Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sports Gambling Panel Discussion Highlights Different Perspectives

This panel discussion was during last year's Sports Analytics Conference at MIT.  The panel session is about an hour and fifteen minutes, but pretty interesting.  I'm not going to comment on the video as you should view for yourself.

The next conference is scheduled for March 1-2, 2013 in Boston.  The link to the panel discussion is here.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

No Chance for Federal Poker Bill in 2012

The Las Vegas Review Journal recently reported that the attempt by Congress to legalize online poker won't happen this year.  The AGA as well as those that wanted to have centralized control of iGaming in the US have been pushing for Washington to create a one size fits all approach.  That plan was thwarted for a couple of reasons, mostly due to politics.

First, this was an election year.  Not much was going to happen this year anyway.  The normal partisan environment was even more so.  Due to the even more partisan contest, any chance at a bipartisan approach to this issue was squelched.  Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader from Nevada, was very keen for this legislation.  No way were the Republicans going to do any favors for Harry Reid.  I would be surprised if this acrimony doesn't carry over into next year.

Second, with the fiscal cliff issue top of mind, that's what's going to be worked on as the primary topic, not online poker.

For now, online poker will move forward on a state by state basis.  A few more states implement on their own, and the window for any federal-level approach will be permanently lost.  That may likely happen as soon as 2013.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ontario Racing Transition Panel Interview

This is an interview of the gentlemen that put forward the framework with regard to the transition of Ontario racing away from the Slots At Racetrack Program (SARP), to a more self-sustaining model. The conventional wisdom is that racing in Ontario could be reduced by more than half. The Ontario government really hurt racing due to this action. Even if it is true that the Ontario fiscal situation is dire, such a draconian measure guarantees a massive shock. The better approach would have been to introduce a more gradual change, allowing the industry to adapt.

TVO's Steve Paikin interviews the three members of the Ontario Horse Racing Transition Panel: John Snobelen, Elmer Buchanan and John Wilkinson.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

New Jersey Sports Betting Lawsuit Update

In the last couple of weeks there have been a couple of events regarding the lawsuit challenging New Jersey's efforts to initiate sports betting.  Several sports organizations (read leagues) filed suit invoking the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to keep New Jersey out of the sports betting business.  PASPA, passed in 1993, bans sports betting in all but 4 "grandfathered" states - Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana.

The first event was the ruling by the judge to deny the motion by the leagues to push back the court timetable of the case by 30 days.  The New Jersey interests opposed this motion and the judge sided with New Jersey.  The article on that event can be found here.

The second event was the State of New Jersey filing a brief directly challenging the constitutionality of PASPA.  This is the event that I think will eventually spell the doom of PASPA, and allow any state if it wishes to allow sports betting.  The article on this story can be found here.

The key argument from the brief quoted in the article is very strong and I don't think the sports leagues or the US Government can refute:
“PASPA does not seek to curtail sports wagering by directly prohibiting such activity in some or all states,” New Jersey’s lawyers wrote in the brief. “Instead, it mandates that certain states not ‘authorize by law or compact’ sports wagering and thereby requires those same states to maintain and enforce their pre-existing bans on sports wagering. The Tenth Amendment, under established precedent, does not permit the federal government to ‘commandeer’ state legislative and enforcement functions in such a manner.”
Its one thing for the federal government to exercise its authority to regulate interstate commerce.  What it can't do is mandate restrictions on the sovereign authority of a state with regard to its ability to craft state law.

The other argument here is that under the Constitution, the federal government does not have plenary police power like the states have.  In other words, states have full ability to regulate health, welfare, safety and morality of its citizens - the federal government does not.  The federal system is based on a central government of limited enumerated powers.  The regulation of gambling within a state has always been the purview of the states.  That is why some states allow lotteries or horse racing and some don't.

The next big event will the depositions of several sports league commissioners, initially scheduled for mid-December.  The outcome of those depositions will be of great interest to how this case proceeds.

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