Former N.J. Governor Chris Christie is to be recognized for the pioneering role that he played in widening the scope for sports betting in the U.S. during Betting on Sports America, a sports wagering conference and exhibition that will take place April 23-25 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey.

According to a press release, Christie will be inducted at the Hall of Fame Ceremony, part of the conference closing event on April 25 at the Sky Room in New York City.

During his time as New Jersey Governor, Christie was instrumental in generating the political will to revisit and challenge the federal ban on sports betting via the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which eventually was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in May last year. Christie spent more than seven years fighting for legalized sports betting in his state and his efforts in spearheading the challenge through the federal courts opened the door for states across the nation to take a look at regulating sports betting.

“Gov. Christie is the first politician we have inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame, but he is there with good reason,” said Rasmus Sojmark, founder and CEO of Sports Betting Community, which curates the Hall of Fame. “Without the political will from the governor’s office it is questionable that PASPA would ever have been challenged in the courts. For that bravery, the industry is indebted to Gov. Christie and his inclusion in the Hall of Fame is just a small thank you for his support.”

“Sports betting was held back for too long by the unfair federal laws, so I was more than happy to be the first to make a stand against them,” Christie said. “I’m very proud and gratified to be recognized by the sports betting industry in this year now that PASPA is a distant memory.”

The Sports Betting Hall of Fame was launched by Sports Betting Community in 2016 to recognize the individuals who have significantly contributed to the industry over the course of their careers with a lasting legacy. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor, preserve and perpetuate the names and outstanding accomplishments of personalities who have added true value to the sports betting sector. Current luminaries include Carsten Koerl, founder of Sportradar; Constantinos Antonopoulos, co-founder of Intralot; Norbert Teufelberger, co-founder of Bwin; and Fred Done, co-founder of Betfred.

Betting on Sports America is one of the largest sports betting events in the U.S., with more than 1,500 people expected to attend. The conference presents 175 leading industry speakers across 40 sessions and three conference rooms; while the tradeshow will take place on 61,000-square-foot floor and feature 60 exhibitors. For more information on this event, visit www.sbcevents.com/betting-on-sports-america-2019.