Looking to Bet On Sports Legally, Forget It Anytime Soon

On Monday sports gamblers on the East Coast experienced the agony of defeat. Upon hearing the verdict, I fear that now I may die and still never be able to legally place a wager on a sporting event, unless I go to Nevada. Sad to think this, but as I get older reality starts to

On Monday sports gamblers on the East Coast experienced the agony of defeat. Upon hearing the verdict, I fear that now I may die and still never be able to legally place a wager on a sporting event, unless I go to Nevada. Sad to think this, but as I get older reality starts to set in. I’ve got about 30 years left, if you look at life as an optimist, and Monday’s ruling by the 3rd Circuit Court proclaimed a death sentence for legal sports gambling in the U.S.

People that I tell this too say that I am a pessimist, that there will be other issues brought before the courts on gambling. The problem is that the court took a most narrow approach in applying their decision to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. – PASPA. They could have ruled that single game betting in Delaware was permissible under PASPA. But instead, by deciding that only games that were previously offered can remain legal, they were saying that ANY expansion of sports betting violated PASPA.

New Jersey should forget their efforts. They plan to say that PASPA unfairly give four states and unfair advantage in offering sports betting and that is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. New Jersey Senator Lesniak was quoted saying, ” . . . this latest development does not deter us from challenging PAPSA as unconstitutional.” Perhaps I am over simplifying it, but the court’s ruling is obviously stating that ANY new sports gambling violates PASPA. Obviously, sports betting in New Jersey or any other state would be an expansion for sports betting, clearly flying in the face of current legal sentiment. In the sports betting world, PASPA is apparently now the Holy Grail.

We are hoping that the efforts of iMega and New Jersey are successful. But the odds of a federal ban on sports wagering being overturned dropped dramatically and are now considered by most to be a long shot, at best.

The proposed sports lottery was estimated to bring in at least $53 million annually for the state of Delaware. The state’s three casinos spent about $12 million upgrading their facilities in preparation of the launch. So instead of a legislated, regulated, taxed betting scheme, unlicensed bookmakers will still take in illegally bet dollars by the millions on any given Sunday. I would imagine that bookies in Philadelphia and Maryland were doing a jig on Monday afternoon. I was surprised that ‘South Philly Sammy’ was not at the hearing.

The NFL acknowledged to us back at the hearings in Dover that they know that illegal gaming occurs on their sport. But they do not want to see the proliferation gaming on their brands. Really what they did not want was for Delaware to win. What if the state’s revenue projections were low and the tiny state earned $100 million? Then every state would be lining up with Lesniak and iMega to get on board the gravy train. And that would certainly be the proliferation of sports gambling.

The NFL tired to hammer the ppoint that the expansion of gambling will hurt the integrity of the game. Certainly, they could not be talking about the small amount of wagers that Delaware might take in. However, they are worried about 50 states worth of bets. Still, it’s been explained many times, that legal betting acts as a watchdog for the leagues and sports in general.

Europe takes a different approach. Gambling is done on every major and minor soccer game played. BWIN, a gaming giant in Europe, is putting together a package worth $161.8 million to acquire Newcastle United F.C, one of the most fervently supported football clubs in the UK. They already have sponsorships with top soccer clubs including AC Milan and Real Madrid.

Basically, the NFL needs to get a cut of the pie. Had Delaware offered the NFL $20 million a year for the ‘right’ to bet on their games, do you think the NFL would have fired up the lawsuit wagon? Of if Delaware paid a sponsorship to have the state crest on the uniforms of the teams, do you think that the proliferation of gambling would be such a bad thing?

But barring such a deal (which again will not happen in my lifetime), with the latest case-law now in the books, any future sports gambling in the U.S. is going to have an impossible hill to climb.


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    August 28, 2009, 4:52 pm


  • arun k sinha
    August 28, 2009, 5:41 pm

    US is hypocrate. They have legal gambling in every states.
    Can someone tell me what is LOTTERY and very little chance for 99% people to win if anything. Again only poor and not so well to do are the one who buys lottery ticket.
    All on the name of supporting their education system and still lots of school in poor neighbourhood suffers from bad building condition and not enough good teachers.

  • john
    August 29, 2009, 11:45 am

    Think about this, what is there to gain by this apparently very conservative judge. Who runs these off shore books? Just maybe a friend of the judge!

  • Glenn Green
    August 29, 2009, 9:13 pm

    Get proper exercise and eat a sensible diet..for you will live to see the state of Delaware obtain the green light on single-game wagering. Watch for both sides to reach an eventual complicated legislative compromise in the near future.. perhaps next year. “Protecting the integrity of the game means ALL SIDES MUST GET PAID.”

    In the meantime, be careful not to scratch off the NFL logo on your lottery tickets. I think it’s against the law.

  • Rakeback
    September 6, 2009, 11:43 pm

    I think sports betting is legal when compared to other gambling.This will really raise the spirits of sports lovers.


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