An interesting tale of two court cases involving sports betting

An interesting tale of two court cases involving sports betting

August 22, 2017 3:11 AM


Since the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced it would be hearing New Jersey’s case this fall about sports wagering, many an interested and well funded party has been speculating about which way the court will rule and its eventual impact on the sports wagering industry.

Also this fall, the long running court battle between Joe Asher (Asher) of William Hill and his former partners, Cantor G&W Nevada Holdings LP (Cantor) the owners of CG Technology (formerly known as Cantor Gaming), that started back in August of 2011 will be finally going to trial on Oct. 10, well over six years since their battle started.

Regarding the SCOTUS decision to hear the New Jersey sports wagering case, the first and foremost speculation is SCOTUS will rule against the federal ban on sports wagering. Of course until they rule it is an unknown, but if the court was predisposed to leave the ban intact they would not need to bother to hear the case, which would effectively substantiate and or validate the cumulative lower courts’ past rulings.

Assuming then that the mere fact SCOTUS is hearing the case favors the notion they will rule to overturn the federal ban, what then? Should speculators be buying existing sports wagering businesses and related services, or simply buy stock in national gaming companies or simply start their own sports wagering business in their respective jurisdictions? What to do, what to do.

One of the biggest challenges for speculators and investors is what will each state do if SCOTUS does overturn the federal sports wagering ban. If the federal ban is overturned, it will not mean Nevada style sports wagering would automatically kick in everywhere, but that each state would have to decide what, if any, sports wagering they would allow.

Some states, similar to what they did for fantasy wagering, are likely to embrace sports wagering; some will likely add sports wagering to their lottery offerings, and some would just continue to not permit sports wagering period.

Then there is also the wild card of where each of the leagues will come down and how they will flex their very powerful lobbying power. Would the leagues, such as they did in Delaware, fight for sports wagering to be limited to parlay cards, or would they simply throw in the towel and go to the feds and ask for a sports wagering tax that would be used to the benefit of either or both retired or injured players. Clearly lots of open questions for the future if SCOTUS over turns the ban.

One constant though remains through any combination of future events, and that is sports wagering news and information. Regardless of style of wagering, Nevada style, parlay style, pari-mutuel style or lottery style – information and helpful analysis by the players will continue to be in growing demand. As such the safest bet in the probable coming overturning of the federal sports wagering ban by SCOTUS will be the business of sports wagering news and information. Sports wagering news and information will be agnostic to style of wagering and will be of continuing growing interest to sports fans whether they bet or not.

By contrast, around the same time SCOTUS is weighing in on the federal sports wagering ban, Clark County District Court Judge Mark Denton, starting on Oct. 10, will be presiding over the jury trial related to the efficacy and damages phases of the case between Cantor and Asher.

In essence, Cantor sued Asher over Asher’s alleged various violations of several provisions of his partnership agreement when Asher started his Brandywine race and sportsbook, which was later purchased by William Hill for a nice eight digit number.

According to court documents, Judge Denton has already found generally in favor of Cantor and this next phase of the case seems to be about what the damages to Cantor were and how much, if anything, should Cantor be awarded for Asher’s alleged partnership violations.

In conversations with attorneys and a former NGCB member who have been following the case, they all agreed that while the SCOTUS decision on sports wagering should not have an impact on any potential award, juries and judges are human, and if SCOTUS overturns the federal ban on sports wagering the perceived value of Nevada sportsbooks will rise very quickly in relationship to potential national opportunities and may indirectly cause a boost in the amount of any award to Cantor, again if any.

Though it is coincidental that both cases are to be heard this fall, one is set to be a seminal for the expansion of an industry and one is set to finally conclude a six year long legal battle.