Everyone Wants to Line Up at the Sports Betting ATM
The news of the poker world this week is clearly the 2018 World Series of Poker, which is finishing its first full week. The biggest news in the gambling world as a whole, though, has been the launch of legal, regulated, “traditional” sports betting in Delaware – the first state to have such sports betting other than Nevada – and the passing of sports betting legislation in New Jersey, where everyone is just waiting for the Governor’s signature to get things going. This was all born from the United States Supreme Court’s overturning of PASPA and what amuses me is that now that states are free to legalize sports betting, everyone wants in on the gravy train, even those who have been throwing shitfits about gambling for years.
Integrity Fees Can Pound Sand
We have already written at length about the “integrity fee” that the NBA, MLB, and PGA want included in any state sports betting legislation, but I will remind you of how much bullshit they are. The leagues claim they need a cut of the money so that they can fund their efforts to monitor any possible funny business that goes on as a result of sports betting (as if it will be worse with regulation and oversight as opposed to before). You know, to “protect the integrity of the game.”
In the meantime, it’s a huge money grab. They wanted one percent of all wagers. Not net wagers after winnings are paid, but wagers in total. That one percent translates to about 20-25 percent of a sports book’s profits from betting, and that’s before other expenses like, oh, salaries. The leagues were willing to cut that to a quarter of a percent, but they have started to be called out on their greed. New Jersey Assemblyman Ralph Caputo told them, “You guys are in it to make money. This is hypocrisy to the fullest extent.”
Pay Us for Stats
Then there is the NFL, the professional sports league which tried to keep up the anti-sports betting façade the longest, even though it knows that it garners a gigantic portion of its fan interest from those who have money on games. It does not want to see integrity fees imposed, but it does want a cut in the form of fees derived from access to statistical data.
NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, laid out four core principles it wants to see in the new, regulated sports betting age in the United States. Two of them were “Sports leagues can protect content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it” and “Fans will have access to official, reliable league data.”
What the league is really saying is that it wants the sports books to pay it for statistics. It’s an end-around, to use football-speak. If the league isn’t going to get paid from the wagers, it wants to get paid for the data the sports books use to take the wagers. I’ll be honest, I don’t really know much of anything about the legal issues surrounding this, but from the bit I have read, it doesn’t look like the NFL has much of a leg to stand on. It might, but it will take some courtroom wrangling to be able to require sports books to pay for stats.
Hell, it might not be the most effective solution, but the sports books could always just get their stats from ESPN.com or any other publicly available source for most of their bets. Live, in-game wagering would be a little trickier.
Lotteries: Look at Us Over Here!
And then there are the state lotteries. Shortly after PASPA was overturned, the North American Association of State & Provincial Lotteries (NASPL) put out a statement saying, essentially, “Hey, we want in!”
“As states begin to consider sports wagering, the lottery industry is ready to help establish the real-world network that would be involved if called upon to do so,” said Charles McIntyre, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Lottery and President of the (NASPL).
More from the statement:
McIntyre noted that U.S. lotteries already have strong relationships with more than 200,000 retail locations across all lottery jurisdictions, many of which are the bars, clubs and pubs that would be natural venues for sports betting products. In addition, some American lotteries already sell their products on the internet, a potential avenue for sports betting if a state allows that option. McIntyre also noted that all lotteries have the technical expertise to offer a wealth of detailed sports information upon which sports bettors rely via their well-developed websites, and most also have mobile apps.
Hey guys, we, uh…see you are going to have some sports betting there and, uh…we could help you if you want. I think we’d be very useful!
Yeah, the lotteries want money, too.
To be fair, many state lotteries will probably be involved in at least regulating sports betting, as oftentimes, gambling falls under the purview of the state lottery commission. This is the case in Delaware, for instance. But you know the lotteries won’t just be in it to help – they want their cut.