Sports betting bill has fault

Sports betting bill has fault

February 06, 2018 3:00 AM


In my previous Supremes assessment I was in the minority regarding the future of national sports betting. I wasn’t against it but laid out simple facts and predictions why, in my opinion, it won’t work. Now the NBA, who were and still are for it and benefited with rave reviews from the hopeful sports betting masses, just put the goner on the whole thing.

Forbes: “The NBA has undoubtedly been the strongest proponent of all major U.S.-based professional sports leagues for the abolition of a law that prohibits states (other than Nevada) from offering sports betting on individual match-ups. Yet, the support for a change in the law comes with one caveat. The NBA wants a piece of the action.

“The league characterizes its commission request as an ‘integrity fee.’ It seeks 1% of the amount wagered on any events concerning NBA games and says that the fee should be coming out of the revenue received from sports betting operators that would be involved in the transaction.”

If the NBA wants 1% the NFL won’t play second fiddle and will expect maybe 3%. MLB will consider themselves a step above the NBA and the NHL will be happy with the scraps. Let’s say the leagues rake maybe 6% of the handle. Follow that up with our politicians salivating over a new money pot to grab and of course TV will want a raise, and on and on it goes.

In a good year the Vegas sportsbooks hold 4%. In their wildest dreams it ain’t gonna work. Hint: they might settle for parlay cards and their 25% win or maybe they think we’ll lay -130 or -140. Off-shores will reap the benefits if the Supremes kill PASPA and leave sports betting to the states. They’ll continue to get all the business outside Nevada from the millions of domestic bettors.

Monday, Dec. 4: The Supreme Court heard arguments for and against repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). If PASPA goes down, it must be decided if single game sports wagering is controlled state by state or on a federal level. Their decision is expected in June.

Bettors nationwide are rooting for a repeal. If they get it, don’t expect a seamless Vegas betting style transition overnight. Many issues must be thought out before the first bet is taken.

The logical approach would be to welcome Las Vegas corporations established in booking sports then stay out of business decisions, sit back and tax it. That makes too much sense. Fighting sentiment with logic is almost impossible. First consider that Las Vegas geography is a big reason for the happy medium between Nevada regulators and privately-owned casinos.

Don’t laugh, think about it. We’re an island contained by a desert. The Nevada Gaming Commission and Gaming Control Board can police, monitor and tax the business in an effective secure way because we’re contained in a small area that’s conducive to oversight. Put multiple sports betting operations in NYC and try to monitor them. What could possibly go wrong?

Say a state government partners with a Vegas sports betting entity. Will the government simply keep out of the way or, knowing politicians, will they want their hands on the switch? Las Vegas casinos are obsessed with pleasing the Feds so they will leave us alone. So far it’s worked. That won’t be the case in the new rookie operations around the country.

Will the out-of-state sportsbooks be diligent in monitoring the action and bettors and filing the mountains of Suspicious Activity Reports and Casino Transaction Reports required by the Feds? Will Las Vegas casinos turn over partial control to another entity and risk losing their licence when and if something goes wrong? 

Goes wrong is the favorite.

Begin with politicians in control of government, state or federal, who consider themselves sports betting geniuses or have “others” touting them. The second guessing begins with the first losing month. We’re not dealing with slots here, booking sports is a gamble, i.e. you can lose. Now we have friction between LV books and their out-of-state clients. A good month will show around a 5% win. It’ll be tempting for rookie politicians to misread the business; the win margin is small and fragile, it can be taxed right out of business.

We haven’t dealt with the professional players and their unions yet or the owners. And the elephant in the room is college players wanting in on it; believe me that’s going to happen.

Let’s end with this cheery thought: What a spot for sophisticated hackers and scammers both inside and out. They WILL find the weak spots.