadership is about taking risks," Christie said, adding that he was "cautiously optimistic" that his side would prevail. "If you are not willing to take risks, then you will never achieve great things, and sometimes that means you take risks and the risk does not work, but we take educated risks."
The case focuses on a law, the Law on the Protection of Professional and Amateur Sports, or Paspa, pbaded in 1992. It prohibits states from offering bets in competitions involving amateur or professional athletes.
protected law in four states that had already allowed the sports game and created an exception for New Jersey, which was allowed one year after Paspa came into force to establish a sports betting system.
New Jersey could not take advantage of the exception. However, in 2011, residents of New Jersey voted to amend the state constitution and allow the legislature to legalize sports betting, and did so next year. The N.C.A.A. and the four major professional sports leagues demanded, arguing that the law violated Paspa. A series of federal courts agreed, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
The New Jersey legislature tried a new tactic in 2014, pbading a law that partially repealed the prohibitions on sports betting, believing that Paspa only prohibited the affirmative legalization of sports betting. Once again, N.C.A.A. and the major professional sports leagues sued, and once again the federal courts ruled against New Jersey.
But earlier this year, the Supreme Court surprised legal observers. Although the lower courts and the Acting Attorney General of the United States, who asked the Supreme Court not to review the case, were all in agreement, the Supreme Court decided to listen to Paspa's challenge from the Christie administration.
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"It's a very, very important case with respect to the division of authority in our system of government, between the federal government and the sovereign governments of the state," said Ted Olson, the attorney who will represent New Jersey in court Monday.
Professional sports leagues, recognizing the ubiquity of illicit sports betting, have begun to alter their long-standing positions against legalized sports betting, which they feared could lead to the fixing of games and other traps. Now there is a N.H.L. team that plays in Las Vegas, and a N.F.L. the team will soon join them. The N.B.A. He is part of the group that sued New Jersey, but in 2014 his commissioner, Adam Silver, wrote an Op-Ed article in The New York Times arguing in favor of the legalization of sports betting.
"Sports betting should be taken out of hiding and in sunlight where it can be properly monitored and regulated," Silver wrote.
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, it could invalidate Paspa completely and allow each state to pbad laws that legalize sports betting, or it could leave Paspa intact but rule that New Jersey law does not violate it. Olson said he does not think such a narrow ruling is possible.
Of course, New Jersey has repeatedly lost, and if it fails again, it could further damage Christie's relationship with her constituents.
His position was hurt by the scandal known as Bridgegate in which two former allies were sentenced to prison for their role in closing the access roads to the George Washington Bridge as political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The episode damaged Christie's aspirations to be president and serve in the Trump administration.
Last summer, images of Christie lounging in a chair on a state beach closed to the public during a government shutdown turned viral and led to much condemnation. 19659016] Photo
Andrew Mills / NJ Advance Media, through the Associated Press
The state has billed taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees fighting in the battle to legalize sports betting.
For the governor, winning or losing, it has been a worthwhile bet, and it seems to have bipartisan support.
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In a blue state that still has a vocal republican minority, the issue of sports betting has been a rare unifying theme. Almost all members of the Congress delegation – four Republicans and eight Democrats – have supported the effort generated by the Christie administration to legalize sports betting in the state after a referendum in 2011.
"This is not a partisan issue, It's just a good "for Jersey," said Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from northern New Jersey. "And I can not find anyone to knock on my door saying: Do not do this. People are knocking on our door and saying "do this." This could be a clear victory for New Jersey. "
Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat who takes office as governor on January 16, also supports the effort.
The last time there was such unity among the federals and the state delegation was after Hurricane Sandy, and even that had a deserter, former Representative Scott Garrett, who did not sign an initial letter asking for federal help.
No decision will be reached on the case until spring, much after Christie has left office, and his total unpopularity in the state means that the dice can already be invoked in his legacy.
"The reality is that, even if this were successful, given the public perception of it, I'm not sure I would even do it. get the credit that maybe he deserves because the public is so sour with him, "said Brigid Harrison, professor of political science at Montclair State University.
In poll after poll, Christie's approval ratings have hovered around the midteens , historically low for the once popular governor, but the state also supported the legalization of gambling by a margin of 2 to 1 in 2011, and a victory would probably be viewed favorably by its state.
Christie's eyes, sports leagues are those that keep their name in the spotlight.
"They chose this fight, not me," he told HBO Sports in October. "He was doing the job of governor, following the referendum of the people from my state and signing a law. They sued me "
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