Christie to attend sports betting arguments at U.S. Supreme Court |

A “cautiously optimistic” Gov. Chris Christie will be at the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to to lend moral support as New Jersey lawyers try to convince the justices to allow legal sports betting at Garden State racetracks and casinos.

“I’m looking forward to being in court,” Christie told reporters at a public event in Newark Wednesday.

“No matter which way it goes, I think it was the right decision to make,” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re gonna win.”

Christie’s administration has pushed to legalize sports betting to help revive the state’s struggling racetracks and Atlantic City’s ailing casinos since 2011.

N.J. is prepping for legal sports betting, but what will court rule?

N.J. is prepping for legal sports betting, but what will court rule?

“This controversy is rounding third base right now,” one expert said of New Jersey’s years-long effort to legalize sports betting. The U.S. Supreme Court is about to hear the case.

But the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the four major professional sports leagues — Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League — sued to stop it, even as some of the leagues have partnered with daily fantasy sports operations.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January delayed a ruling on the case, saying it first wanted to hear what President Donald Trump had to say on the issue.

But the court agreed in June to hear arguments.

“We believe it’s a state’s rights issue,” Christie said. “I’ve aways believed it’s a state’s rights issue.”

Federal law bans sports betting in all but four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon.

A ruling is not expected for months after the arguments, likely in the spring.

NJ Advance Media staff writer Brent Johnson contributed to this report.

Matt Arco may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewArco or Facebook.