TV Salivates Over Potential of Sports Betting to Boost Viewers and Advertising – Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

TV Salivates Over Potential of Sports Betting to Boost Viewers and Advertising
Wall Street Journal
Media companies think they may have hit the jackpot with the Supreme Court’s ruling on sports betting. On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prohibited sports gambling, paving the way for states to make their own decisions about …
The centuries-old history of how sports betting became illegal in the United States in the first placeSB Nation
Ambitious Delaware Might Launch Sports Betting Before New JerseyLegal Sports Report
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Investor’s Business Daily
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Las Vegas Welcomes The Spread Of Sports Gambling – NPR

People place bets at the Sports Book at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Leila Fadel/NPR

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People place bets at the Sports Book at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Leila Fadel/NPR

At MGM Grand Las Vegas, a bookmaker takes bets on sports events at the round counter at the Race & Sports Book near the casino. Hockey is among the games being broadcast on 47 flat screens above while gamblers sit in leather seats to watch and strategize.

For years, Las Vegas has held a fairly exclusive lock on legal sports gambling like this in the U.S. But a Supreme Court decision to strike down an act that effectively banned it in most of the rest of the country now means other states can permit and regulate it, too. And while that means more competition for Las Vegas, casino executives and longtime bookmakers in Nevada are welcoming the decision. They say permitting sports betting is good for everyone in the industry. Besides, they say, people come to Las Vegas for more than that.

On this day, Kevin Olson and Josh Sturm are on a guys’ trip, mostly to play cards and golf. The sports betting is just the icing, they say.

“Honestly, there’s a lot of avenues online that you can use, and people that we know and myself use online sports betting quite often,” Sturm said. “So it’s really, it’s not a lucrative thing that we have to come to Vegas just to be able to do it.”

Sturm is referring to the millions of people already betting online. The American Gaming Association estimates that people bet $150 billion on professional and college sports illegally every year.

But Sturm prefers to gamble and make bets in person.

“You know you always wonder ‘is there some element of cheating?’ I guess,” he said.

And soon enough, Sturm and his friends might be able to make these bets — legally and in person — closer to their homes in Austin, Texas.

“If something opens up in Texas,” Olson says, “I feel like I would be doing a bit more sports betting just year-round. Not just here in Vegas.”

But he’ll still head to Las Vegas for the experience: golf, cards, slots, shows, restaurants. And that is what bookmakers and casino executives are banking on. They hope that Nevada will be a model for newcomers to the regulated sports betting industry.

Yes, we’ve enjoyed a monopoly or a near monopoly on sports betting, but Las Vegas benefits when there there’s interest in our field, in our field of entertainment sports, sports betting, gambling in general,” said Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “It will promote activity, increase fan interest in the team, in the sport, in the league which we believe will in turn increase their interest in going to the sports mecca of sports betting and gambling: Las Vegas.”

Murren says people were also worried about Las Vegas when legal gambling went to other states and to Native American reservations.

“And yet Nevada has grown through that period of time,” he said.

MGM hopes to expand sports betting to its other properties in the United States and its online betting app. And with it becoming a legal and regulated industry, Murren said, it’s just one more step toward erasing the stigma often attached to the industry as predatory.

“The traditional view of the casino industry is starting to evolve, but it will be viewed much differently five years from now and this will be a major reason why,” he said.

Currently, sports betting is a drop in the bucket of money made in Nevada off gaming. In the last fiscal year, Nevada took in $688.6 million in a tax fee on gambling and just over 2 percent of that came from sports betting according to the Nevada Gaming Association.

The association welcomed the ruling and offered its expertise to other states that will be regulating sports betting.

But what does this mean for bookmakers like Jimmy Vaccaro, who has been doing this work for 41 years?

“It’s a big day,” Vaccaro said at the South Point Hotel and Casino just off the Las Vegas Strip. The in-house satellite radio station praised the decision as enlightened.

“Now with it being nationwide, it’s going to have an impact, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “It will be a little less only because if you live in California, you don’t have to run over here to make a bet, you could do it right from there.”

There will be fewer people through the doors. But “there will be plenty of opportunities a lot of other places for people like us to, in a sense, run their book for them, only because of what we have done, only because the way that we do business, only because of what we do and how we handle it,” he says. “We will get opportunities. I think the opportunity will outweigh drastically the little part that we lose people coming to the South Point.”

All day, Vaccaro has been in meetings discussing the decision.

There is a lot to be ironed out to make sports betting lucrative — from state taxes in other places to whether the leagues get a cut of the bets.

Bookmaking has changed since Vaccaro started decades ago — betting has moved online and there is a higher cost to air professional football games. But bookmakers adapt, he says.

“We’re always reinventing ourselves.”

Who needs to beat the traffic? The end of the game just got so much more exciting – USA TODAY


Published 5:35 p.m. ET May 15, 2018 | Updated 5:47 p.m. ET May 15, 2018

A lot more people will have money riding on the final seconds of the game

It will take years before all the ramifications are felt from the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on sports gambling. Yet it’s clear that giving states the OK to legalize betting on sports will greatly alter the way the game is watched. And even if teams stop short of installing betting kiosks in arenas and stadiums, the live, end-of-game experience will look and sound a lot different. Thousands of fans may have action riding on what were once the final, meaningless seconds or innings of a game. Betting on sports isn’t new, but legally betting on sports outside of Nevada is. Gamblers are celebrating. Gambling addiction experts are fearful. States may have a new revenue source, but the gambling dollars might not be a huge jackpot in the long run. Congress may try to regulate sports betting — again — but passage of any legislation is a long shot.

U.S.-North Korea summit plans could implode

Rattled by joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea, North Korea threatened to cancel the June 12 historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. North Korea’s state-run Central News Agency called the exercises “provocative military disturbances.” Pyongyang also canceled high-level talks with South Korea planned for Wednesday. The warning comes amid recent goodwill by North Korea and Kim. In just the past few weeks, Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korea promised to dismantle a nuclear bomb test site, and the isolated nation released three American prisoners. Despite the threat, the State Department said the U.S. is still planning for the meeting between Trump and Kim.

America’s fittest city definitely isn’t Oklahoma City. Too Soon(ers)?

A move to Arlington, Va., won’t put you in the best shape of your life, but the Washington suburb does stand as the fittest of America’s largest cities. Credit all those parks, farmers markets and low-smoking rates, said the American College of Sports Medicine. Perhaps it’s a regional thing. Washington, D.C., ranked third on the list, behind Minneapolis. Arlington’s neighbor, Falls Church, Va., was named the nation’s healthiest community earlier this year. Sorry Sooners, Oklahoma City takes the cake as the least fit of the 100 cities in the new report. Is your city more Fitbit or chicken fried steak? See the full list. Not on there? Green Bay, Wis., America’s drunkest city. 


Arlington, Va. is the fittest city in the country, edging out Minneapolis, Minn. by half a point.

A divided America can’t agree on its moral leaders

“What is happening to my country?” Regardless of political identity, if you spend time on social media or following the news, you’ve likely asked yourself this question. America has grown more diverse, more secular and more polarized, with fewer identifiable voices emerging as moral authorities — including the president. It’s made the nation’s moral compass harder to tune to a true north. That’s part of the reason why activists with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival are kicking off a 40-day operation of civil disobedience to refocus the nation’s moral agenda.


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Sports Betting Ruling Could Have Consequences, Especially For College Athletes – NPR

Proposition bets for Super Bowl LI are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on Jan. 26 in Las Vegas, Nev. — one of four states where sports betting is legal.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Proposition bets for Super Bowl LI are displayed at the Race & Sports SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on Jan. 26 in Las Vegas, Nev. — one of four states where sports betting is legal.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Updated 7:26 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court threw open the door to legalized sports betting on Monday. By a 6-3 vote, the court struck down a 1992 federal law that effectively prevented most states from legalizing sports betting, clearing up a legal gray area and opening a door for state governments to join in what has become a lucrative industry.

“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” the court wrote.

The law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed in 1992, prohibited sports betting, except in four states where it had already been legalized — Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. It gave the other states one year to legalize such betting, if they wanted to do so.

Separately, the Supreme Court also handed down decisions on two other important cases, dealing with personal rights. In Byrd v. US, the court unanimously agreed with the driver of a rental car who said he had his privacy rights violated by police during a traffic stop in Pennsylvania. And in McCoy v. LA, the court ruled, by a 6-3 margin, in favor of a defendant whose lawyer conceded his guilt to the jury disregarding the explicit instructions of his client.

Which states will legalize?

Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said the federal law had unconstitutionally commandeered the states’ lawmaking authority. The legislative powers granted to Congress are sizable, but they are not limited, he observed.

The law at issue here, he said, “unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may do and not do,” thus putting state legislatures “under the direct control of Congress. It is, he said, as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers, armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals.

Congress, he said, can regulate sports gambling directly, but it can’t pass the buck to the states, telling them how to regulate their own citizens.

While the Court’s decision was couched in constitutional terms, the results were a lot more mercenary.

Andrew Brandt, director of Sports Law at Villanova University, said the bottom line is that “gambling is a huge, huge fan engagement tool.” He quoted Nielsen research, which estimates that the average NFL fan who is a non-bettor watches about 15 to 16 games a year. The average NFL fan who is a bettor watches 45 to 50 games a year. “That kind of information is gold!” said Brandt.

The NFL called on Congress to regulate the industry for legal betting.

“The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute,” the league said in a statement. “Congress has long recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events. Given that history we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting.”

Brandt went on to list a number of states that are “on deck” to enact legislation that would legalize sports betting. These states include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, New York and West Virginia. Another dozen states have publicly announced plans to do so at different speeds.

One state that is an “absolute no” for sports betting is Utah, which has an anti-gambling provision written into its state’s Constitution.

College athletes the most vulnerable

With every player in the sports world seeing dollar signs, there is one problem player — the amateur athlete.

Michelle Minton, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted that amateur athletes are the most vulnerable to corruption because they are not paid. And if they are caught throwing a game, “they can lose their entire career,” she warned. “Not only their athletic career, but their collegiate career as well.”

According to John Wolohan, Professor of Sports Law at Syracuse University, the NCAA “throws a wrench in the works.”

Tom Brady or LeBron James are likely not going to throw a game. “We can’t pay them enough,” Wolohan said.

But, Wolohan hypothesized, take a basketball player at a major Division I school like Syracuse, who is on a full scholarship, but has zero money in the bank. Such a player is much more susceptible when someone approaches him and says, “Hey, you’re playing Colgate tonight. You guys are favored by 20 points. Here’s $5,000. Make sure it’s under 20.”

Potential impact of the court’s ruling

The ban on legalizing sports betting is also known as the Bradley Act, after its chief promoter, former basketball great Bill Bradley, who served three terms in the U.S. Senate.

“I regret today’s decision,” Bradley told NPR Monday afternoon. “I think the court ignored the impact of their ruling on sport. I think they’ve turned every baseball player, basketball player, football player into a roulette chip. There’s nothing to prevent betting on high school or even grade-school games with this ruling. The only winner here are casinos, in my opinion.

“And so I think that in one sense it’s a sad day. And I think the ruling is a lot like the effect on our democracy of Citizens United, the repeal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The result of those two things is politicians spend unlimited amounts of money on politics and states can restrict voting and now states can turn players into roulette chips. To me it’s as simple as that.”

Or whether a 17-year-old playing basketball could be potentially bought off will and could hit that free throw or not, Bradley said, “I mean, you know, there’s no limitation here and you know, the chance of a federal law I think is miniscule. The states where there are casinos, they have large sway. They’re going to want to run their game and, as a result, that’s what’s going to happen here because of the court’s ruling.”

Bradley said in an earlier interview before oral arguments at the court that there was virtually no congressional opposition to his bill back in 1992, though Bradley added that Donald Trump, with failing investments in Atlantic City casinos at the time, lobbied against it, believing that sports betting was the answer to his financial problems there.

After the bill passed, New Jersey did not seek to legalize gambling in its one-year window of opportunity.

More recently, it tried to get out of the ban, hoping for increased state revenue, but the state repeatedly lost in the lower court.

The Supreme Court’s court decision reversing that outcome will make it easier to open the door to sports betting.

But the status quo struck down by the Supreme Court looks almost quaint in light of increased pressure to legalize sports betting across the board.

The American Gaming Association estimates that illegal sports betting has grown to $150-billion-a-year market. And cash-starved states are salivating at the thought of raising billions from legalizing and licensing that activity, not to mention taxing the proceeds.

New Jersey, home to at least a half dozen shuttered Atlantic City casinos, is a state where Republicans and Democrats since 2011 have been trying to overturn the federal ban or somehow get around it.

After oral arguments in December, then-Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., said on the Supreme Court steps, “If we’re successful here, we can have bets being taken in New Jersey within two weeks of a decision by the court. We’re like boy scouts; we’re prepared.”

What the law did and didn’t do

The law does not itself ban sports betting. Instead it prevents states from legalizing sports betting.

Lawyers for New Jersey argued that the law forces state governments to enforce a federal initiative, which the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for the sports leagues said that the federal law is not forcing states to do anything, but rather telling them what not to do, which wouldn’t violate the Constitution.

As NPR reported after oral arguments in December, a majority of the justices appeared to have “serious doubts” about the constitutionality of the law.

And on Monday, they put those doubts in writing.

“Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution,” the court said in its decision. “PASPA is not.”

America has seen a cultural shift on the question of sports gambling. NPR’s Uri Berliner reported in 2015 that ESPN has been increasing its coverage of gambling by, for instance, directly referencing the point spread set by oddsmakers.

And while the major U.S. pro- and college-sports leagues have “always sought to distance themselves completely from gambling,” as Berliner put it, NBA Commission Adam Silver came out in favor of legalizing (and regulating) sports betting in 2014.

Then there’s the popularity of daily fantasy sports — an industry that has weathered legal challenges of its own. Fantasy sports leagues amount to “thinly veiled gambling,” as ESPN’s Rob King told Berliner, and have helped push sports betting into the mainstream.

It’s no wonder that news of today’s decision sparked a surge in gaming stocks on Wall Street.

Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings, estimated an increase of $15 to 20 billion in revenue in the industry if a majority of states end up legalizing sports betting. The ruling today opens up a lot more “cool experiences and products we can offer to our customers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the sports betting decision could have implications for a wide range of other state laws — including those legalizing marijuana, Nina noted. Amy Howe, writing for SCOTUSblog, suggests state laws decriminalizing physician-assisted suicide and self-driving cars could also be affected.

Top Ten Quotes From The Road To The Supreme Court Sports … – Legal Sports Report

top ten supreme court sports betting case

After nearly six years of sustained litigation, the US Supreme Court sports betting case could be decided anytime between Monday and the end of June.  

In other words, the end is near. Finally.

Throughout the litigation pitting five sports leagues — the NCAA, NBA, NHL, NFL, and Major League Baseball — against the governor of New Jersey and other state officials over the reach of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), there has been no shortage of attention-grabbing sound bites from both sides.

The five sports leagues have consistently argued that they are injured by sports betting and that PASPA prevents New Jersey from authorizing that wagering. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and current Gov. Phil Murphy have countered with the primary argument that PASPA is unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment’s anti-commandeering doctrine.

From the leagues’ first PASPA lawsuit filed on August 7, 2012, to the Supreme Court’s December 4, 2017, oral argument, there have been dozens of on-the-record court hearings and depositions taken under oath. Transcripts for all the court proceedings, some of which are partially redacted, have been obtained by Legal Sports Report.  

Unlike written briefs that allow for contemplation, unscripted court hearings and depositions sometimes lead to off-the-cuff comments that would never be included in any deliberative writing.

What was said in NJ sports betting case history

Here is a list — in chronological order — of the most memorable quotes from lawyers, judges, and sports league executives in various court proceedings leading up to the dispute landing on the Supreme Court’s steps.

No. 1: ‘The NFL would engage…”

“The NFL is a revenue-generating business. If the NFL believed that sports gambling would allow it to increase its revenue, the NFL would engage in that activity.”

Lawrence Ferazani, NFL senior labor litigation counsel, during a deposition on November 5, 2012, in New York City.

No. 2: ‘How does that benefit us?’

“We think the idea that any sportsbook can be helpful to us, again, is completely incorrect. It’s almost like saying we’ll create a problem and then we’ll tell you about it. And how does that benefit us?”

Thomas Ostertag, MLB senior vice president and general counsel, during a deposition on November 6, 2012 in New York City.

No. 3: ‘Deadliest of all things’

“[G]ambling on a sport, on any sport but on this sport is what you want to talk to me about, is I think the deadliest of all things that can happen.  It’s evil, it creates doubt and destroys your sport.”

Allan “Bud” Selig, MLB commissioner, during a deposition on November 9, 2012, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

No. 4: ‘New Jersey has no idea what it’s doing’

“But the one thing that I’m certain of is that New Jersey has no idea what it’s doing and doesn’t care because all it’s interested in is making a buck or two, and they don’t care that it’s at our potential loss and wholly apart from the fact that a governor, who’s a former U.S. Attorney, has chosen to attack a federal law which causes me pause for completely different reasons since I’ve, at times, sworn to similar oaths about upholding the laws of the United States.”

David Stern, NBA commissioner, during a deposition on November 16, 2012, in New York City.

No. 5: ‘Inconceivable’

“Not to sound flip on this point but it’s inconceivable to me how we could lose this lawsuit…”

Gary Bettman, NHL commissioner, during a deposition on November 19, 2012, in New York City.

No. 6: ‘I don’t know’

“Is it preemption?  Technically, I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Paul Fishman, United States Attorney, US Department of Justice, during Third Circuit oral argument on June 26, 2013.

No. 7: ‘Limited to the plaintiffs’ games’

“[T]he scope of [the injunction] is limited to the application that’s been put before the Court which is limited to the plaintiffs’ games.”

Michael Shipp, United States District Court judge, during a court hearing on October 24, 2014.

No. 8: ‘Orwellian concept’

“This is an Orwellian concept…a statute that was enacted to prohibit the spread, or limit the spread, of sports betting is somehow constitutional only if you allow it to take place everywhere in the state.”

Ted Olson, lead counsel for Gov. Christie and Gov. Murphy, during Third Circuit oral argument on March 17, 2015.

No. 9: ‘I want to channel Dr. Seuss’

“If you’ll permit me one moment of levity, my time is up, I said to my team, I want to channel Dr. Seuss, because he said in Horton Hears a Who! Something that I thought was applicable. ‘You meant what you said and you said what you meant and we followed your guidance 100 percent.’”

Michael Griffinger, lead counsel for the New Jersey legislature, during Third Circuit oral argument on March 17, 2015.

No. 10: ‘Christie III’

“[O]n behalf of my clients I’m really trying to prohibit, you know, prevent there from being a Christie III.”

Paul Clement, lead counsel for the NCAA, NBA, NHL, NFL, and Major League Baseball, during Third Circuit oral argument on March 17, 2015.

William Hill Spending Millions in Anticipation US Sports Betting Action –

The CEO of William Hill is betting that US lawmakers will soon open the door for legalized sports betting, and he has his company in a position to capitalize.

William Hill
Could William Hill betting windows be coming to a casino near you? (Source: the

In a conference call discussing the company’s earnings, Philip Bowcock revealed that William Hill has already spent “mid-to-high single-digit” millions of dollars in anticipation of a favorable ruling in the Supreme Court when it comes to wagering on sports.

The bookmaker is poised for a full on assault on the American market from the minute the judgement is handed down.

Who’s Up First? 

Bowcock made it clear that if the Supreme Court does open the gates for individual states to allow sports betting, then the US will become their top priority. The company has already indicated as much when it sold its Australian assets earlier this year in an effort to free up financial capital.

William Hill is now busy putting a plan of attack in place, focusing on the states it believes will move first on sports betting. Bowcock was forthcoming in his vision of how things will play out on the early days of legalization, according to Legal Sports Report.

“Where we stand at the moment, we know that Delaware will go almost immediately because that is sort of quasi-type sports betting at the moment. They take parlays, which in our parlance are accumulators. So that’s quite an easy move.

Clearly New Jersey will go very soon afterwards and the likes of Mississippi and West Virginia will likely go quite quickly at the moment as well.” – Bowcock

However, it’s not as simple as guessing which states will regulate sports betting first, it’s also a matter of figuring out how they’ll regulate it. Bowcock disclosed that a lot of the money they’re investing is going towards the need for different technology in every state.

“Each state is like a different country, so it’s going to have almost its own technology. Because the regulations will be different in each state, we’ll likely have to have a call center in each state as well for customer services. We’re looking at how that would set up.”

Friends With Benefits

The William Hill brand is already well known in Nevada and Delaware, and those markets have in turn been beneficial to the bookmaker.

Sure, there have a been a few bumps along the way, such as the controversy and confusion surrounding a prop bet involving Baker Mayfield at the NFL Draft. But US bettors are clearly fans of the brand. A quarterly financial report revealed that William Hill’s net revenues in the US surged by 45 percent year over year, while the total number of sports bets being placed on their platform increased by 17 percent.

Most observers expect that the Supreme Court will eventually sanction a betting breakthrough in the US. However, nothing is guaranteed, making William Hill’s gamble a bit of a risky one. However, if they’re right, it’s one that could pay off in a big way.

A ruling on PASPA could happen as quickly as next week, or as late as the end of June.