New Jersey sued over sports betting

August 9, 2012 10:41 am

The NCAA and four professional sports leagues sued New Jersey in federal court to stop the state from allowing betting on games at its casinos and race tracks.

The suit contends that New Jersey’s effort to allow sports betting violates federal law. Sports betting is legal only in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. The suit added: “Gambling on amateur and professional sports threatens the integrity of those sports and is fundamentally at odds with the principle … that the outcomes of collegiate and professional athletic contests must be determined … solely on the basis of honest athletic competition.”

Gov. Chris Christie shrugged off the lawsuit, saying he believes the existing law is unconstitutional. But he added the state has long way to go in the courts. “I don’t believe that the federal government has the right to decide that only certain states can have sports gambling, and it does not acknowledge that there is illegal sports gambling going on in every state in America as we speak,” Christie said.

Even if Christie wins on the legal merits, that doesn’t make state-sponsored sports betting right. The state endorsement of sports betting will only prompt more people to gamble – and lose. More addicts will also be created, leading to more social costs paid by all taxpayers regardless of whether they gamble. (Read about the costs here.) See here how sports betting and addiction is especially a problem among young males, especially on college campuses.

The increase in big money bet on games will also likely lead to more players taking dives and games getting fixed, further undermining the integrity of sports. (See list of famous scandals here.) In the end, everyone loses.

Olympic athletes: place your bets

July 28, 2012 4:09 pm

That didn’t take long.

The opening ceremony to the London Olympics was yesterday and already authorities are investigating an athlete who bet on a competitor and won $4,800. International Olympic Committee rules bar athletes from betting on Olympic events. (Of course, the IOC may top the NCAA when it comes to hypocrisy, corruption and money.)

Back to sports betting. We did a blog post the other day, pointing to concerns about bets during the Olympics and match fixing. As sports betting spreads, look for corruption and sports-betting scandals to become a part of all games.

Gambling gone wild

July 4, 2012 9:48 am

One indication of just how far out of control gambling has become in America is today’s annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.

A London bookmaker has put odds on who will win and is accepting bets. The big favorite is five-time winner Joey Chestnut. There is even an over-under bet as to how many dogs he will eat in 10 minutes. That is set at 62.5. He ate 62 last year and 68 in 2007.

More than 40,000 people are expected to attend the event in Brooklyn, which will also be televised on ESPN. It may not be too long before gamblers are able to bet on such ridiculous events as this in the United States. Several states, including New Jersey, are pushing forward with plans to allow sports betting. If legalized, it will only be a matter of time before Jersey is taking bets on a hot dog eating contest.

Gov. Chrisite’s big sports bet

June 1, 2012 11:19 am

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to allow sports betting in Atlantic City by this fall, despite a federal ban that has limited sports betting to Las Vegas and, in a limited way, Delaware.

Christie essentially challenged the federal government to come after New Jersey. The expansion of sports betting has set off a broader debate about the benefits of legalized sports betting. Sadly, though, this thin report is what passes as media coverage of the debate. The lack of substantive coverage surrounding the expansion of gambling, in many ways enables lawmakers and casino owners to push their agenda.

There a re a number of reasons why legalizing sports betting is a bad idea. Making sports betting more widely available just raises the stakes that games will be rigged. Easier access to sports betting will also lead to more gambling addiction, especially among young makes. Read some previous posts here and here.

But Christie offers the best reason why sports betting is a bad bet. He said half the proceeds from licensing fees will fund programs to help compulsive gamblers. What does that say about a public policy measure when the state has to set aside half of the revenue from licensing fees to treat problem gamblers?

Meanwhile, as New Jersey lawmakers push to expand gambling, state inspectors are busy cracking down on rigged games along the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Ironically, the state has cut back on inspectors at the casinos, while beefing up partols of boardwalk businesses to ensure that balloons are inflated properly and other silly rules. What is wrong with this picture?

Super Bowl preys on gambling addicts

January 26, 2012 9:20 am

For many Americans, gambling on the Super Bowl is as much a part of the day as the nachos, beer and cool commercials. A Super Bowl pool seems like harmless fun. But it is a big problem for many gambling addicts.

Calls to gambling hot lines spike around the time of the Super Bowl, according to this stories here and here. The impact on families can be destructive as this recovering addict in the local ABC News story explains.

“Gambling almost cost me everything that was important to me — my family, my marriage,” said Lee who didn’t want her full name revealed. “It was ugly, and it finally got to the point where I got into some serious trouble through theft from an employer.”

Get ready for more calls to gambling hot lines if New Jersey lawmakers move forward with a proposal to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City. The measure could open the door for sports betting in other states. No doubt many gamble already. But such a move will only make it easier for people to gamble. More is not better as this study on the gambling mentality shows. Plus it is a sucker’s bet.

An endorsement of sports betting by the government sends the message that it is ok to gamble. The marketing that will follow will only lure people to gamble who do not want to deal with a bookie. 

Instead, the government will be your bookie.