Many new users to the app wonder: “What are all these “Game #s” and these team abbreviations.” Sports books use a universal “Game #” to assign a quick code to games, much like stocks in the stock market have a stock symbol. No matter what sports book you go to, you can tell them you want a “bet on 528″ and they’ll know exactly what team you want to bet.
Bettor’s Sidekick allows you to view lines from 5 sports books: Cris, Greek, 5Dimes, Pinnacle and LVH. This information is provided by Sports Options. Below is the daily schedule, organized by “Game #” (aka rotation number).
As you can see, what you see here mirrors the order you see the games displayed in the app if your app is organized in “rotation order” (which you can change in the settings wheel, top right of any screen, at the bottom).
Each day there are NCAA Tournament Games (listed first) and then games from the other tournaments (NIT, CBI and College Insider). The “Control the Madness”: The $500 Bettor’s Sidekick March Madness Tournament has its largest prize pool of winnings come from just the NCAA Tournament, but you are also able to select games from the other tournaments and compete in the contest for top prize in “Other Tournaments”.
So until you get the hang of the app, if you want to choose Bucknell to upset Butler on Thursday as one of your entries, you’ll note below that the game is 3/21/13 and Bucknell is # 713. In the app, scroll down to # 713 and place your bet. You can choose as many or as few teams as you want for the contest, for every win you accumulate $91 in Bettor’s Sidekick profit, but for every loss you lose $100.
And as indicated in the Rules, both contests start on THURSDAY, but you have some time to practice with the app today and tomorrow.
The NCAA Tournament is the time when everyone wants to know exactly where their brackets and their bets stand each second of the day. People love to tote around their paper brackets in their pocket, and check the game scores and update their bracket no matter where they are, as often as possible.
But wouldn’t it be better if there was an app that not only told users the scores (and updated faster than ESPN’s mobile app), but during the games, also shared updated odds and win percentages after every point is scored for each game?
Warren Sharp, founder of Sharp Football Analysis.com and the Bettor’s Sidekick app has some advice: “Don’t let March Madness control you, ‘Control the Madness’ with Bettor’s Sidekick, and participate to win the Inaugural $500 Bettor’s Sidekick March Madness Tournament”
In addition to showing the users where every game stands and predicts the outcome in real time, the Bettor’s Sidekick app (available for free download in the iTunes store), allows users to log selections, shares real time adjusted win percentage information, shares sharp money management advice on bet sizing, provides live lines from top sports books and improves betting acumen.
Bettor’s Sidekick is proud to announce their First Annual “Control the Madness” $500 March Madness Tournament. The tournament is free to enter, and all you need is the Bettor’s Sidekick app which is available in the iTunes store for free download. If users like the app, they can upgrade to unlock all basketball games (pro and college) for a one-time $4.99 fee.
To win the Tournament, accumulate the most winning wagers while losing as few as possible throughout the NCAA Men’s Tournament. The user with the most estimated profit thru the Championship game brings home First Prize. $300 to First Place and $100 to Second Place. Additionally, for those users whose team didn’t get invited to the Big Dance or just enjoy College Basketball, $100 will be awarded to the user who accumulates the most estimated profit in the combination of all the other Men’s Basketball Tournaments (NIT, CBI and College Insider). Note: See the official rules for details.
“There is simply nothing better than Bettor’s Sidekick for keeping tabs on all of the many games which occur simultaneously in a tournament like March Madness” said Warren. “Not only will it predict the winners during the game using computer algorithms, but while watching the games and based on its predictive features, it lets users know in a split second glance if they currently stand to win or lose their bets in mid-game. The ‘Control the Madness’ Tournament is the icing on the cake, allowing users to track their bets with precision and win free money while competing with users from around the country. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Warren Sharp noted Official Leader Board and Rankings will be maintained at sharpfootballanalysis.com/blog and will be updated daily from Friday thru Monday.
So don’t let March Madness control you, “Control the Madness” with Bettor’s Sidekick’s innovative and predictive game tracking and forecasting, and enter the FREE “Control the Madness” $500 March Madness Tournament for your free shot at the prize money.
Warren added “It is time to move out of the dinosaur age of relying on TV, radio, internet and one-dimensional apps to get score and bet updates. It’s time to let Bettor’s Sidekick do what it takes 4 separate apps to do at once, while making that job fast, easy and convenient. And win some money while you’re at it.”
No matter how much you bet on a game, the contest will track each bet as a “Risk” of $100 “To Win” $91.
The winner of the contest will be the user who has accumulated the most Bettor’s Sidekick profit starting on Thursday, March 21st thru the Championship game on Monday, April 8th.
See the Rules and FAQ below for more details:
“Control the Madness” Tournament Rules
1. Contest is limited to “full game” predictions. First quarter, first half, second half, etc are not allowed. Playing ATS (against the spread) sides or totals for the full game (meaning max 2 bets per game) is allowed.
2. All wagers must be placed prior to the listed “tip time” of the game. Meaning if a game has a start time of 2:00, any wager submitted from 2:01 or after will not be counted for that game.
3. Regardless of how much you enter for your wager, it will be graded as a “Risk” of $100 “To Win” $91 for contest purposes. Please continue to use the app to record your accurate wagers and weight your bets as you see fit, whether lower or higher than $100. But to keep the contest level among all contestants, no matter what you specifically enter, your wager will “Risk” $100 “To Win” 91.
4. No purchase is necessary. Upgrade provides additional games to choose from.
5. The winner of the contest will be the user who has accumulated the most Bettor’s Sidekick profit starting on Thursday, March 21st thru the Championship game on Monday, April 8th.
6. There will be one tournament for the NCAA Men’s Championship with first prize getting $300 and 2nd prize getting $100, and there will be one tournament for the Other Men’s Tournaments (NIT, CBI & College Insider), with first prize getting $100.
7. Prizes will be paid via Paypal, with alternative arrangements such as Western Union possible if the winner does not have a Paypal account. No fee is deducted for Paypal. If user chooses method other than Paypal and fees are deducted during transfer of payment, winner will see fees removed from total winnings.
8. In the event of a tie in the total number of winnings at the end of the tournament, the first tiebreaker is fewest games lost. If still tied, the second tiebreaker is the most correct bets from the semi-finals thru the title game. If still tied, users will split the prize.
9. While Bettor’s Sidekick allows you to edit the lines, the contest results will be audited to determine if a user abused this ability by changing lines to ones which were not widely available. At the discretion of Bettor’s Sidekick, users are subject to bet re-grading in the event of improper line editing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Having never used it previously, and looking to figure it out fast, how do I use the Bettor’s Sidekick app? A: There is a quick an easy tutorial on everything you’ll need to know, located HERE.
Q: So this isn’t a bracket? A: No, brackets you fill out and its over with on Thursday. You can’t make any more choices, all you can do is cheer for your teams. While fun, its not nearly as interesting as every single day of games, picking who you think will win that day. And that’s what the “Control the Madness” Tournament is all about: letting you select teams each day who you think will win for you. And then cheering each day for new teams and new games.
Q: I don’t understand all these game #s and I don’t know which team is in the NCAA Tournament and which team is in these other tournaments. A: Please see this graphic, it should help you out. Each day, there are multiple college teams playing in different tournaments. You’ll only hear about the NCAA Tournament, but there are 3 other tournaments being played simultaneously. The above graphic shows you which teams are playing in the NCAA Tournament, and shows their game #, and which teams are playing in the other tournaments.
Q: Do I need to purchase the $4.99 upgrade to win the cash prizes? A: No purchase is necessary. If you upgrade, you are able to view (and choose Tournament selections from) all the College games. You will also see lines and predictive calculations for all the NBA games.
Q: So the upgrade gets me NBA too? A: Yes, and there will likely be a NBA Playofffs tournament for prizes, similar to this one.
Q: All I do is use the app to enter teams or totals I think will win and somehow it enters me to the tournament to win money? A: Yes, there is no separate registration needed. Users who already have the app can simply log college basketball bets and boom, they’ll be competing in the contest as well. Users who need the app can download it, register an account and then start tracking their bets and they’ll be competing as well.
Q: So no matter what I enter as my bet risk amount, you automatically have a “risk of $100 to win $91″? A: Yes, this is because we want users to continue to use the app to track their own wagering to better manage their money. Users can still enter the exact amount they are betting on the games into the app, and won’t have to change it up just for this contest. Every bet they enter is “mirrored” into the contest, and every user has the same risk/to win amount to keep everything totally level and highly competitive.
Q: Why are there two “contest” being run at once, it sounds like you have the Men’s NCAA Championships and then the other tournaments as well? A: The Big Dance, or Men’s NCAA Championship Tournament has games that generally run Thursday thru Sunday, and after a couple of rounds, the field is significantly smaller. We wanted the enjoyment and rush of using Bettor’s Sidekick to prevail throughout the week and for a longer period of time, so we included a second contest for the “Other Tournaments” such as the NIT, CBI and College Insider. There will be two winners for the Big Dance and one winner for the “other” tournament games combined.
The following Tutorials and Subjects will show you how to:
Get Game Information, such as TV Stations, Injuries, Weather
Review Your Record
Compare Yourself to Other Users
Share your Bet Results via Twitter or Facebook
Export Your Bet History to Your Computer
Modify User Settings including discussion on Kelly Criterion
Make use of the Favorites Tab
Compete for Prizes
Tips & Tricks
FAQ: Why does the screen stop moving sometimes?
1. Placing Bets
The following tutorial will instruct you on the simple steps of placing bets in Bettor’s Sidekick:
1. Go to the “Schedule” tab and select the sport from the drop down at the top on which you want to bet.
2. Tap anywhere on the row for the game on which you want to bet. A popup will appear. Tap the “Place Bet” button.
3. On the top right, you will see the “Bet Span” dropdown. Select which span you want to bet on (i.e. full game, 1st quarter, 1st half, etc). You will see options for betting the ML or point spread for either the road or home team, or betting the over or under for the total. Tap on the odds to select the bet you wish to make. The “orange” highlight will follow you to your selection.
4. If you need to change your odds, such as the points or the juice, tap “Edit”. Edit the odds and hit “Done” to return to the prior menu. Do NOT hit “Back” (top left), hit “Done” to save your odds. (Remember to confirm that the orange highlight is on the bet you wish to make!)
5. Scroll down to view current bankroll information. If you wish to “flat bet” a percentage of your bankroll, the amount you should bet is automatically calculated. If you wish to use the Kelly Criterion to help you manage your bankroll, you can view that information as well. Enter your risk amount or your desired win amount, and tap “Place Bet” to log your bet.
To review your bet, tap the “Bets” tab at the bottom and you will now see your bet under “Open” Bets. This is where you will go “in game” to review your win percentages while the game is ongoing. Examples of before the start of the game and during the game screens are shown below:
2. Get Game Information, such as TV Stations, Injuries, Weather
Prior to games, many fans want to know what TV station it is showing on, what are the key injuries (and are these injured players listed as Out, Doubtful, Questionable or Probable) and how is the weather, Bettor’s Sidekick provides all this information to you.
On the “Schedule” tab simply tap a game you are interested in obtaining this information for, and in the “Game Details” popup, you’ll see in the “Notes” section at the bottom all of this information. It will even tell you not just the station name, but the exact channel on DirecTV that the game is on. See example:
3. Tracking Bets
Tracking bets you have already placed is easy. Simply go to the “Bets” tab at the bottom and the “Open” Bets folder will be highlighted. Here you are able to view all future bets as well as all bets for games that are on-going.
4. Reviewing Your Record
Reviewing your record is as easy as tracking bets. Simply go to the “Bets” tab at the bottom and click on the “Completed” folder. Here you will see all the bets which you have logged into the Bettor’s Sidekick app.
You can sort these by 2 “Ranges”: Time and Sport. The default is “All Time” and “All” Sports. Simply tap the drop down menu for either value to choose other options.
For the time range, you can choose: All, Past Year, Past Half (Year), Past Quarter or Past Week.
5. Compare Yourself to Other Users
Tap the “Home” tab at the bottom and you’ll go to the home screen. Here you are able to see your current bankroll (and edit it to add money), your record, and your rankings in the main categories of RSI and $ Won.
You are also able to see the “Leaderboard” or “My Record”
For the “Leaderboard”, by default, it is sorted by overall “Win %”, however you can change it to be sorted by RSI (Relative Strength Indicator) by tapping the top of the RSI column.
RSI provides a more accurate measure of success than win % because it factors in the number of overall bets you have placed and your overall success rate relative to the number of bets placed.
Off to the right, there is a dropdown arrow and you can choose to “Jump” to either the top, bottom or “My Position” on the list.
You are also able to sort the records for various sports and time ranges. See a screenshot of current leaders for CBB, sorted by RSI:
For “My Record”, you see a detailed listing of how your performance, and you are able to sort this by sport.
You are able to view your record organized when betting Favorites, Underdogs, Overs or Unders.
6. Share your Bet Results via Twitter or Facebook
When you are reviewing your record as in step 3 above (“Bets” tab -> “Completed” folder) you can tap the black/white “details” icon (or anywhere else on that row) to view the details for your wager. You will see a pop-up that contains the final score between the two teams, and if you selected a team to win (rather than a total) that team will be highlighted in orange.
On this same screen, you can tap the “Share to Twitter” or “Share to Facebook” button. This will launch a tweet or a Facebook page which has default text so that you can just hit “send” and brag to all your friends how you were correct in your prediction! You can edit the text if you wish, or just send it on its way.
7. Export Your Bet History to Your Computer
While you are still at the Completed Bets page, you will see a little envelope in the top right corner. Tapping this envelope will send the current “Range” you have selected to your email address you used when you registered.
The file will show up in your inbox in an email from “Bettors Sidekick” (firstname.lastname@example.org) and is an excel spreadsheet using “97-2003″ formatting. Some users may be prompted to verify that you know the sender of the file and it is not corrupted. Hit yes and the file will open.
8. Modify User Settings
On the top right of all screens is a settings wheel. Here you are able to modify your settings. The settings which may require some explanation are:
Kelly Win % – This is the Kelly Criterion. Kelly Criterion bettors have been shown to succeed at a high rate. Its goal is at “maximizing the long term growth rate of your fortune”. There is much written online on the subject, but essentially, it can be shown that a Kelly bettor has a 1/3 chance of halving a bankroll before doubling it. In other words, 67% of Kelly bettors should double their bankroll instead of losing half of it. (For comparison, a “half kelly” bettor only has a 1/9 chance of halving their bankroll before doubling it, i.e. they double it 89% of the time prior to losing half of it).
There is no magic to it, it will not select the wagers for you, it simply is a tool to manage your bankroll. Improper bankroll management is the #1 factor in causing bettors to lose. Not selecting losing wagers.
Bettor’s Sidekick makes it easy to either flat bet (standard 1% thru 5% of your bankroll on every bet) or to use the Kelly Criterion to manage your bankroll. There are good arguments for both options. But you need to use some form of bankroll management, as opposed to tossing arbitrary amounts on varying wagers.
In the settings screen, you can adjust the default Kelly percentage. It is typically recommended to be more conservative that aggressive. Generally, if you can exceed 52.4% laying -110 juice on each bet, you will make a profit.
Therefore, if you enter a value below 53% in this slider, and you are laying -110 or more in juice, the Kelly Criterion Guide for your “Place Bet” popup will indicate a negative number, meaning it is not in your interest to place this wager.
First, let’s look at a screenshot of the “Settings” screen for the Kelly Win %:
As you can see, this slider will adjust. Here, we set it for 53%, indicating a very conservative bettor who anticipates being able to win 53% of his wagers at -110.
Next, let’s look at a screenshot of the Kelly Win % in full affect, helping you to manage your bankroll:
In this photo, the user is in the “Schedule” tab ans has decided to place a bet on a CBB game. In the “Place Bet” popup, he has selected he wants to bet on the underdog and the juice is -110. Since his Kelly Win % is set at 53%, you can see that the Kelly Criterion advises a 1% bankroll risk for “Full Kelly” value. (Note that this number is rounded, it is not 1% exactly). Some bettors are more conservative and prefer to use “Half Kelly” values. We show these as well.
Note that in this user’s case, a Half Kelly bet at -110 juice with an expected win % of 53 is equal to a $29 bet. However, view the below screenshot if this user were to increase his Kelly win % to even 58%:
Here you can see that even using “Half Kelly”, the amount increases from $29 up to $270. This exemplifies why it is very important for a user to use accurate but conservatively accurate values for their Kelly win percentage. Many bettors believe that they should not have a problem hitting even 60% of their bets. And while short term runs of 60% or better certainly are achievable for the average bettor, sustained longer term results of 60% will never be met by average bettors. Practicing wagering with Bettor’s Sidekick will allow you to get a better grasp on what your true long term success rate may be.
Additionally, not all bets are default bets (of whatever % you have in Kelly settings). Sometimes you will need to adjust your Kelly win % in the “Settings” menu for a particular bet which has shown much better success, or which comes from a source which has a long term success rate of hitting above your default %.
Sorting Games – Sports books list and organize games using a “Game #” or a “Rotation #”. This enables them to easily find and enter bets, and keeps all games for all sports books with the same rotation number for easy comparison.
There are two ways to sort games in Bettor’s Sidekick: By Time Order or by Rotation Order.
Either choice will list the games in ascending order. Some bettors may wish to keep games sorted in rotation order to easily enter bets they’ve received from a handicapper who provides rotation #s, and then once they’ve entered the bets, they want to view the “Schedule” tab by time order, so they can see the next games on deck first. The choice is yours and its easy to switch back and forth.
9. Make use of the Favorites Folder
The Favorites folder is an excellent way for a user to keep tabs on a game which they didn’t want to bet. Just a few applications include:
If you want to track a team, a player returning from injury, a starting pitcher (once baseball lines start), etc but you are only interested in tracking their games and not actually risking money just yet.
If you had a “lean” on a game but it wasn’t enough to place a full out wager on it, but you wanted to check that game to see if your hunch was correct.
If you want to simply keep track of a few games from various sports – you can flag NBA games and CBB games as favorites, and they will show up on the same screen.
How to use the Favorites folder:
1. On the “Schedule” tab, select a game you are interested in tracking by tapping that row.
2. Select “Add to Favorites”
3. Repeat for any games in any sport on the “Schedule” tab which you want to appear on your Favorites screen.
4. Tab the “Bets” tab at the bottom and go to the “Favorites” folder
At this point you’ll have all games from all sports that you marked as a “favorite” and you can track them all as the games unfold.
10. Compete for Prizes
Right now Bettor’s Sidekick is the First Annual “Control the Madness” $500 Bettor’s Sidekick March Madness Tournament. Click HERE for more information on how to play and win!
11. Tips and Tricks
If you are interested in totals for basketball, many books don’t have that many options. However, choosing your book to equal “LVH” generally will provide the most lines for basketball totals and will be the easiest and most helpful for you.
There is a way to track games from different sports without having to bet on each game, and that is thru using the Favorites folder, as discussed above.
Stay Tuned for more Tips and Tricks
12: FAQ: Why does the Screen Stop Moving Sometimes?
The Bettor’s Sidekick app updates faster than most other products on the market, including ESPN’s scoring apps. Not only are scores updating, but the lines are updating as well. As such, every 20 seconds or so there will be a 1-2 second “pause” in your scrolling as the app loads in new lines and scores. During this time, you may see the top right (below the settings wheel) indicate “Updating…”. This process enables us to provide you the information you crave: the most up-to-date scores and lines, faster than other services and providers.
I will admit, I was skeptical of RJ Bell’s figure that $12 Billion is bet worldwide on March Madness. In large part because the estimates used were just that, estimates. I didn’t see anything to back it up other than conjecture and industry quotes.
So I went back and looked at actual, historical data. We don’t have access to data for just College Basketball, it’s grouped with Pro Basketball and considered “Basketball” (per the reports), so we’ll have to do some deductions/estimates there. And we only have monthly figures, not weekly figures. But here are the facts, per the Nevada Gaming Control Board:
In 2011 in Las Vegas, between March and April, books took bets of $335 Million on basketball, representing 45% of the amount bet on Basketball the entire year.
In 2012 in Las Vegas, from March to April, books took bets of $359 Million on basketball, representing 37% of the amount bet the entire year.
The March Madness period runs just over 3 weeks, from Selection Sunday thru the Championship game on Monday.
So looking at the last 2 years, we had an average of $347 Million bet on basketball during March and April in Nevada.
If we would conservatively say that NBA represents half of all the money bet during March and April, the total amount bet on college during March/April (including March Madness obviously) is $174 Million.
If we further say that its conservative to argue that the first couple weeks in March have 30% of the total amount bet on college, and the other 70% is actually bet during “March Madness”, we’re now looking at a figure closer to $121 Million.
And its widely “estimated” by the American Gaming Association that Nevada’s legal sports wagering represents less than 1 percent of all sports betting nationwide.
So if this is correct, if there is anything close to the $121 M bet in Nevada, then its likely (based on the AGA estimates) that a total of $12 Billion is bet on March Madness nationwide. Let alone worldwide.
To summarize, the actual numbers that Vegas has seen the last two years represent around 1% (probably a good, conservative number) of the $12 Billion figure. And if AGA’s researched numbers and figures are anything close to accurate (and I’ve seen numerous sources cite them before as valid), then we’re looking at around $12 Billion nationwide.
While skeptical initially, the actual numbers Vegas has done the last two years do lend credence and do seem to back that ballpark number given out by RJ. The bottom line? In just 2 months, March/April, Vegas does about 40% of their yearly total in basketball (almost 50% in 2011!), and it’s certainly centered around March Madness. Which means its a great time to be booking bets, no matter where you are.
allow three other states to continue limited sports gambling, and
bar the other 46 states from doing so.
I’m far from worthy of being a Judge, and have no legal training, but I think that in the above articles I clearly outlined why PASPA is not working, is COMPLETELY outdated and was founded on some phony concerns that real world data has totally disproved.
Shipp’s advice was that “to the extent the people of New Jersey disagree with PASPA, their remedy is not through passage of a state law or through the judiciary, but through the repeal or amendment of PASPA in Congress.”
New Jersey appears to be wasting its time and resources appealing/challenging this unrighteous law in court and simply do one of two things:
1. Challenge it in Congress, or
2. Accept bets and violate Federal law, just like States have done w/ marijuana.
It is Federally illegal to possess marijuana, but States have made it legal to possess and use it for both medicinal and recreational use. This is in clear violation of Federal law. Seems murky, right?
Not if you are the President. President Obama’s stance on this issue is quite clear:
“”This is a tough problem because Congress has not yet changed the law. I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal? It does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on [a] recreational drug [that] users in a state that [have] already said, under state law, that is legal.”
Why should sports betting be so different.
Regardless of how much you like alcohol or weed, if you had to rank these three vices in terms of being “worse for you, your family & more dangerous to your neighbors and society”, I think most everyone would agree alcohol is the worst and sports betting is the least concerning.
Yet according to the federal government, alcohol is legal everywhere, sports betting is totally legal in just 1 state (Nevada) and marijuana is illegal everywhere.
However in actual practice and to individuals, marijuana is legal in 18+ states for medicinal use and completely legal for recreational use in 2 states, while there is no state outside of Nevada where sports betting is completely legalized.
According to US District Judge John Kane, marijuana will likely follow a similar path as alcohol. Toward the end of Prohibition, judges wantonly dismissed violations or levied fines so trivial that prosecutors quit filing cases. Kane believes marijuana possession laws are endangered: “It will just go into disuse. [Weed is] a cultural force, and you simply cannot legislate against a cultural force.”
Sports betting is also a “cultural force”, by the simple fact that its becoming more and more acceptable to discuss it on national TV, in national newspapers and websites, and more and more people are doing it despite it being illegal: $380 B is annually bet on sports outside of Nevada, representing 99% of the total amount of money bet on sports in the US.
If President Obama feels the States rights in marijuana make it OK (or at least not worth the time/effort to get involved) for them to engage in an activity which is Federally illegal, the same could be said for sports betting. And until a state actually fights congress to repeal PASPA, or actually just begins taking bets in spite of the Federal law, the country will continue to lose access to hundreds of Millions of taxable dollars in spite of the terrible financial crisis we are dealing with.
(1) stop the spread of sports gambling (stopping state-run/state-sanctioned sports gambling was thought to be the solution),
(2) maintain sport’s integrity, and
(3) reduce the promotion of gambling to youth.
While these 3 goals were very important, they weren’t important for Nevada, and to a lesser degree, 3 other states. The reason they weren’t important for Nevada is because Nevada was allowed to continue accepting sports bets, while the other 46 states were barred from accepting sports bets.
The primary reason lawmakers didn’t want to take sports betting away from Nevada is they believed doing so would cripple the state, as they rely so heavily on gambling for their economy, so lawmakers had to keep it in there.
However, that logic makes no sense at all.
In 2012, sports betting accounted for $170M of the total $10.86B won by casinos. That’s about 1.6% of their total winnings for 2012. In 2011, this number was 1.3%.
If you want to argue that in 1992, a larger percentage of their profit came from sports betting, you would be horribly wrong:
In 1992, sports betting accounted for $50M of the total $5.86B won by casinos. Which is 0.86% of their total winnings, or about “half” of the percentage it was this past year (1.6%).
So clearly, sports books do not generate near the profit that the rest of the casino does. From the most profitable table games to slightly less profitable slot machines, the sports book is simply not a huge moneymaker for the casino.
And also note that the casino’s win % (or hold) for the sports book was 4.9% in 2011 and 2012, which is far below the average hold for their games/tables overall, at 12.4%.
So if sports betting was so “bad” and terrible that it “threatens the character of team sports”, it easily could have been banned in Vegas too and honestly, Vegas would not take hardly any hit at all. They don’t make much in their sports books, and there are lots of emerging studies showing that sports books take up so much space, and that space would be better used adding more slots and table games to increase casino revenue.
So it makes no sense for PASPA to grandfather in some states and exclude others.
Now let’s move on to a cursory analysis of the three primary goals:
#1 – Stop the Spread of Sports Gambling
PASPA has been a miserable failure in stopping the spread of sports gambling. True, no “new” states have yet offered state-run sports gambling, but none were actively doing so prior to the passage of PASPA.
The Commission which studies gambling estimated that $380 B is wagered illegally on sports annually. Whereas in Nevada, only $3 B has been wagered on average the last 3 years ($3.5 B in 2012).
In other words, fewer than 1% of overall wagers are actually legally bet in Nevada.
Clearly, more and more people are betting larger and larger sums of money on sports.
In 1992, $50 M was wagered on the Super Bowl in Nevada. In 2013, $99 M was wagered. Essentially double.
Studies done by the FBI estimates that $2.5 B is wagered illegally on March Madness.
Its not just sports betting which is becoming more popular and common:
In 1990, only 2 States had casinos (4%). In 2013, 35 of 50 States have casinos (70%). That’s 17.5 times MORE now than in 1990.
If PASPA were effective, the spread of sports betting would have stopped in 1992. Instead, all indications show that year after year, sports betting has exploded into a $380 B industry.
#2 – Maintain Sport’s Integrity
Regardless of whether sports betting is legal or not, there will ALWAYS be scandals and point shaving accusations.
Whether its questionable officiating which swings between tens to hundreds of millions of dollars from one side to the other on a single call, or its direct fixing of games by referees (Tim Donaghy), many many game outcomes since 1992 have been MORE than questionable.
Even ignoring sports betting, in the NBA, you have the “star treatment” and not a single person thought stars like Michael Jordan didn’t get most of the 50/50 calls to go in his favor. Year after year there are studies done on particular teams who are called for significantly more penalties, sometimes due to potential referee bias.
And particularly when a season winds down, teams are notorious in every sport to rest players for the playoffs, scale back the game plan, or bench players to improve their draft status. This puts a significantly “lower quality” product on the field for fans who bought their tickets weeks (months or years) in advance, paying full price, not knowing the players they paid to see would not play, and teams may not try to win games. That is a lack on “integrity” that goes unchecked in virtually every sports league.
It easily could be argued that an even bigger pimple than gambling for the leagues on the topic of “integrity” is Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Whether its baseball, cycling, swimming or track & field, scandals occur with regularity.
In the 1992 Summer Olympics, the year when PASPA was passed into law, no athletes were stripped of medals due to doping/drug use.
In 2000, 14 medals were stripped. In 2004, 15 medals were stripped. In total, in the last four summer Olympics, an average of 9 medals have been stripped annually due to doping/drug use.
Ray Lewis allegedly ingested Deer Velvet Antler Extract during his remarkably fast recovery from a torn triceps, which contains banned substances but which currently is not tested for by the NFL, and this story garnered the national spotlight for a full 2 days leading up to the Super Bowl. Certainly there are “integrity” issues there as well. Not to mention the fact that the league is concerned enough about a banned substance to make it illegal, but does not even have the ability to test players to see if they are taking it. Seems like a massive “integrity” issue they have on their hands.
PASPA’s goal of maintaining sport’s integrity has been a massive failure, but the fact is, we still watch and ingest sports at record breaking numbers, and no scandal has ever stopped that and I doubt any will in the future, whether sports betting is or is not legalized.
#3 – To Reduce the Promotion of Gambling to Youth
Back in 1992, the “World Wide Web” was less than 1 year old, and full text web search engines would not be created for two more years (1994).
Back in 1992, Amazon (1995), eBay (1995), Craigslist (1995), Hotmail (1996), Google Search (1998), Paypal (1998), Napster (1999), Skype (2003), iTunes (2003), Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), etc did not exist.
Back in 1992, ESPN was not known as the “Worldwide Leader in Sports”, but “All Sports, All the time”. There was no ESPN2, and ESPN Radio was less than 1 year old.
And in 1992, along came PASPA. By passing PASPA, we were supposed to reduce the promotion of gambling to our youth. But these lawmakers had no idea how the internet was going to take the world by storm.
In 2013, the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” ESPN commonly discusses point spreads and betting on sports. Most of their radio hosts provide game picks against the spread on Friday before football weekends. There are well written articles and blogs done by Chad Millman and others which incorporate discussion of point spreads. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Why was it smart for ESPN to pursue this type of “Vegas” and “point spread” discussion? Because they must stay in tune with the public’s wants and desires. And the public today loves talking about point spreads, favorites and underdogs.
It’s not just ESPN, most newspapers incorporate a section on “lines”. One of the newspapers with the widest circulation of any in the US, USA Today, has lines every single day for current sports.
Right now with the internet, access to news media such as ESPN, USA Today and the thousands of gambling sites, its impossible to conceive that one would be able to prevent the youth from learning and engaging in gambling.
Thanks to PASPA, you technically (and currently) can’t bet on sports in New Jersey. I guess that solved everything, right?
Well where do we stand today? Currently, out of 1,000 New Jersey high school students, 2 are found to be actual bookmakers and statistics show that 1 in 3 high school students (nationwide) gamble on a regular basis. So PASPA really was effective, wasn’t it?
PASPA had 3 goals and accomplished none of them. It has been a colossal failure in respect to these 3 goals. Times have changed dramatically since 1992, and sports betting is no longer considered to be the “scourge on society” it perhaps once was.
The time has come to advance past outdated, poorly construed legislation and do something our Country rarely does: utilize common sense. Figure out how to capitalize on the fact that our citizens are betting $380 illegally each year, and we could be earning tax dollars on that money.
CalNeva estimates that sports gambling in New Jersey each year will bring in $1.3 B in gross revenue and $220 M in tax revenue. States with lotteries use that revenue to fund public education, economic development, parks and problem gambling treatment. Legalizing and taxing sports betting would generate revenue that can be used for the same programs.
Preventing certain States from regulating and allowing sports betting (while others are afforded that right) because of the 1992 horribly outdated, poorly construed, and terribly ineffective PASPA would be a massive mistake.
If you’ve been reading along with my blog, you know the professional sports leagues helped to pass regulation in 1992 banning 46 states from betting on sports, and exempting 4 states. The primary argument in 1992 supporting the passage of PASPA was the “integrity of the game”.
At the time, then NFL Commissioner Paul Taglibue represented this position by stating: “Sports gambling threatens the character of team sports. Our games embody our very finest traditions and values…. With legalized sports gambling, our games instead will come to represent the fast buck, the quick fix, the desire to get something for nothing.”
Recently, New Jersey wanted to join the ranks of Nevada, to help their troubled economy by raising revenue off of something which is already very prevalent within the state. In November 2011, 64% of the public voted to support sports betting, and despite it now being legal by State law, the sports leagues and the DOJ are suing the State of New Jersey.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said ““The one thing I’m certain of is New Jersey has no idea what it’s doing and doesn’t care because all it’s interested in is making a buck or two.”
And current NFL CommissionerRodger Goodell said: “The spread of sports betting, including the introduction of sports betting as proposed by the State of New Jersey, threatens to damage irreparably the integrity of and the public confidence in NFL football. As I’ve repeated to you, we will do everything we can to protect the integrity of the NFL and we monitor that closely, however we can. We do research, we do other facts about the integrity of our game and that’s important to us. And so we will continue to do whatever we can to uphold that and make sure people have confidence in our game, but more importantly believe that the NFL’s doing the right things”
Harsh and strong! Clearly the leagues are concerned they would be in big trouble if something came out that a game was fixed. This type of scandal would likely permanently destroy credibility and hurt the league to a point of “irreparably” harming it.
Such a scandal could happen. Looking at the landscape of sports, it is possible. And then, it would be curtains for the leagues. They’d be done for. Over with. Who knows what type of scandal would permanently destroy the league’s credibility. It would have to be something bad. Terrible.
Maybe it would be a scandal involving a referee. Imagine that maybe there is this “rogue” referee, who started fixing games he was hired to unbiasedly referee. Maybe this referee would bet millions on these games, and even work with the mob (ohhhh, knees wobble w/ fear), and then the professional sports leagues would really be screwed. The damage would be irreparable.
A perfect nightmare for the leagues. A crooked and “rogue” referee, working with the mob, to fix games while betting millions over multiple seasons. I’d go as far to guess that could be the worst thing that could happen to a professional sports league.
Didn’t that already happen? Didn’t a guy named Tim Donaghy, a NBA referee, from 2005 thru 2007, bet on games and manipulate outcomes in concert w/ the mob to make a profit? And wasn’t this uncovered in the summer of 2007? And wasn’t it a huge lead story, which the whole nation saw unfold right before its eyes? And didn’t this receive mainstream coverage, from 60 Minutes to SportsCenter to everything in between? And didn’t NBA Commissioner David Stern, at the time, say of this scandal:
It is the “worst thing that could happen to a professional sports league”?
If you answered “yes” to all of the above, you are correct.
So the league’s worst nightmare happened: A massive betting scandal of epic proportions perpetrated “from the inside” by arguably the single most influential person on the court, the referee.
Clearly, if the leagues were right in 1992 and right in 2012-13, this scandal should have caused “irreparable” harm to the NBA. And yet, since this 2007 scandal, the NBA is still in business. Interesting.
Well, perhaps the NBA is losing revenue, attendance is probably down, franchise values are probably much lower, TV ratings and deals are probably suffering badly, and surely the league is barely alive in the United States, let alone internationally.
Two law students at Saint Louis University studied these factors, and found that overall, the league is doing just fine (thank you). In fact, it’s doing better than “fine” – it’s as if there was no scandal in 2007 at all, on virtually all fronts listed above. (You can read their 11 page study HERE)
I felt this study was fascinating and supportive of the position that legalizing sports betting would not cause any more “integrity” issues in the league than already exists currently.
However, there was an angle that I think should be examined, but which was not my the metrics investigated in the study.
Something more basic. Something more elemental to the notion that “public confidence” would disappear if such a horrible scandal would arise. Something far easily measured, and much more directly impacted to the theorem that tarnishing integrity thru sports betting would lead to “irreparable harm”.
Because (if you think about it) as long as the NBA has its TV deal in place, those networks (ESPN, ABC and TNT) would be pedaling their product to the masses as often as they could. They would also be acting as a public advocate for the fact that the NBA is not corrupt, because if they went the opposite direction and perpetrated the notion that the NBA could not be trusted, they would be losing out on their $930 Million they are paying annually to the NBA thru 2016. And because of these advocates pushing the NBA’s product, it’s natural to suggest that league revenue, attendance, franchise value and TV ratings would not take an exceptional nose dive. (The fact that they have generally grown well is outstanding, but not the point.)
To find the true, singular metric to determine whether the “public” lost confidence and believed the NBA’s integrity was shattered, or if they still believed the NBA was offering a legitimate, honest product, is found in one place and one place only:
Basketball Betting Volume
If 2007 was such a monumental problem for the NBA due to news breaking in the summer that Tim Donaghy bet on games and manipulated outcomes to make a profit, people would lose faith in betting on the NBA.
Much like you don’t see Las Vegas odds set on WWE Wrestling matches, and you won’t find random Super Bowl props (such as “will Beyonce’s hair be straight or curly”) in town, Las Vegas is not in the business of taking action on events where the outcome is predetermined or known by a group of people ahead of time.
The same fundamental logic used by Vegas oddsmakers is also employed by sports bettors. If you have strong reason to believe that a game you’re betting on is likely to be fixed, and regardless of skill/talent by either team, the event is largely predetermined, you will be hesitant to bet on that game unless you have access to this “inside information”. It’s simply too big of a risk for you to throw your money at a crooked game unless you are privy to the information as to why it is crooked and who will win.
So if leagues are correct, we should see a drop off in the amount of money that was bet on basketball in 2008, in 2009, and perhaps into 2010, the years immediately following the corruption and scandal of 2007.
If, as according to David Stern, this scandal was ““worst [thing] that could happen to a professional sports league”, we should clearly and without equivocation see a drop off in amount of money bet on basketball.
While most of the sports leagues did see a drop off in the amount of money bet in 2008 and 2009, ironically, the amount of money bet by the public in Nevada on basketball actually increased, and the increase was significant.
A total of $1.841 Billion was bet on all sports other than basketball, which was a DECREASE of almost 4% from the $1.907 B bet in 2007.
But for basketball betting, 2008 saw a 7% INCREASE vs. 2007 basketball betting, from $687M to $738M.
A total of $1.765B was bet on non-basketball sports, which was DECREASE of almost 8% vs. the amount bet in 2007.
Meanwhile, basketball betting in 2009 saw a 17% INCREASE vs. 2007′s total, with $804M bet in 2009.
A total of $1.932B was bet on non-basketball sports, which was barely an improvement (1%) of what was bet 3 years prior, in 2007 .
But basketball betting in 2010 saw a 21% INCREASE vs. 2007′s total, with $830M bet in 2010.
The best measurable to determine whether the public thought the NBA was corrupt, fixed, or any other manner a defective product following the Tim Donaghy scandal of 2007 would be to see how their betting habits were affected. If the NBA’s integrity was shattered, no one would want to toss away money betting on something where the outcome could be predetermined before the game even started by the bet of a referee.
Surely the first place where the destruction of public confidence would be measured would be at the betting window. And while the economy struggled in 2008, and non-basketball betting was down 3%, that number doubled to -7% in 2009, as even less money was bet on non-basketball sporting events.
But basketball betting saw rocketed and continual growth, completely opposite that of all other sports. And it also saw a 21% increase 3 years later, vs. just a 1% increase for all non-basketball sports betting.
There is simply no rational support to show that, even if the “worst thing that could happen to a professional sports league” did happen, the public’s interest in that sport diminished. Franchise value’s and TV ratings are at all time highs and they increased immediately after this scandal broke, and as shown above, public confidence and trust was not erased in the least, as they put their hard earned money on the line betting on these games at a rate vastly exceeding all other sports.
The arguments that “sports gambling threatens the character of team sports” and “threatens to damage irreparably the integrity of and the public confidence” in sports are simply inaccurate when a true case study is examined.
While the “integrity of the game” issue won’t be the deciding factor in the current lawsuit as presently structured, it was paramount in the implementation of the original 1992 PASPA law. In the next posting in this series, I will tackle the inaccurate platforms which PASPA was built upon and, as a law, its monumental failings.
The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is a clear violation of the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, which states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
PASPA creates a perpetual monopoly to allow certain favored states (like Nevada) to violate the ‘right’ of sports leagues to be protected from corruption, but prevents other states from doing the same.
Not only is this unfair and unconstitutional, we now have a state like New Jersey, where voters already approved a referendum in 2011 to allow sports betting, and Gov. Chris Christie signed a law legalizing sports betting. This is no longer a hypothetical, a state’s citizens and government have decided they want the revenue and economic boost from sports betting.
Yet the sports leagues, supported by the DOJ, are suing the State of New Jersey for it’s attempt to allow sports betting, while turning a blind eye to the fact that Nevada continues to profit from it.
NBA Commissioner David Stern said all New Jersey is interested in is “making a buck or two” and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig called the attempt by New jersey “corruption”.
Let’s examine the hypocrisy, first of the league’s themselves, then of the DOJ, in their fight to “stop sports betting” (just ignore the fact that $375 Billion is illegally bet in the United States each year, so PASPA isn’t stopping anything):
Hypocrisy of the Sports Leagues
None of the leagues can say they are “anti-betting”, as they sided with support of PASPA in 1992. PASPA allowed Nevada full ability to conduct sports betting. Apparently, according to the leagues, if Nevada allows sports betting, it is OK. But when New Jersey (or other states) try to do the same thing, they are “corrupt” and trying to “make a buck or two”.
Looking back, the establishment of PASPA was fraught with problems. It received opposition from Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and the DOJ (ironically, more in this below).
The DOJ and Senator Grassley highlighted the hypocrisy of the leagues in supporting PASPA. Senator Grassley contended that “if the professional sports leagues were truly concerned about the risk of ‘fixed’ games and the integrity of professional sports . . . they would have sought to prohibit the $1.8 Billion (as of 1992) head-to-head sports wagering industry in Nevada.” Instead, the leagues supported legislation that allowed Nevada to be grandfathered in.
Additionally, the NBA held exhibition games in Nevada during the four years leading up to PASPA and Nevada gaming laws allowed the NBA to prohibit wagering on the games, but instead, the NBA allowed wagering to take place.
In 1992, NFL Commissioner Paul Taglibue testified before Congress: “Sports gambling threatens the character of team sports. Our games embody our very finest traditions and values. They stand for clean, healthy competition. They stand for teamwork. And they stand for success through preparation and honest effort. With legalized sports gambling, our games instead will come to represent the fast buck, the quick fix, the desire to get something for nothing.”
Again, the hypocrisy is thick. The NFL and the leagues supported a law which would allow sports betting in certain places, but not in others. So if it was so bad, and if the leagues were so noble, particularly in their rhetoric as they defend PASPA, why would they have voted to allow it back in 1992?
Now, NBA Commissioner David Stern says New Jersey is just “interested in making a buck or two”. I really don’t understand this “making a buck” or Taglibue’s “fast buck” comments. Certainly its not the bettors who are making that buck, and they aren’t making it fast.
Nevada sports books have won an average of $150 Million annually on sports betting the last 10 years. If the bettors themselves were making that “fast and quick buck”, Nevada wouldn’t be profiting every single year on sports betting. In 2012 alone, Nevada sports books won $170 Million on sports betting from the bettors.
And let’s think about this for one second. The league’s want us to believe that because PASPA is law, we don’t question the “integrity” of the games, and we believe everything is on the “up and up” because betting is not “legal”. Yet we have Tim Donaghy, the tainted basketball referee linked to the Gambino mafia family.
Then you have countless game endings which have been very peculiar to say the least. One of the many suspicious game endings I vividly remember was in 2008 where a touchdown on the last play of the game swung the ATS winner of the game. The play was ruled a Touchdown live on the field, as well as after review, the ruling stood as a touchdown. But the referee crew gathered and reversed the call to not a touchdown after the the review. The game was over, the touchdown was overruled, and the team who should have covered did not. While he was being interviewed on the field moments after the game ended, the referee admitted the call should have stood as a touchdown and he “made a mistake”. The NFL later apologized, and millions of dollars went to the house. LINK
The point is, if a week goes by in sports where some element of integrity is NOT called into question (whether it’s a referee decision, PEDs, resting players for positioning at the end of seasons or suspicious game endings and covers/non-covers), then its a surprise. PASPA has done nothing to “maintain the integrity” of professional sports, and my next article in this series will focus more on this topic (the failure of PASPA in general).
This past November, NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell said: “The spread of sports betting, including the introduction of sports betting as proposed by the State of New Jersey, threatens to damage irreparably the integrity of and the public confidence in NFL football. As I’ve repeated to you, we will do everything we can to protect the integrity of the NFL and we monitor that closely, however we can. We do research, we do other facts about the integrity of our game and that’s important to us. And so we will continue to do whatever we can to uphold that and make sure people have confidence in our game, but more importantly believe that the NFL’s doing the right things”
There is so much here with regard to “damage irreparably the integrity of and the public confidence in NFL football” that I think I’ll be focusing on this exclusively in my next update tomorrow (Friday). Because Goodell couldn’t be more wrong on this point based on public data I’ve reviewed.
You probably would not believe that an active Commissioner said the following in 2009, when asked if it was in the best interest of his sport to support the legalization of sports betting:
“It has been a matter of league policy to answer that question, ‘No,’ . . . but I think that that league policy was formulated at a time when gambling was far less widespread—even legally….Considering the fact that so many state governments — probably between 40 and 50 — don’t consider it immoral, I don’t think that anyone [else] should. It may be a little immoral, because it really is a tax on the poor, the lotteries. But having said that, it’s now a matter of national policy: Gambling is good… We have moved to a point where the leap [of accepting legalized sports gambling on games] is a possibility.”
To summarize the hypocrisy of the leagues, this simple timeline is helpful:
1. 92 Leagues – We want to prohibit sports betting to maintain sport’s integrity
2. 92 Leagues – Although sports betting crushes our sport’s integrity, we only want it banned in 46 states. Nevada is cool, their residents can bet on sports and the nation can flock there to bet on sports, and this betting magically does not hurt our sport’s integrity. But anyone who bets on sports in the other 46 states would destroy our sport’s integrity.
3. 07 Stern – In light of the Tim Donaghy sports betting scandal: this is “the worst thing that could happen to a professional sports league.”
4. 09 Stern – “Gambling is good”
5. 13 Stern – “New Jersey has no idea what it’s doing and doesn’t care because all it’s interested in is making a buck or two.”
6. 13 Leagues – We do not oppose sports betting, just State regulated sports betting (hello #1 above!)
Hypocrisy of the DOJ
Along w/ Senator Grassley, the DOJ opposed PASPA back in 1992 because they felt that PASPA would be a “substantial intrusion” into states’ rights.
Senator Grassley argued that it would discriminate among the states because the grandfathered states would have a monopoly on sports gambling.
The DOJ went on to say that “determinations of how to raise revenue have typically been left to the States.” The DOJ felt that PASPA raised federalism issues and expressed concern that sports leagues would be permitted to enforce its provisions.
Now, the DOJ is supporting the case against New Jersey to prevent them from allowing sports betting, despite it being their right to raise revenue, by imposing an affirmative mandate on the State.
Putting things in Perspective
New Jersey, like many states, needs serious help. They are losing money, and studies show that legalizing sports betting in New Jersey could bring the state more than $50 million in annual tax revenue. Let alone adding to the State’s tourism and providing hundreds of new jobs.
Meanwhile, that’s viewed as “detrimental” by the sports leagues, although it’s perfectly fine in Las Vegas. And the league’s are concerned with people trying to gain a “quick buck”?
While the league’s fight to stop New Jersey, they continue to have some of the most wasteful and ludicrous payments occur to their players:
$275 Million to Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez?
$121 Million to Rockies’ Mike Hampton?
$119 Million to Hawks Joe Johnson?
$111 Million to Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas?
$100 Million to Knicks’ Allan Houston?
$100 Million to Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire?
$68 Million to Islanders’ Rick DiPietro?
$65 Million to Orioles Albert Belle?
$40 Million to Jets’ Mark Sanchez?
$39 Million guaranteed to Raiders’ JaMarcus Russell?
$30 Million to Knicks’ Jerome James?
$21 Million guaranteed to Trail Blazers’ Greg Oden?
To the first 9 players listed (thru Mark Sanchez), there is a total of $1 Billion guaranteed.
Even if New Jersey made $50 Million in annual tax revenue via sports betting, it would take them 20 years to amass the $1 Billion paid to those players in those ridiculous contracts.
So really, do the sports league’s have a leg to stand on when it comes to talk about someone getting a “quick buck” here?
PASPA has been challenged before
PASPA has been challenged based on claims that it violates the Constitution, most notably the Tenth Amendment, twice since its enactment.
The first time, In Flager v. United States Attorney, a private citizen of New Jersey challenged PASPA on the grounds that it violated the Tenth Amendment because “the power to outlaw sports wagering was not expressly granted to the federal government” by the Constitution. The court did not address the Tenth Amendment claim and dismissed the case holding that the plaintiff lacked standing.
In Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, Inc. v. Holder, Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, Inc. (“iMEGA”), New Jersey state senator Raymond Lesniak, and the New Jersey horse-racing industry filed suit against the United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, claiming that PASPA was unconstitutional and violated the First, Fifth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Fourteenth Amendments in addition to the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause. Senator Lesniak and iMEGA contended that “raising revenue by means of state laws authorizing sports betting is a right reserved to the individual states.” Therefore, they argued, “PASPA violates the Tenth Amendment by unconstitutionally arrogating to the United States such express and implied reserved powers to the individual states to regulate matters affecting its citizens including the raising of revenue.” The government sought to dismiss the case for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The court ruled in favor of the government, holding that the plaintiffs had suffered no injury and therefore lacked standing. Regarding the Tenth Amendment claim, the court briefly stated that a Tenth Amendment challenge is reserved for states and that since New Jersey was not a party to the lawsuit there was no standing.
As you can see, now that the State of New Jersey is involved, the problems with the prior lawsuits are missing from this case, and now we can get to the heart of the Constitutionality, or lack thereof, of PASPA.
The Current Lawsuit
In oral arguments in the current suit against New Jersey, the league’s plainly stated they did not oppose sports betting, just State regulated sports betting. So toss out the “integrity of the game” arguments, as apparently sports league’s don’t care at all if sports betting occurs, they just don’t want it to occur everywhere. The league’s are trying to dictate which states should be able to bet on sports, and which should not. PASPA infringes on states’ rights in raising revenue, unfairly disadvantages many states, and has been ineffective in what it set out to do.
As argued online: “The only way to ban lotteries (States) from offering sports betting constitutionally would be to make sports betting itself a crime, and Congress would never have the political will to pass a bill that would have made everyone in both chambers who fills out as much as an office pool guilty of a Federal crime.”
I’d be interested in seeing an offshore sports book put a line on whether a Judge (Shipp or an Appellate Judge) ultimately rules in favor of, or against the leagues. I suppose you’d have to put “against the leagues” as the solid underdog. But I certainly would take a flyer on the payout as I believe PASPA is unconstitutional.
This is the second in a series of articles examining sports betting laws and the push for New Jersey to legalize sports betting in their state. The first article in the series was Why I Wish Sports Betting was more like Marijuana. Warren Sharp is not an attorney, so nothing herein is legal opinion, but personal opinion and viewpoints.
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