Point Spread

15 05 2018

Washington, D.C.

You may have heard that SCOTUS “legalized sports gambling” yesterday.

Technically, no dice.

What they actually did was find unconstitutional the Federal law which prohibited sports gambling in the states and D.C. and Federal territories other than Nevada.  I have not yet read the decision, because I’m still feeling under the weather, but my bet is that the majority opinion reasoning revolved around the inconsistency (relating either to due process or equal protection) of nowhere-but-Nevada.

In theory, this now puts the ball back in Congress’s court.  The only kind of legislation they could pass now is a total national prohibition.  But this current Senate is not about to do that when an incumbent Senate Republican from Nevada is up for re-election this year.  Then there’s the matter of the President who either has to sign or veto it — Remember, he owns casinos.

So what this means in practicality is that, with no Federal legislation probable, this will leave sports gambling on a per-state basis.  New Jersey, which brought the case against the Feds, is pretty much ready to go now, in order to breathe new life into the moribund Atlantic City gaming industry.  (Again, someone we know owns a casino there.)  As for the other states, this is going to create something of a lobbying gravy train.

Three years ago, a name that was in the news just last week, that being (now former) NYS AG Eric Schneiderman, spooked the hell out of the daily fantasy internet business (basically, DraftKings and FanDuel) with the announcement that basically went like this:  “Dude, it’s gambling.”  This got the daily fantasy industry to work spending lots of money on lots of lobbyists on a per-state level to make sure daily fantasy stays legalized.  Some of that gravy landed on my head, which means the precise content of Missouri’s “regulatory framework” of daily fantasy internet games is in part my handiwork.

Mainstream casinos in terms of revenue and profitability punch, and in turn, what they can spend on political lobbying, are two orders of magnitude more than the daily fantasy business.  Believe me, they’re going to spend.  It will be in effect the full employment bill for state-level lobbyists for around five years.

Just my educated guess based on what I know about how Missouri’s current legislative class thinks and their proclivities, but the way it will probably shake out in Missouri is that the “riverboat” casinos will be allowed to have sports books, but only for in-person wagering, no online.




5 responses

15 05 2018
15 05 2018

It was on anticommandering grounds, through they did hint it might be an all or nothing rule if Congress decided to make it’s own rules. No way does a bill like that get through before Jan 2019, and I can’t see a Dem House bill getting 60.

The States on the other hand, really want that money.

16 05 2018

I just read Alito’s writing for the majority opinion. Anticommandeering was the only possible way to find it unconstitutional, because the 1992 legislation itself didn’t explicitly name geographical carve outs, i.e. Nevada, and three other places with very limited circumstance, but it grandfathered in places that, at the time of the legislation, had legalized sports betting, but only to the parameters they allowed it. So, equal protection or due process wouldn’t work because the legal grounds for the carve outs, the grandfather clause, doesn’t violate equal protection or due process.

15 05 2018

The potential tax revenues are too great to pass up.
Government however will run it into the ground

15 05 2018
Strike While the Iron Is Hot | Countenance Blog

[…] My mind is mashing up this story and the news from yesterday about sports gambling. […]

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