Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dollars & Sense - Federal Court Says No to Sports Betting in New Jersey

Is there really anything in America as hypocritical as sports betting?

"Well, you can do it in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, but everywhere, yea, sorry about that," they say.

New Jersey is the latest state to feel the hypocritical wrath of America's stance on sports betting.  On Tuesday, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 against legalized sports betting in the state. Governor Chris Christie has made the legalization of sports betting in the state a priority, citing increased revenue.

According to an article on, casinos in the state of New Jersey brought in $1.77 billion. In 2008, the effective New Jersey casino tax rate was 9.5-percent, thus giving the state a large chunk of change when it comes to taxes.

After losing the judgement, New Jersey can appeal further to either a different U.S. Court of Appeals circuit or to the U.S. Supreme Court. New Jersey is trying to amend the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that bans sports betting in all but four states.

Opponents to legalized sports betting often cite famous examples of game/match fixing and point shaving scandals as a reason to keep the practice illegal.  Perhaps the most famous example of fixing is the 1919 Black Sox Scandal where eight members of the Chicago White Sox purposely threw games so that the Cincinnati Reds would win the MLB World Series and the gamblers would cash in on big bets.  Pete Rose has been famously banned from the MLB and the Hall of Fame for their roles in gambling with the game of baseball.

Match fixing has been a prominent topic in tennis, recently. Star players like Nikolay Davydenko have been caught up in major betting scandals.  According to a recent ESPN Outside the Lines report, Bobby Riggs allegedly threw the "Battle of the Sexes" in 1973 against Billie Jean King.

Those in favor of legalized sports betting often cite the increased economic benefit to the increasingly cash-strapped state governments and that legalizing the action will allow the states to benefit from the illegal black market that exists.  Job creation can also be cited, though on a lower level relative to other gambling outlets like, say, casinos.

Delaware legalized sports betting in 2009 to the heavy opposition of the four major sports leagues and the NCAA. Since then, though, it does not seem that the sports world nor the state of Delaware has been torn apart by any scandals relating to the legalization.  The simple fact is, what can be done in any newly legalized state can already be done in any previously legalized state.  Perhaps the most logical opponent to that fact would be that the sports books can be more easily monitored and policed if they are kept in only select few states.

Either way, no matter which side of the sports betting argument you are on, the hypocritical law continues on. No worries, though, did you see the MGM Mirage has the San Francisco 49ers favored by 10 over the Indianapolis Colts this week?  The Colts just got Trent Richardson from the Browns!  I'll see you in Las Vegas.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

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