Why Legalizing Sports Betting and Online Gambling is a Loser for New Jersey
In an excellent op-ed column, former New Jersey Casino Control Commission member Carl Zeitz examines why legalizing sports betting and online gambling is a bad deal for New Jersey.
Sports Betting and Online Gambling Are Not a Smart Bet for New Jersey
Predatory Gambling Bigger Threat Than Performance Enhancing Drugs
This article from The Australian
outlines how predatory gambling is a greater threat to the integrity of sports than performance-enhancing drugs.
The Australian - Sport Asleep Over Gambling Threat
National gambling addiction specialist speaks out against predatory sports gambling
One of America's most outspoken gambling treatment specialists, Arnie Wexler, recently published an excellent column about how aggressive some in the media have become about promoting point spreads for sporting events. Read Arnie's column below:
From Arnie Wexler, a gambling addiction treatment specialist:
You would not expect to open your local newspaper and get a price list of illegal drugs for sale. But that's just about what you can get today when you open your local newspaper to the sports pages all over the country. True, you don't see drug prices but you do see lines and point spreads on sporting events. Illegal drugs can't be bought, legally in any state. You can't place a legal bet in America, except in Las Vegas. I know it's in because it sells newspapers.
There are ads in newspapers for 800 and 900 numbers that sell information to gamblers. Some of these ads read : "Get the game of the month free", "We pick 75% winners", "Last week we went 11 for 12", and " Get our lock of the week".
I still can't believe that newspapers carry ads from these so called handicappers, who are really scandicappers. It's also interesting to note how often the information is incorrect.
I remember going to speak at Northwestern University a few years ago. That day I read in USA Today
that Danny Sheridan wrote: "Northwestern was a million to one to win the Big 10". Well, they did win the Big 10 and went to the Rose Bowl. I also remember when the Dallas Morning News
had a gorilla in the Dallas Zoo make football picks for them. The gorillas' picks were doing better than the sports writers.
If you read the Sports Illustrated
story, written by Tim Layden in April of 1995 about gambling on the college campus, you now know what every youth on a college campus knows; gambling is running rampant on every college campus. Odds and point spreads have become a normal topic of conversation amongst these students. Gambling is as available as a can of beer or a pack of cigarettes and the student bookmakers get the lines they use straight out of their local newspapers.
In 1982, I was involved with trying to help a compulsive gambler who was an ex-college star athlete. He owed $350,000 in gambling debts. It all started five years before when he played a football ticket for $5. No doubt the person providing the football ticket got the lines from their local newspaper.
Picture the following scenario: A young man uses the lines and odds from his local newspaper and uses it to set up a bookmaking operation in the local town pub. A law officer comes in and arrests the bookmaker and players. The next day the headline in the paper says: " John Doe Arrested For Bookmaking and Hank Smith Arrested For Illegally Betting". Hypocrisy you say? The very newspaper that carried the lines, now is carrying this headline.
It seems to me that the message we are sending the youth of America is: Education is not necessary. You will be able to make your life fortune by pulling a slot machine , buying a lottery ticket or winning a bet on a game.
The NCAA understands this issue as they have discussed taking press credentials at the Final Four away from newspapers that carry the lines.
Sports betting is a big problem for compulsive gamblers. I used to run a national hotline and 47% of the callers were sports bettors. Because compulsive gambling is an Impulse Control Disorder (as stated by the American Psychiatric Association), reading the lines in the newspaper can often trigger a gambling binge. Some recovering compulsive gamblers can't buy a newspaper because of the anxiety it causes. I don't see much difference between casinos serving free drinks to an alcoholic or newspapers putting lines out for compulsive gamblers to read.
Years ago only some newspapers carried the line. Now you can rarely pick up a newspaper that doesn't. You also never heard electronic media discussing odds. Today it is common to hear such a discussion. Recently someone told me that they heard a commentator on a national TV football game say: "They covered the spread."
Years ago I was on a TV show with Howard Cosell (ABC Sports Beat). The topic was: Does the media encourage the public to gamble? Bobby Knight, Indiana basketball coach, said: "a ewspaper who published point spreads should also publish names and addresses of services that render to prostitutes. They practically have the same legality in every one of our states, and I can't see why one is any better than the other." On the same show former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn said: "Anything that encourages gambling on team sports bothers me. We all look hypocritical but the why are we putting up the odds unless we are trying to encourage it." David Stern, NBA commissioner said: "We don't want the weeks' grocery money to be bet on the outcome of a particular sporting event."
I would like to pose a few questions:
• Do point spreads in newspapers cause a proliferation of gambling?
• Do people see point spreads in the newspaper and think it is legal to place a bet?
• Does the media entice people to gamble?
• Does the media have any responsibility for the increase in numbers of compulsive gamblers in America?
• Does the media give the appearance that it promotes and condones gambling?
I think the responsible thing to do would be for newspapers to carry a public service message (Need Help For A Gambling Problem? Call: 1-888 LAST BET).
If you want to talk to Anie see info below.
NBA Hall of Famer Bill Bradley Speaks Out Against Sports Betting
NBA Hall of Famer and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley has been a consistent opponent of sports betting. In fact, he helped pass the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which banned the practice in all 50 states, with a few exceptions.
It was an incident in his professional basketball career that helped shaped his view.
"We were ahead by five points or so, the opponent hit a basket to cut the lead to three points, and I heard cheering," Bradley said of the seemingly meaningless basket as the game was ending. "I asked why, and someone said they were cheering because [the other team] covered the point spread...I know that when I was a player, I certainly didn't like the idea of being a roulette chip."
Man Behind Sports Betting Ban Stands His Ground
In-play betting ads ‘encourage children to gamble’
Various gambling bodies have been recently reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for encouraging children to gamble. In this article the issue in England is highlighted with various advertisements centered around ‘in-play’ betting, targeting the younger demographic.
In-play betting ads 'encourage children to gamble'
Investigation finds worldwide game-fixing in soccer
This Los Angeles Times
story details the results of an investigation that found worldwide and widespread corruption in soccer. Europol, the joint police body of the European Union, has released information form its ongoing investigation of the possibility of major worldwide soccer games being fixed, and it has found evidence of over 680 "suspicious games" in 5 continents, including a Champions League match in England and several World Cup qualifying matches. According to one German investigator, this widespread corruption is "on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game."
2013 Investigation uncovers possible fixing of soccer games worldwide
Investigation finds Champions League soccer match was fixed
An investigation by Europol, the law-enforcement agency of the European Union, has found that a Champions League soccer match in the UK which ended in a tie was fixed. Europol did not release the identity of the match due to the ongoing investigation, however, they did say the match occurred within the last "three or four years". Officials say this match-fixing is the work of an organized crime group based in Asia. This article from BBC Sport
examines the investigation and its findings.
Match-fixing -Champions League tie played in England was fixed
New Jersey is chasing losses
“Chasing losses” among gamblers means trying to recover money lost gambling by more gambling in the vain hope that the next round will be different. As states have become addicted to gambling revenue, they too can chase losses by expanding gambling. Many states have tried. Iowa had one race track and decided to jump into riverboat casinos early on. Several states with casinos have sought to increase revenues by adding table games. Missouri and Colorado have increased loss limits. The list goes on.
The most expert “chaser” has to be New Jersey. Due to competition from surrounding states New Jersey has seen casino revenue decline by 40% and four of its twelve casinos close with a fifth teetering on the edge. It jumped in early on state approved internet gambling conducted by its casinos. Nothing much happened. There was no gold rush. So the next thing to try is legal sports books.
Monmouth Park, the north Jersey race track, has built a really nice large sports bar, with lots of big TV screens, that remains mainly empty because running the book is not legal yet. The decision will come from a judge, U. S. District Judge Michael Shipp. The expectations are marvelous! With Manhattan just an hour away, and Philadelphia nearby, promoters suggest that the market will grow to be three times that of Nevada, producing fortunes for bar owners and an avalanche of revenue for the state. There is no lack of interest in sports or betting on them, but is it possible that the reality is going to be less than what the promoters say, as is so often the case? Do you think the judge is feeling any pressure?
And, what will happen when all the other nearby states jump in with their own sport books, as they did with the casinos? This will be another temporary bump in revenues for New Jersey if approved.
Tim Dahlberg, “Bookmakers poised for New Jersey game changer,” Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader,
October 10, 2014, p. B7.) The Associated Press carried this as “Vegas ready to place a big bet on New Jersey” on October 9, 2014.
Quest to legalize sports gambling could destroy professional athletics…”Say it ain’t so Joe”
This article regarding legalizing sports gambling points out how it could destroy professional athletics here in the US. Sports gambling regulations in the US are among the strictest in the world! On October 6, 2014 a federal judge is expected to rule on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's request to allow his states casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting. This is Christie's second attempt at relaxing gambling regulations. In 2012 he was challenged by the federal government and the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and the MLB, who won.
We know what problems arise when sports gambling is legalized. We need only to look across the pond, where football scandals (match fixing) happen almost as often as goals. Morality has nothing to do with the illegality of sports betting. An America with legal sports gambling would not be immune to match fixing.
2014 Quest to Legalize Sports Gambling Could Destroy Professional Athletics
U.S. Treasury Warns Casinos on Sports Betting
Warning of criminal activity such as money laundering, the Treasury Department is urging casinos to take steps to combat illegal sports gambling. It is reported that currently 80% of global sports betting is illegal, therefore invisible to authorities. This notice by the Treasure Dept. was issued just prior to the Super Bowl, one of the busiest betting weekends of the year.
2015 US Treasury warns casinos on illegal sports betting
Sports gambling apps target users as young as 13 years old
This Market Watch article outlines the move by app developers to tap into the large and growing U.S. sports gambling market by developing ‘freemium’ models for users as young as 13 years old. These models include no purchase required apps where users must view advertising to enter pools and free virtual currency based apps.
2016 Sports gambling apps target users as young as 13
Legalized sports gambling is playing a large role in corrupting popular sports
This editorial by The Nation
declares legalized sports gambling operators play an equal if not greater role in corrupting popular sports than illegal, underground gambling.
2016 ‘Legitimate’ gambling is destroying sports
Federal Court Blocks New Jersey Attempt to introduce Sports Betting at Casino and Tracks
New Jersey’s plan to legalize sports books at casinos and racetracks was rejected by the United States Court of Appeals, which upheld the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which prohibits authorizing sports betting. Of the twelve justices hearing the case in February, ten voted to uphold the Federal law. New Jersey wanted the exemption to build up revenues at the casinos and tracks which have been hard hit by competition from gambling in other nearby states.
Nevada, the only state that has legal sports books, took in $4.2 billion last year. The estimates of illegal sports book gambling was $150 billion. As a result of this decision, a lobbying effort will begin next year for the withdrawal of the 1992 law that the judges upheld. The claim of proponents is that the illegal bets with bookies is sometimes dangerous, while the sports leagues and the NCAA argue that legalizing will lead to even more attempts to fix games to gain a gambling edge. The professional sports leagues are sending mixed messages, however, since the NBA is pushing for legal gambling on basketball games, the National Hockey League has awarded a franchise to Las Vegas, and the National Football League is considering moving the Oakland Raiders to Vegas as well. Two football owners have stakes in Fantasy Sports companies.
As we all watch the continuing expansion of gambling, we wonder just where it will end, and how seedy the institutions of government and sports in this country will become. While the percentage who gamble and approve expansion has remained stable for several years, the amount of our national wealth that is going down the drain to the gamblers continues to increase. Between our national debt and our gambling losses, it remains to be seen how long our wobbly economy can last.
Joe Drape, “Federal Court Blocks New Jersey Plan to Legalize Sports Betting,” The New York Times.
August 9, 2016.
American Gaming Association wants repeal of PASPA
The American Gaming Association (AGA) wants more gambling regardless of the consequences to families and economies. In 1992 the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which sought to eliminate gambling on sports that would lead to attempts to fix the games. The law has been largely successful in making sports gambling private or underground until the advent of Daily Fantasy Sports betting.
Now the AGA is on a five year campaign to have Congress repeal PASPA and open up gambling on sports. The AGA has organized gamblers, sports figures, media representatives and states’ rights entities to push Congress. Some lobbyists and Jack Abramoff, former “super-lobbyist” say that may be more difficult than expected. While the third of Americans who gamble regularly seem to support the AGA position, the two-thirds who don’t gamble on s regular basis seem mildly threatened by the repeal of PASPA, content with the current situation without wondering if the game they are watching is on the level.
While the Millennial Generation seems less interested in gambling that their parents and grand-parents, they also are less interested in government regulating the “purity” of anything. On the other hand sports seems to be the last place that previous generations are concerned about purity, and so there will be resistance to repeal of PASPA. We know that gamblers come back year after year until they wear resistance down and get what they want. So those of us who oppose sports gambling want to see DFS shut down as illegal , and must gird up for a long battle to save PASPA.