The Politics Of Legalized Sports Gambling: Next Stop May Be The Senate

We want that money!



The battle for control over sports gambling in terms of who is in charge may end up playing out in the halls of the capitol building in Washington, D.C. The Senate may want to write federal rules and sports leagues lobbyists may be pushing Senators, as the lobbyists always do, to include a provision that sports leagues get a slice of the betting action. The sports leagues, which fought New Jersey in the battle to legalize sports gambling in the state even though New Jersey residents said yes in a November 2011 vote to allowing sports gambling, now want an integrity fee. All of the states that have sports gambling and sports books and that includes Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Rhode Island, have said no to the leagues. If Washington, D. C. goes ahead with its plan to allow sports books in the District, it will not share money with the leagues. The states have an ally in former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who is telling them to just to say no to the sports leagues’ demands.

While Christie was the New Jersey governor, the NFL led the court fight against legalized sports betting. Last spring, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in New Jersey’s favor and opened the sports betting floodgates. Christie is now telling states, “We’re going to reward the people who fought us for seven years with fees that are going to diminish your margins. They don’t need it, and given their conduct over the last seven years, they don’t deserve it. We do not need a federal solution to this problem. States have been regulating gambling for decades without incident.” A number of state legislatures are reviewing sports betting proposals and should understand that when gambling money suits a league, it is a good thing.