We could see sports betting legalized at the federal level

February 14, 2017 3:00 AM


State of New York Loses $33 million on Jets Victory Over Dolphins

That’s a headline we could see some day if sports betting becomes legalized at the federal level.

The federal government could be the bookmaker, which is 99% against that happening, so they will farm it out state by state. Some states will get in on it and some won’t.

The key word here is “government” and they’re a tough load to carry. If government (state or federal) is involved in anything other than taxing the business it’s a huge dog to succeed before a single bet is taken. But if the various governments stay out of the way and let Nevada corporations run it for them, with the same tax structure as Nevada imposes on their race and sportsbooks, it will work.

A Nevada sportsbook pays 6.25% of gross revenue to the state and .25% of winnings to the federal government. Those figures are doable and allow for successful sportsbook operations. That’s Nevada, and we’re blessed with regulators who have reached these levels after years of hands-on experience.

I can’t imagine tax and spend politicians in other jurisdictions keeping their insatiable hands out of the cookie jar. They’re liable to see the big handle and never consider the win might be just 3.5% or 4% on a good year. They can’t help themselves.

Where are they going to get the personnel to handle this potentially monster handle? And where do they get hundreds of employees who will give them first count of this pile of cash? There are thousands of us out there who know our way around the sports betting business from both sides, betting and booking. Good luck weeding them out.

Now suppose we have honest people in all the proper positions. Who is going to be the government oddsmaker/handicapper? Every politician who has ever played or gone to a football or basketball game is going to be an expert ready to second guess and Monday morning quarterback your decisions and moves. It’ll be unbearable for sportsbook management.

 Now to the games themselves. You are probably not going to lay 11 to 10. My educated guess is the lines and odds will be so steep you won’t be able to bet them.

Say the Steelers are -6.5 in Las Vegas. In Nebraska’s state run book the line may be lay -7.5 take +5.5. Of course the nice State of Nebraska takes all middles. You might even be asked to lay -120. Forget Las Vegas payouts on parlays, teasers or futures. Not happening.

Other than those minor distractions on us the street bookmakers will be happy with the business sent their way.

Take care. Scotty.