Chris Christie’s appeal with moderates and previous ties to Trump helped make him the ‘George Washington’ of sports betting, former lobbyist said

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Donald Trump, Chris Christie
Former President Donald Trump, left, and former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, right, in a composite image.

  • Chris Christie made millions as a lobbyist after leaving office, a New York Times report found. 
  • His ties to former Donald Trump helped foster relationships with companies, per the Times.
  • One such company was sports betting site DraftKings, the Times reported.

Chris Christie leveraged his ties to former President Donald Trump and his status as a former New Jersey governor to make millions in multiple business sectors, including sports betting and pharmaceuticals, a New York Times report found.

Following his departure from office, Christie made clear his intentions to make money, and since then has lobbied on behalf of hospitals and the pharmaceuticals industry. He also started the lobbying firm Christie 55 Solutions, which has earned $1.5 million from seven clients, Open Secrets found.

One of these companies, Pacira Biosciences, directly benefitted from Christie after being appointed to an opioids commission by Trump, the Times reported. Christie asserts that his time working with the company did not overlap with his time working with Trump. 

Sports betting companies like DraftKings also paid Christie thousands to advise and lobby their interests. As governor, Christie made legalizing sports betting one of his political touchpoints and was even later inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame.

One unnamed source told the outlet that one company, Scientific Games, paid Christie $30,000 a month as a consultant in 2018. 

Draft Kings paid Christie monthly to speak to state legislators and promote their interests at this time, the Times, which uncovered the relationship between Christie and DraftKings, reports. The Times did not report how much Christie made, and representatives for Christie declined to share financial records with the outlet.

DraftKings, an online sports betting forum, also paid Christie to speak to state legislators to promote the interests of sports gambling, the Times reported, following a Supreme Court case that made it legal for states to pass sports betting laws. Christie was instrumental in putting this case forward while governor, the Times notes. 

Jeremy Kudon, who worked with DraftKings and FanDuel on lobbying efforts while the site was paying Christie, told the Times that the sports betting giants thought what they believed was Christie's appeal with moderate voters and right-wing conservatives — influenced by his connection to Trump — would be "helpful" to their interests. 

"Having the George Washington of legalized gaming in the US was obviously something we thought would be helpful. And his relationship with Trump we thought would be helpful," Kudon told the Times. 

The Times reports, however, that DraftKings stopped working with Christie after the company began targeting conservative states and Christie began speaking out against Trump's claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him. 

Christie, a Trump enemy-turned-ally during the 2016 election, recently announced his 2024 presidential bid, reigniting his feud with the former president, who is also running. 

A representative for Christie declined to comment to Insider. DraftKings and Scientific Games did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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