Reactions To Landmark Sports Betting DecisionMay 16, 2018 3:27 pm
The US Supreme Court’s ruling to allow individual states to decide whether or not to permit sports betting to take place within their borders will obviously have a profound impact on the nation of 326 million people.
Its hardly surprising therefore that since the decision was announced on Monday there has been an outpouring of opinions on the issue, including from politicians, sports leagues, and the gambling industry as a whole.
New Jersey Overjoyed
As it was New Jersey that instigated the initial challenge against PASPA, with its final legal bill amounting to $8.7 million, its natural that the state is one of the happiest to see the archaic act finally overturned. New Jersey’s gambling industry lay in the doldrums for a decade before returning to growth over the past couple of years thanks in no small part to online gambling.
In 2017, for instance, NJ online gambling market generated $245 million in revenue, resulting in $43 million in taxes for the state. According to Oxford Economics, however, the payoff from legalized sports betting is expected to be significantly more at around $173 million in tax revenue, as well as creating a further 3,633 jobs in state.
Commenting upon the lucrative potential for New Jersey both its former and present Governors tweeted their reactions:
Former Governor Christie
“A great day for the rights of states and their people to make their own decisions. New Jersey citizens wanted sports gambling and the federal Gov’t had no right to tell them no. The Supreme Court agrees with us today. I am proud to have fought for the rights of the people of NJ.”
Governor Phil Murphy
“Today the Supreme Court sided with New Jersey in striking down the arbitrary federal ban on sports betting. Today’s ruling will finally allow authorized New Jersey facilities to take the same bets that are legal in other states.”
Poker Industry Response
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), which has long fought for the rights of poker players in the US, recently noted that as many as 68% of its members were involved in sports betting, leading to the organization diverting some of its attention towards the industry. Now that sports betting has been legalized, PPA President Rich Muny has expressed his hope that online poker legislation will now piggyback on the sports betting bills to be introduced in numerous receptive states across America, and as he recently stated:
“This is a great decision for consumers who for years have had no alternative to wager on sports other than the black market. It presents states with the perfect opportunity to establish sensible policies not only to regulate sports wagering, but also other forms of gaming, including internet poker. Whether you are betting on sports or playing poker, lawmakers must make it a priority to protect customers. The states that have already regulated internet poker have proven that it can be done in a way the benefits consumers and governments. It makes sense for states that are eyeing sports betting to also realize the benefit of regulated iPoker and iGaming.”
Meanwhile, Phil Hellmuth, a poker legend with a strong relationship with many sports professionals and industry workers, has taken the opportunity to call for an online expansion of the game beyond the four states currently with iPoker legislation in place, and as he tweeted to his 274k followers:
“Every Major sport (NBA, NFL, MLB) is behind the legalization of sports betting, and all of them will profit by it. But how can Sports Betting online be legalized w/out online poker being legalized (clearly more skill than sports betting)? The time is NOW to legalize online poker!”
Sports World Mostly Positive
While many athletes failed to give their response to the sports betting decision, the losing party in the Murphy v. NCAA case, namely the National Collegiate Athletic Association, released a statement acknowledging that major policy adjustments were now necessary to conform to the new situation. As NCAA Chief Legal Officer Donald Remy stated:
“Today the United States Supreme Court issued a clear decision that PASPA is unconstitutional, reversing the lower courts that held otherwise. While we are still reviewing the decision to understand the overall implications to college sports, we will adjust sports wagering and championship policies to align with the direction from the court.”
Congress Mulls Federal Framework
Now that the federal sports betting ban has been struck down, some members of Congress have expressed concern that it will lead to a patchwork of uneven state laws that may ultimately lead to a proliferation of online sports wagering. One of these is Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who was an original author of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, and as he commented:
“At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena.”
On the other hand, others see state-level regulation as a more effective and preferable path to take. Concerning the debate over a federal versus state-by-state regulatory framework approach, I will give the last opinions on the topic to US gambling industry experts Robert DellaFave and Michelle Minton, with the former ironically stating that “The dinosaurs must have their day,” and the latter not mincing her words by tweeting “Can’t imagine this has any better than a snowball’s chance in hell.”