Everyone has a Chad in their friend group.
Chad, always one to impress with how he met one of Drake’s security personnel at the club last night, albeit met with a tinge of skepticism from the group.
Always continuing to one-up stories by making his case with ridiculous claims of now having an in for a party with Drake, now met with eye rolls and scoffs.
Always one to impress
At one time, the Keystone State was considered one of the odds-on favorites to first introduce regulated single-game wagering outside of Nevada.
While New Jersey was carrying the load in the US Supreme Court case, Pennsylvania lawmakers in October 2017 passed a gaming expansion bill that included legalizing PA sports betting. On May 14, SCOTUS ruled in New Jersey’s favor, striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to clear the way for regulated wagering.
Now, more than a month later, like a mourner at a wake, PA is on the outside looking in. Although really, Pennsylvania might as well be in the casket. And with the rope in the study, it was the state’s lawmakers that put it there.
It was that group that decided to get all Ottoman Empire on a still-unborn industry by proposing a head-spinning 36 percent tax – 34 percent to the state, 2 percent to local coffers – on gross sports betting revenue. Yes, that is in fact gross. That rate is on top of an up-front $10 million fee just for properties to obtain a sports betting license.
Always making a case
If casino and sportsbook operators were hesitant with just the tax rate – which would stand as the highest rate in any jurisdiction in the world – they’re folding their cards at $10 million before even seeing the flop.
Hollywood Casino spokesman Eric Schippers told Penn Live in May that Pennsylvania “has strangled the goose on this one.”
The state has done more than that, as it has plucked the feathers and started preheating the Traeger – all while trying to call the bluff of potential licensees.
“I think they will all participate and would be shocked if they didn’t,” Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Matzie told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this month. “In sports-crazy Pittsburgh and sports-crazy Philadelphia, you’re going to see it bring a lot more people into the casino, watching the big-screen TVs, and when they get those people in the door to bet they’ll also hopefully drop money at the tables or in the slots.”
Always standing steadfast, driving himself out of the group
The state has not wavered from its proposed regulations, which the PA Gaming Control Board published last month. Pennsylvania, though, is welcoming public comments on said regulations.
And in a twist, it has been one of the very sports leagues that took New Jersey to court over PASPA, one of the same leagues that were laughed and shouted out of the room when meeting with Jersey lawmakers for possible integrity fees, that are speaking out on the state’s rates and fees. (For perspective, neighboring New Jersey will tax in-person revenue at 8.5 percent at casinos and racetracks, online casino revenue at 13 percent and online track revenue at 14.25 percent; Nevada has a 5-percent tax rate.)
In a letter from the NFL: “Finally, we would like to share our concerns that the statutory operator licensing fees of $10 million and the 34 percent tax rate on gaming revenue may render legal market participants unable to effectively compete with those in the illegal market.”
Granted, many of the other leagues and teams chimed in for integrity fees, more universal regulation or for outright prohibition of sports betting. Still, when the NFL – sitting on its throne while the Jeff Rosses of the world roast it – provides some insight into PA’s ridiculousness, that should be cause for concern.
Nothing is set in stone just yet for Pennsylvania sports betting. In fact, it does not appear anything will be until later this year or even into 2019.
Chad is not one to tell your group of friends that he has been wrong. But perhaps an intervention from that group – the leagues, casinos, track operators, and sportsbooks – can set Chad straight.
William W. Bradley was a US senator for nearly 20 years. He’s Princeton-educated. He’s an inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
He was a two-time NBA champion with the New York Knicks, the AP College Player of the Year and the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player while at Princeton in 1965.
Now, however, Bradley has become Grandpa, listing away in his favorite porch rocking chair, a few whiskeys deep, telling his youngins detailed stories about his time in Nam after he was simply asked if he wanted to go to the park today.
In a recent interview with New York City-based magazine The Nation, Bradley loaded up his favorite shotgun and began firing away at sports betting being legalized across the nation. And, boy, are the Knicks glad Bradley wasn’t this erratic in the early 1970s.
Bradley knows enough about sports betting…
The former senator has been around the block a few times and was even the driving force behind the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Also dubbed the Bradley Act, PASPA, you may recall, was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court last month, clearing the path for legalized sports betting on a state-by-state basis.
Naturally, Bradley, known as “Dollar Bill” to former Knicks teammates, was not pleased with the SCOTUS decision.
“I think it was an unfortunate ruling,” Bradley said. “I think it was a ruling that had no basis in what sport really is. I think that it was, once again, the Supreme Court being kind of nit-picking, and having a small-minded reading of the law, without understanding the implication for society as a whole.”
A tad off base? Sure. Still, he appeared poised, calm and eloquent, as a seasoned and relatively well-informed senator should be.
… but Grandpa began rambling.
Each state, Bradley noted, “will have its own (gambling industry). Now you can bet on high-school games. You could bet on AAU games with 14-year olds. You can bet on college games. There’s no prohibition whatsoever. And so various states would have to establish a law, if they wanted to to curb this. If they didn’t you could have betting on anything because the national law says that it’s open.”
OK, grampy. Take a breath. Look, Matlock is on. Here’s a Werther’s Original hard candy.
- Yes, each state will have its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to sports betting. You are correct that the high court essentially waved the national ban to clear the path for individual state legislation.
- But no to the rest. There will not be (legal) betting on high school or AAU games. Nevada set the tone for that. Heck, in the Garden State, betting on college games has its limitations. New Jersey made that provision clear in its recent sports betting law. Sportsbooks, the bill said, cannot accept wagers “on high school sporting events or collegiate athletic events taking place in New Jersey or involving New Jersey teams.”
Oh, no. Gramps finished his Werther’s and he’s grabbed another dram of Jack Daniel’s.
“It … reminds me of the Voting Rights Case, where (SCOTUS) invalidated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, on the grounds of, well, there is no discrimination anymore. And thus was born the movement to suppress votes in this country. The day after the Supreme Court ruled on that issue, because there was no more discrimination, North Carolina and Texas passed laws that were extremely discriminatory. If you take what Koch state legislatures have done between 2012 and 2014, in 41 states, they introduced roughly 120 laws to narrow who could vote and how people could vote. So, this is the same kind of thing, in my view. It’s with no understanding what is going to be the impact on society. The court says, ‘Well, this is really a state issue.'”
Lost? You’re not alone. Dumb it down a bit: Bradley basically just tied sports betting and vote discrimination by saying SCOTUS decided, “This is really a state issue.” Bradley likened placing money down on a sporting event to rigging a democratic system. You know, like how going to grab a slice of pizza from down the street is the same thing as being the leader of a dog-fighting ring? Because, hey, that’s a personal issue.
Sports betting is all about “dollar signs”
When SCOTUS struck down PASPA, the ruling was met mostly with praise and celebration. It was the start of a new era, and excitement began to grow. Bradley was not a party-goer, however. He was more the dorm RA making several phone calls to campus police.
Why does Bradley believe there were few dissenters?
“Because people see dollar signs,” he said. “I mean, the whole casino industry could disguise itself, and states will buy the argument that this will generate so much revenue, that this will allow them to take care of small children and the elderly. But it’s an illusion.”
How Bradley, who is the managing director for a privately held investment bank, can forecast such a bleak future is dumbfounding. He expects scandal. He expects cloak-and-dagger, emphasis on the dagger. But again, go back to the bills, which specifically note where revenue goes.
New Jersey, for example, will tax sports betting revenue and put them in a general fund before redistributing portions of that to local municipalities where sports betting takes place. A sort-of thank you card for supporting the industry. Pennsylvania expects to take a similar approach, funneling taxed revenue into a “local share assessment” that aims to help law enforcement.
Speaking of scandal…
Bradley is stuck in the past. As a result, the glass is not half empty, it’s drained and dried.
He said legalized sports betting turns each athlete into “a roulette chip.” He believes players will be pawns with which shady individuals can make moves to maximize their winnings, like the Boston College men’s basketball team in the late 1970s.
“Obviously, there are people that gamble on sports,” Bradley said. “But there’s a difference between trying to do it in the dark world and suddenly having the whole thing opened up and everybody contemplating this, right? You know, you go to a game and suddenly you’re cheering for your home team and you’re ahead by eight points. Then you miss a shot, and everybody cheers! Because the spread was seven points. I just don’t buy it.”
Lastly, ignorance and contradiction
Bradley is adamant about one thing: Nobody’s betting to begin with, so why should it be legal?
“I don’t buy the argument that people are doing it anyway,” he said, “because people aren’t doing it.”
Tell that to the estimated $50 billion to $60 billion made in illegal sports wagers, according to Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. People are certainly betting. Hence why Delaware basically doubled its population for one day last week when it legalized sports betting.
The tastiest bites from this entire interview were buried within several rants. One comes after Bradley firmly expressed his dislike for legalized sports betting in general … then said, “I think it should be only pros.” It was like he was rambling, had an out-of-body experience listening to himself, leaned into real-body’s ear and convinced himself that placing wagers is actually fine, but then real-body decided not to completely contradict himself and only allow betting on pro sports.
Bradley’s train wreck of an interview concluded with one of the fundamentally absurd statements of the entire sit-down:
“I hope that somebody out there is listening to this, because, I think the only people that are happy here are the casino people.”
Here, Dollar Bill. Let me leave you with a few thoughts from state officials and commonfolk:
“It’s a great thing for a lot of people,” Chase Burrell, a Delaware bettor, told ESPN after the state legalized sports betting.
“You’ve already seen a handful of states that have passed and enacted laws,” said Sara Slane, a senior vice president at the American Gaming Association. “It makes it crystal clear that there’s obviously excitement about the opportunity to launch sports betting.”
“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Monday. “I’m thrilled to sign Assembly Bill 4111 because it means that our casinos in Atlantic City and our racetracks throughout our state can attract new business and new fans, boosting their own long-term financial prospects. This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”
Dennis Drazin has vaulted himself from simple businessman to first-ballot hall-of-fame troll.
This weekend was supposed to be Monmouth Park’s first steps toward redemption. The New Jersey racetrack was eager to debut its luxurious William Hill sportsbook in time for Game 4 of the NBA Finals and ahead of what would become a Triple Crown champion at Belmont Stakes the following day.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, though, wasn’t quite as anxious to roll out legalized sports betting within the state’s borders Instead, Murphy was creeping down the turnpike in the left lane, 30 miles per hour below the speed limit, left blinker on. (Editor’s note: Murphy signed the bill shortly before this piece was published, but the rest of this story still applies).
Monmouth was set to open its sportsbook over this past weekend. But with Murphy hesitating on sports betting legislation, the racetrack had to suspend its sports betting plans. Fortunately for us, Drazin is our Ferris Bueller to Murphy’s Ed Rooney.
First: A primer
The 72-year-old Monmouth Park has been mired in economic woes for some time. Its purses dealt to race winners have come from the track’s own pockets, which have become so bare that the felt has been scratched through. Monmouth was primed to begin offering sports betting six or so years ago, until the sports leagues took Jersey to court, shelving Monmouth’s first attempt at an alternative source of revenue.
Drazin, president and CEO of the racetrack, was a driving force in New Jersey’s fight, which paid off in May as the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to open the door for legalized sports betting. Monmouth had its second chance, and Drazin announced a partnership with British bookmaker William Hill to construct a $2.5 million sportsbook lounge.
This past weekend was rife with big-name betting opportunities: the Golden State Warriors closing out the Cleveland Cavaliers for yet another NBA title, the New York Yankees and New York Mets squaring off in an MLB Subway Series, Justify taking to Belmont to become the 13th Triple Crown winner. But Murphy was not ready to let 1,500 Ferris Bueller disciples run around and jeopardize his ability to govern the student body.
“We’re not going to sit on it, but we just got it,” Murphy said of the betting bill that sailed through the state Assembly and Senate like Usain Bolt running the 100-meter dash against middle-schoolers. “We’re going to have sports betting sooner (rather) than later in New Jersey and I’m really excited about that. I’m not going to change my stripes just because it’s a big weekend. We’ve got to make sure we do what we do right.”
Because Murphy did not sign the legislation, it was still illegal to offer sports betting. Monmouth couldn’t accept wagers until Murphy put pen to paper.
“I’m trying to get open as soon as I can,” Drazin said in response. “But at the end of the day I have a responsibility to Monmouth Park and the state and the local community. If I do something that causes Monmouth Park to get delayed in opening, then that doesn’t help anybody, so I have to respect the process.”
Which makes me wonder how much Drazin cackled after walking away from this interview, because while Murphy barred Drazin’s plans to roll out sports betting, the Monmouth CEO could not be stopped from trotting out Sports Betting.
Debut victory for colt, Drazin, everyone
When sports betting is ultimately legalized in New Jersey, a plaque with Drazin’s likeness should grace the front doors of every sportsbook in New Jersey.
In Monmouth Park’s first race Sunday was a 2-year-old colt owned by Drazin: Sports Betting.
Instead of giving a rudimentary play-by-play of what happened next, let’s bring in Monmouth Park track announcer Frank Mirahmadi to set the scene for the finish of the $36,000 maiden special weight race:
“A sixteenth to go, and it’s Sports Betting (ridden by) Paco Lopez. We salute Dennis Drazin. An amazing job getting Sports Betting home.”
Oh, yeah. Chick. Chicka chicka.
Oliver Luck has escaped from under the thumb of the NCAA to become the commissioner of the rekindled XFL.
“I was convinced all the ingredients were in place to make this work,” Luck told Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports on Thursday.
Once again: Luck, the former athletic director at West Virginia University whose Stanford-educated son Andrew quarterbacks the Indianapolis Colts, bolted from his position as Mark Emmert’s right-hand man at the NCAA to join a league headed by wrestling maven Vince McMahon that had already once challenged the NFL as a competitor and failed after 10 weeks and was known more for player names (e.g. “He Hate Me”) than its ridiculous game that, in lieu of kickoffs, had players race from either side of the field to wrestle for the ball at midfield.
That alone puts Luck’s judgment into question. Now, it appears the new XFL commissioner, fittingly, settling into a wrestling-inspired persona. Give him a microphone, maybe some 1980s ski-movie sunglasses, and, to quote “Macho Man” Randy Savage, who incidentally would have been the XFL’s greatest commissioner: “the cream will rise to the top. OH YEAH!”
Luck contradicts NCAA
Let’s get this out of the way. Dodd did not exactly blast a blinding interrogation lamp into the eyes of Luck. Frankly, Dodd was more like a reluctant dad pitching to his 6-year-old daughter in softball.
Still, Oliver Luck – working XFL name “Luckwagon” – delivered some decent sound bites. The most noteworthy of which surrounded sports betting.
Emmert was perceived as the villain of the NCAA; Luck the face of respectability. But as great Gotham district attorney Harvey Dent has said: “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” With the Greyhound bus approaching, Luck just used the NCAA as asphalt.
“If you’re a student-athlete and you put five bucks down on an NFL game, that could cost you a year of eligibility,” Luck told Dodd. “That’s something I’m sure, at some point, our membership is going to want us to take a look at – particularly if you’re talking about casinos and racetracks. … A full season of eligibility, that’s a lot [as a penalty], right? For placing a $5 or $10 dollar bet? I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. The membership, at some point, is going to want us to look at the severity of that, create some sort of sliding scale or whatever.”
You might remember that the NCAA was among a group of leagues that were adamantly against legalizing sports betting. Heck, the association essentially forced daily fantasy sports companies DraftKings and FanDuel from even offering college events, going so far as to exclude DFS ads to run during the College Football Playoff and NCAA Tournament in 2016. The NCAA – along with the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL – even took New Jersey to court to prevent the state from allowing single-game wagering.
Now Luck, Emmert’s former go-to guy, is shrugging. “Eh, sports betting is not a big deal if the bets are small.” Somehow, in Luckwagon’s mind, betting $5 on an NCAA event is more acceptable than $100. The NCAA spent years attempting to cook up a world-class, gourmet dish, and Luck, the association’s former sous chef, hawked a loogie into it.
Now what, NCAA?
We open, interior NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis. Emmert massaging his temples after seeing his BFF basically say that sports betting might be OK.
Emmert knows how hard his collegiate association has worked to oppose the industry. In 2007, for example, the NCAA essentially held Oregon hostage. The Oregon Lottery featured Sports Action, a parlay game introduced in 1989. The state was one of four grandfathered in under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which should have let freedom ring. Sure, the NBA sued Oregon to get the state to stop offering NBA games. But NFL games were still available.
Sports Action did not offer college basketball games. That, however, did not stop the NCAA from unsheathing their sword and holding it to the throat of Oregon. The NCAA refused to stage NCAA tournament games in the state until Sports Action was discontinued. The platform was halted in 2007, and two years later, Portland began hosting early-round games.
All of that hard work was crumpled up by Luck and tossed into the nearby XFL-throwback Memphis Maniax trash bin.
Oh, Jay Kornegay. You had the chance to slam the door on an absurd proposition. And instead you answered as if you were grocery shopping with your 6-year-old son and he asked for a Costco-sized crate of Fruit by the Foot.
Maybe you were taken by surprise.
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to clear the path for legalized sports betting across the nation. The focus has been on developing regulatory frameworks in states that are moving forward with legislation, such as:
- The taxation of casinos that will offer sports betting
- Paying the laughable “integrity fees” to professional leagues
Certainly betting on high school sports was never a thought for sportsbooks and oddsmakers.
That is, until Kornegay was knee-buckled by a curveball.
Will people soon be able to bet on high school sports?
The answer should have been simple: “LOL, OMG, NO! *cackling emoji*” However, Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations for the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook, took … um … let’s call it a different approach.
“We don’t take bets on any amateur events outside of college events, and that would include high school sports,” Kornegay said.
That’s right. Stand your ground, Kornegay. Tell your son that 1,200 packs of Fruit by the Foot is ridiculous and unwarranted. Strike him down, don’t leave the door open for anything.
Unfortunately, Kornegay was not done, adding: “I don’t see the need.”
COME ON, J-KORN! You basically just asked your 6-year-old to provide an argument for that box of fruit snacks large enough to imprison Hannibal Lecter. Here, let me be your Hooked on Phonics and give you a read on the situation.
Should there be betting offered on prep sports?
There is no need for wagering on high school athletics. Hence why Kornegay didn’t “see” the need.
While other states are rushing to pass legislation to regulate sports betting, Nevada entered Friday as the only state that allows single-game sports betting. And even the Silver State has gaming laws that specifically prohibit sportsbooks from offering wagers on prep sports. Nevada has the industry template that 19 other states that at least have a draft of a bill have used as they shape their own gaming regulations.
Certainly some people have expressed concern over the decision of SCOTUS to allow for states to legalize sports betting. They fear gambling addictions, for example. A recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University showed that some were even worried it would open the door for increased organized crime.
Still, there is some overreaction – and overreaching.
“I am concerned with this court decision and where it may lead,” Bob Gardner, executive director of the National Federation of High School Associations, said in a statement. “Our past contains instances of wagering on high school games illegally. If that now becomes legal, does the pressure on our coaches and student-athletes grow? Maintaining the integrity of all sports is critical to the system at every level. If we think the high schools are immune to this, we are not seeing clearly. We ask that states do not include wagering on high school athletic contests in any sport as part of any legislation going forward.”
Even Bill Bradley, a two-time NBA champion with the New York Knicks (yes, they were once really good) and former New Jersey senator, is fretting. Though he may be a tad biased. After all, the federal ban ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS is also known as the Bradley Act.
“I think the game will be corrupted,” Bradley said. “Do you really want to go to your son’s high school basketball or football game and see people in the crowd who are betting, who are not rooting for your child to win or lose, but are betting on a spread? It’ll be pervasive. It is destructive. But again, it’s the Supreme Court making a decision on very narrow grounds.”
Listen in: TheLines Podcast also hit on the topic of high school sports betting.
Purity of youth sports will prevail
Everyone take a deep breath. Find your zen. This is not happening any time soon – if at all.
Yes, there are offshore books that accept bets on Texas high school football games. But by no means is that is not a foundation from which to build an industry. So take it easy. Talking to you, USA TODAY High School Sports:
“(If) those lines are used by local illegal bookies to take wagers on high school games, why shouldn’t states allow official betting houses accept them and thereby implement some measure of discipline and regulation? There might even be a revenue share to be had for the state governing bodies (and potentially schools themselves via the state organizations).”
Nope. Oh, how quickly states would hang up the phone if this proposal came calling, like Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in a postgame interview.
Of course, there is already some corruption in youth sports, what with sneaker companies steering AAU basketball players toward certain colleges and agencies. But it’s still youth sports. If ever there was an organization that ACTUALLY cares about protecting the integrity of sports, it’s each state’s high school athletic association.
You fear gambling addiction because the public will soon be able to bet on professional and collegiate sports? Allow wagering on high school sports, which will never happen. Because state lawmakers and sportsbooks already know the dystopian outcome.
So, Jay Kornegay, let’s give you a mulligan: Will people soon be able to wager on high school sports?
“LOL, OMG, NO! *cackling emoji*”
Apparently ESPN’s least favorite movie from the 2000s is “Waiting.”
Less than three weeks since the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for legalized sports betting across the country, the Mothership already launched a new show surrounding the industry.
“I’ll Take That Bet”
ESPN’s gambling-related show “I’ll Take That Bet” made its debut Thursday evening.
The Warriors are huge favorites in the Finals, but there's still a case for betting on them at -1000.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 31, 2018
Produced by The Action Network in conjunction with ESPN, the program rolled out on the ESPN+ streaming platform. Shows will be posted several times each week between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET, and they will also be available on demand.
Each 15-minute show will feature a pair of betting experts from The Action Network. Both will pick 10 bets and will be made in a fantasy sports draft style. Hosts include:
- Chad Millman, a former editorial director at ESPN
- Matt Moore, an NBA reporter
- Paul Lo Duca, a former MLB player
- Geoff Schwartz, a retired NFL payer
It was not as though ESPN rushed this show to the stage. Network executives said planning began at least a month before the May 14 SCOTUS ruling.
Expect more of this in the near future
With SCOTUS striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act earlier this month, 19 states are rushing to pass legislation to regulate sports betting.
As that market is becoming the hottest ticket, it should not come as a surprise should more programming such as “I’ll Take That Bet” creep into the TV Guide.
That said, ESPN getting the green light for this show is somewhat astounding. Consider that the network’s owner is Disney, a contributor of more than $4 million to an anti-gambling constitutional amendment that was proposed as a way to embargo sports betting altogether.
Still, sports betting revolves around the second screen. The vast majority of bettors rely on second-hand information. They value expert opinions and use that advice when placing wagers.
That alone creates something of a win-win-win situation: Watch for entertainment, “Hey, I called it” or “Guess they know what they’re talking about,” and a natural scapegoat — the “experts” — when a wager goes awry.