Gov. Christie to allow sports betting in New Jersey
New Jersey will defy a federal ban and let people bet on the outcomes of football, basketball and other games this fall, Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference highlighting efforts to reinvigorate Atlantic City, Christie said the regulations his administration will issue next week make no attempt to overturn a 1992 federal law that limits sports betting to four states.
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"We intend to go forward," the Republican governor said. "If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us. We want to work with the casinos and horse racing industry to get it implemented.
"Am I expecting there may be legal action taken against us to try to prevent it? Yes," the governor said. "But I have every confidence we're going to be successful."
The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on Thursday.
A federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act limits sports betting to four states that approved it by a 1991 deadline: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. At the time, New Jersey was given the chance to become the fifth but failed to act during a prescribed window.
But for the past two years, New Jersey has been moving toward implementing sports betting. A state senator from northern New Jersey tried to sue to overturn the law, but the case was dismissed.
In the fall, voters indicated by a 2-to-1 margin in a nonbinding referendum that they want the ability to bet on sporting events.
Earlier this year, the legislature passed a sports betting law, and Christie signed it. It would allow bets to be taken at Atlantic City casinos and the state's four horse tracks.
Casino executives generally supported Christie's approach, even as they cautioned that none of them wanted to be the first to set up an expensive sports betting operation, only to risk having the federal government shut it down on a moment's notice.
Christie said 50 percent of the revenue generated by sports betting would go toward treatment programs for compulsive gamblers. A national gambling study in the 1990s pegged sports betting — legal and otherwise — as a $380 billion industry. The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, an online gambling association pushing for Internet betting to be legalized in New Jersey, says that figure now is closer to a half-trillion dollars.
EKU falls in OVC Tournament opener
Ohio Valley Conference pitcher of the year Matt Fyffe and No. 2 seed Eastern Kentucky were dealt an 11-2 loss by No. 4 seed Eastern Illinois in the Colonels' opening game of the OVC Tournament in Jackson, Tenn., on Thursday. Fyffe (9-1) lost for the first time this season, allowing nine runs and 11 hits in five innings. EKU, the regular-season co-champion, will face No. 3 seed Jacksonville State on Friday in an elimination game.
■ No. 5 seed Morehead State was eliminated from the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday with a 12-5 loss to No. 3 seed Jacksonville State in Jackson, Tenn. Morehead (28-27) was held to one hit through the first six innings and committed five errors. Eagles senior Andrew Deeds went 2-for-5 and finished the season with a school-record 87 hits. Junior pitcher Daniel Watts struck out 11 in six innings for Jacksonville State (27-29).
■ Louisville's second-round Big East Tournament game against Connecticut in Clearwater, Fla., on Thursday night was postponed because of rain. The game is tentatively scheduled to begin Friday at 11 a.m. but could be delayed until 1 p.m.
Quigley, Musialek advance at NCAAs
Kentucky seniors Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek each won singles matches Thursday to advance to the round of 16 at the NCAA championships in Athens, Ga. No. 3 Quigley beat Auburn's Andreas Mies 7-6 (4), 6-2, and No. 15 Musialek beat Georgia's Ignacio Taboada 6-2, 6-7 (9), 6-4. UK is one of four schools in the country with two or more players in the round of 16, joining Virginia, Mississippi State and Ohio State. Quigley will face No. 13 Artem Ilyushin of Mississippi State on Friday, while Musialek takes on No. 39 Alex Domijan of Virginia. Quigley and sophomore Panav Jha earned a win in doubles, defeating Gregg Cohenca and Evan Zimmer of Bucknell 6-2, 6-0.
James, Bryant lead All-NBA team
LeBron James was the leading vote-getter for the All-NBA team, while Kobe Bryant earned his 10th first-team selection, tied for second on the career list. Bryant, a first-team pick for the seventh straight season, joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Michael Jordan, Bob Pettit and Jerry West with 10 selections to the first team. Karl Malone is the leader with 11. James, who won his third MVP award, received 118 of a possible 120 first-team votes Thursday from a panel of writers and broadcasters. Joining him on the first team were scoring champion Kevin Durant, Clippers point guard Chris Paul and Magic center Dwight Howard.
Guards Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook were selected to the second team along with forwards Kevin Love and Blake Griffin and center Andrew Bynum.
Nicks breaks foot at Giants practice
New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks is expected to be sidelined up to three months after breaking his right foot at a team organized activity early Thursday. Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot as he was running a route during individual drills in the Timex Performance Center field house, the team said in a release later in the afternoon. Nicks is scheduled to have surgery Friday to have a screw inserted into the broken bone. The expected recovery time for Nicks is approximately 12 weeks.
Ex-UCLA player sues SI for $10 million
Former UCLA player Reeves Nelson is suing Sports Illustrated for $10 million, citing defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress over its recent article about problems in the school's basketball program. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Superior Court in Los Angeles names Time Inc. and writer George Dohrmann as defendants. The story titled "Not the UCLA Way" initially appeared Feb. 28 on the magazine's Web site and then in its March 5 print edition. Nelson also wants a retraction and public apology. The lawsuit includes sworn statements from 18 current and former UCLA players, including Tyler Trapani, the great-grandson of legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. They attest that the article's general description of Nelson as a "psychotic bully" is false and that specific instances of Nelson's alleged bullying described in the article never happened or were grossly distorted.
LSU guard Isaac fails to qualify
LSU men's basketball coach Johnny Jones said guard John Isaac will not return to the team for the 2012-13 season. Isaac, of Pickering, La., played in 31 games and averaged 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds. The university said Wednesday that Isaac failed to meet the institutional and NCAA requirements to be eligible for the upcoming season.
The last word
Len Berman of ThatsSports.com, on Tommy John's 69th birthday:
"Do young people know he was a pitcher and not an orthopedic surgeon?"