US Sports Betting Prospects
the views of Mickey Charles CEO at Sportsnetwork.com
It matters not whether you look behind door one, two or three. You will not find a pathway to Internet betting on sports waiting for you in the U.S. Stop looking for bandwidth opportunities at the lowest possible cost or office space in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia or Las Vegas. The recent Congressional victory by the Republicans in the U.S. is not a clarion call for offshore sports books to gather at Heathrow or Gatwick in London for a field trip to the Colonies. If anything, it might be closer to a death knell for the next two years.
That which is in place presently remains. Other efforts, as was the case in Delaware, will be diluted to such idle meanderings as parlay cards for the uninitiated, unwashed and casual sports fans, punters, players, dreamers of new condominium purchases in Boca Raton, Florida or Scottsdale, Arizona. Poof! That was the sound of many balloons bursting at the same time.
Yes, New Jersey is seeking to do more, but it is not totally focused on sports wagering as we know it. Republicans will rise like the Loch Ness Monster and the professional sports leagues like the NFL and MLB will proclaim and trumpet the end of society as we know it if the populace is permitted to wager on a sporting event via the technology that has engulfed the planet.
Never do they consider that the business of wagering is already part and parcel of the public’ daily lives and they, the leagues, cast a blind eye towards broadcasters and all forms of media that publish the odds, not to mention the commentators that profess to be pundits that can foretell the eventual victor every Sunday during the NFL season. Talk about hypocrisy!
In my opinion, and it is, for the purposes of this feature, singularly mine…anyone that believes the recent election will change things for the better would be best served by placing a recently lost tooth under his or her pillow, after which, in a few weeks, they can set out some cookies and hot chocolate near the fireplace for Santa Claus.
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada will not force legislation through this Congress for Internet betting other than as it exists today. And, if he could, it would be for his constituency casinos in Nevada…not BetCRIS, WSEX, Bodog, Pinnacle, Victor Chandler, Ladbrokes, William Hill or anyone else out there. I am not, clearly, addressing Internet poker here. I am speaking of sports wagering which, if opened up legally for North America on the Internet, would eclipse the potential of poker many times over.
The other issue not to be ignored is whether Reid is really interested in Internet gaming of any sort right now with a national election coming up in two short years. My, how the time flies when you’re having fun and are up for re-election. Can they sneak it in during the lame duck period? Can they do what the Republicans did in the dark of night at the eleventh hour secreting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 into a totally unrelated section of the Safe Port Act? Not likely.
There is poker and there is sports and the twain do not meet that often…certainly not technologically. Oh yes, the major players that are out there cater to both and there is surely public interplay and overlap by those who play poker and venture a few dollars, or more, on the outcome of an NFL game.
Prohibition in the U.S., fostered by zealots with little common sense, and the religious right with their blinders firmly attached, was doomed for failure and all it did was create an incredibly stupid situation for what appears to be 13 years, 1920-1933, but was actually 14. The Volstead Act (prohibition act) completely banned all alcohol that had more than 1/2% alcohol content. This effectively banned all forms of alcoholic beverages, with the exception of course being non-alcoholic beers. For most of the prohibition supporters who only wanted a little wine or the odd beer it felt as though they had been betrayed as they were left with nothing when the act was passed.
Think…relate that to sports. Fantasy is not an adequate carve-out. Gambling on sports, like the consumption of alcoholic beverages during Prohibition, is here to stay. It is just a matter of embracing and regulating it intelligently. It, gambling, will not sully sports or its alleged integrity. The games will remain honest, all of them. To think otherwise is to wait outside for the Easter Bunny. People who lose do not leap out of windows at the MGM. They come back to play and try to recoup another day….like business people do after a bad day of their own.
Sports wagering on the Internet will be legalized. Not now. It will be carefully approved and that will not include the Caribbean. Licenses will be as tough to obtain as regained youth. The recent election was not good for gambling but a Democratic reversal in 2012 will bode well for gambling by 2016. As has been said many times in the U.S., “vote early, well and often” next time around. Meanwhile, the status quo remains firmly in place.