Legal Sports Betting Coming Our Way
Published: April 18th, 2018
By: Joe Angelino

Legal sports betting coming our way

Today we are going to learn about the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (P&ASPA) which prohibits any betting on the outcome of sporting events. Not just the small betting found in those illegal Super Bowl pools that every workplace organizes, but the big-money gambling found in Las Vegas. The United States Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides in the case of New Jersey’s Governor versus NCAA. Any day now they will announce their decision whether the P&ASPA is constitutional. This is a complex issue with more sides than Frank Lloyd Wright house.

The case is about New Jersey’s desire to be like Nevada and allow people in Atlantic City casinos to make wagers on the outcome of sporting events. There are 18 other states which are siding with New Jersey; all think it is against the 10th Amendment of our Constitution to have a federal law denying individual states their gambling rights. In case you’re wondering, Nevada was specifically excluded from the 1992 federal statute on the “grandfather clause”, along with Jai Alai in Miami, whatever that is.

On the other side is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) which is urging the Supreme Court to uphold the federal betting ban in order to maintain the integrity of the games, to keep out any corrupt influence, to not jeopardize the welfare of student-athletes and not alienate the fan base. Depending upon how the Supreme Court decision plays out, this will not only impact the NCAA, but also professional sports.

Nearly all the conventional wisdom agrees the Supreme Court’s decision will be in favor of New Jersey which will allow sports betting nationwide. This is why on January 24, 2018 New York State held hearings on how to best legislate, regulate and enforce this anticipated revenue windfall. New York not only wants to allow sports wagering inside casinos, but they are considering at home betting by way of internet and smart phone apps.

It looks as if New York has lost its moral compass when it comes to money grabs. Our government knows people can’t stomach any higher taxes, yet they never consider a reduction in their spending. When the state lottery was enacted, the revenue generated from that was earmarked for education. The formula for lottery dollars to become education dollars is complex, but it appears about $3.25 billion went to schools in 2017. That’s chump-change compared to revenue estimates from sports betting – a government spender’s dream come true.

It seems to me there are already enough state sanctioned ways to gamble money away; casinos, Off Track Betting, the Lottery, horse tracks, racinos, video lottery terminals, scratch off cards and more. Many folks believe we don’t need the Big Daddy of sports betting fouling up the games. I’m lucky to have daily contact with two long-time Norwich coaches of various sports. Neither of them foresees any good to come from sports betting. Both see potential for corruption and “fixing” of games. Remember, we’re talking billions of dollars which some unscrupulous people consider the risk worth the potential gain.

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Realistically, this is not an issue of IF, but WHEN, sports’ betting comes to our state. Hopefully the laws will only allow betting on professional sporting events. The NBA says they are against sports betting, with a tongue in their cheek, because they would like at least 1% of the take for their ‘administrative costs’.

All the other leagues pretend to be against betting until they figure out a way to come up with a plausible explanation to allow it. Professional leagues are already saying “funds will be needed to ensure the integrity of the games”.

Of course the New York Council on Problem Gambling went before the State Senate asking for a piece of the pie to bolster their budget when sports’ gambling legislation becomes law. These are the folks who tack on the warnings about the danger of gambling in all the casino advertisements, which are reminiscent of the surgeon general’s warning on cigarette packs.

New York State has the 2nd worst business climate four years in a row, second only to, you guessed it, New Jersey. Instead of siphoning vigorish from those who can least afford to part with their money, it would be nice if New York State, particularly Upstate, thrived on business, labor and paychecks. It looks like sports’ gambling will soon be the next over-regulated “business” in our state. At least with a portion of the betting proceeds going toward education this should teach people sports’ betting is a sure way to ruin any game.