This week the tiny state of Delaware beat the odds and enacted a bill to allow sports betting. This one move forced the hand of the NFL who needed to come up with some kind of legal opposition to this new law. Since Delaware was grand-fathered in to allow sports betting, they could not use
This week the tiny state of Delaware beat the odds and enacted a bill to allow sports betting. This one move forced the hand of the NFL who needed to come up with some kind of legal opposition to this new law. Since Delaware was grand-fathered in to allow sports betting, they could not use the Amateur Sports Gaming Protection Act . . . since Delaware has decided that initially the betting will be done via parlay cards, creating a sports betting â€˜lotteryâ€™, the NFL could not argue that this violated the state constitution. So, the NFL, with its infinite wisdom and apparent willingness to look for a short-sighted victory, played the skill game card.
Hooray for the NFL!! Sports betting is now a game of skill (as if we all didnâ€™t know that by now).
The NFL has argued before that betting on their games was pure chance. They have used this argument previously before the House of Representatives and during other court cases. According to the NFL no skills are required to win at sports gambling, until now. When no less an authority than the National Football League recognizes that sports betting is a game of skill, no further debate is really necessary, is it?
According to a brief filed in the Delaware Supreme Court, the NFL is prepared to argue that betting on their games requires skill, and that â€œSetting a point spread might make it more difficult for a bettor to decide which outcome to select, but does not render the game one of chance.” Yet the best quote “If a game is predominantly one of chance,” attorney Kenneth J. Nachbar wrote, “it will not matter who is doing the picking — a skilled expert, or a monkey choosing at random.”
I donâ€™t know about you, but there are weeks every season where I think the monkey could do better than me at picking games!
Joe Brennan, the head man at the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA), told us via email that, “We thank the NFL for conceding the obvious, and hope that this point of view will be reflected across the board in their dealings with the gaming industry, both online and off.”
Why does this latest revelation from the NFL matter?
Gambling is loosely defined as wagering in which the outcome depends more on chance than skill. However, many states have statutes that specifically make betting on sports events illegal. Still, not every state specifically prohibits sports wagering or other ‘games of skill’.
Many state laws refer to “Lotteries” instead of “gambling.” Some state courts have held a lottery is defined the same way as gambling: “a wager where the person gets a reward in a manner predominantly determined by chance.” Other courts and laws specifically define “lottery” as you would think: a numbers style game of pure chance.
The NFL wants the Delaware Court to hold that sports betting is not a lottery but is gambling â€“ it involves skill. By using a skill games argument in court, the NFL seems to have failed to see the risk that in many places not being a lottery is exactly the same thing as not being gambling.
Many people have mentioned to us that that a better argument would be that this violates the Federal Wire act of 1961. The Federal Wire Act criminalizes accepting a sports bet made across state lines (or more recently across country boundaries) via a communication device. In reality, it is the Amateur Sports Gaming Protection Act (ASGPA ) that makes the betting of games illegal. This 1992 law is what is basically keeping states from becoming bookies right now and is the law that gives four states, including Delaware, a carve out.
So, though the NFL may have opened the door in one way, the ASGPA might trump any movement from states that are not grand-fathered to allow sports betting. In the meantime, I have to work on my skills.