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First Downs and Second Guesses

Blog #157- May 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court just got into the sports-betting business.  The highest court in the land struck down a 25-year-old federal law that outlawed sports betting outside of Nevada.  New Jersey had appealed a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals decision, saying the law violated the state's 10th Amendment rights.  The 10th Amendment basically says that any power that is not given to the federal government is given to the people or the states.

    So what happens now?  Well, New Jersey has several locations ready to move quickly in offering sports betting.  Delaware is expected to move on the ruling, also.  In all, experts are saying at least 32 states will offer some aspect of legal sports betting within the next five years.

     What do the pro teams think about the ruling?  Will it help them?  The NBA and MLB have both said that some form of legal sports gambling seems inevitable and have teamed together to urge states to pass bills that would help protect the integrity of their sports, while also directing some profits in the direction of the leagues.  [Note: Will Pete Rose become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame now that sports-betting has been legalized?  His gambling on baseball while playing and managing has been the sticking point for voters over the years.]

     What does the NCAA have to say about the ruling?  They are obviously against it because the NCAA says college sports are about student-athletes and sports wagering on college athletics is illegal in their eyes.

       In Nebraska and Iowa, two different trains of thought have emerged.  An Iowa state legislator is promising to create legislation allowing sports betting in the state.  Iowa already has river boat and casino gambling operations.  Setting up sports betting would not be difficult to do, state leaders say.

Nebraska has long been a state that does not condone gambling.  However, keno, a game of chance and challenge, have operations throughout the state.  The Omaha Indian tribe in Nebraska has tried unsuccessfully for years to build casinos outside of tribal land.  Petitions asking to put the casino question on state ballots have fallen short over the years.  The current governor is very anti-gambling.

Proponents argue that illegal gambling has been going on for decades.  While in grad school, the building janitor was the local bookie.  I got the betting sheets every week from him if I wanted.  I dabbled a few times.  Gambling is an addiction, especially if you win early and often.  But the odds quickly leave your favor.  Yet, I'm still amazed at how amazing close the over/under of all sporting events are created by the odds-makers at casinos in Las Vegas.  What kind of insider information do these people have?

Opponents argue that sports-betting harms society because the practice can become addictive.  And when addictions become an epidemic within society, the financial cost is heavy.  Some experts say that for every dollar a state may make via taxing sports-betting operations, three dollars need to be spent on treatment for the addiction.

I agree with the Supreme Court ruling.  It will be interesting to watch how individual states react.  Sports- betting, whether legal or illegal, can become an addiction.  It's also a person's individual choice to make.  But I don't want my tax money paying for a sports-betting addict's treatment.  That's where I draw the line.


     Comments or questions? Send to steve@thebestcollegerecruiter.com.