What Legalized Sports Gambling Means to Our Cappers

SBR Staff

Monday, May 14, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

Monday, May. 14, 2018 2:59 PM UTC

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned PASPA and given states the right to decide whether to offer sports gambling. Here's what that means to some of SBR's cappers.

Mark Lathrop

The recent ruling by SCOTUS that will allow states to open up sports betting is a welcome one. However, with all things that are on the cusp of being ‘regulated’ there are some concerns to come with the good news. My primary concern being that the environment of a lack of regulation offshore, of which SBR plays a role of watchdog, still fostered an era of innovation to greatly benefit of the sports bettor. Never before are there so many wagering options than there are now at offshore sportsbooks. If this simply moves onshore without changes I would be ecstatic, but I don’t really trust bureaucrats not to mess it up. Regulations could also bring positive changes as well. For one, we could finally see public wagering data similar to a stock market exchange. That data point is currently nebulous at the moment but could be very useful.

Another positive outcome could be increased liquidity in the betting markets. Volume can drive down juice as the book can more easily balance out each side with lower risk. I’m sure there will be a multitude of books opened domestically, followed by a period of consolidation to ensure enough liquidity is available to operate safely. It will be interesting to see how this consolidation occurs with each state having individual laws and mandates.

Finally, I see it as a positive that the hypocrisy of state-sponsored gambling holding a monopoly in many states has a route to end. Lotteries and scratch tickets for the purpose of the “general fund” will have some healthy competition for once.

And personally, as a handicapper I am looking forward to holding a higher bankroll in a domestic account – possibly insured like any bank account. The regulatory risk of holding any amount of cash in offshore accounts was inherent being a US citizen, and I think it is clear that risk has just been reduced. It should be much easier to provide better options at home than to try to keep gamblers from playing abroad. The growth of the offshore industry definitely proving that second point already.

Doug Upstone

On Monday, May 14, the Supreme Court ruled and declared that the federal ban on sports wagering is unconstitutional. For the majority of normal U.S. citizens, this makes perfect sense and in some ways, democracy won -- just not in the usual ways.

For people who can buy state-run lottery tickets and head to local Indian-run casinos and poker rooms across the country, not legalizing sports betting never made sense. That changes now.

A conservative total says more than $150 billion has been wagered at offshore sportbooks, and that will change. New Jersey will be the big winner initially and they are expected to be fully operational sometime in June, working the kinks out as they go along.

Connecticut, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi and Pennsylvania are the furthest along of the others states and no doubt will ramp up as quickly as possible. The general thinking is the more open-minded at state is, the quicker they will embrace this. If your state is more conservative such as Arizona (where I live), it will probably take longer.

At first, this will be like Nevada and New Jersey, where a sports bettor will go to a physical location to place bets. Casinos are a natural choice since they have the space to incorporate this. It would seem that off-track betting (OTB) would be the logical next step, but many of these are in small cages or rooms that will have to change to meet demand. The quick-thinking business that meets the state's requirements and shows they can handle and draw the demand could become an immediate winner.

Eventually, there will be apps like they have in Nevada and people will never have to leave there home to place their bets.

As a sports bettor and handicapper, I -- like most everyone -- do not expect my state to have every possible menu item. The enormity of this change is vast and needs to be well thought out. We expect states to hire professional outside companies who have the expertise in this industry and the know-how to put together products that meet the initial demand and the wagering appetite of most sports bettors.

From that point, we want them to match what is available today at most wagering outlets, provide ample options and let us choose. Though we would not like it at first, because Facebook and so many places have profiles on all of us these days, it would be wise to set limits on wagers to start. This would help everyone until a profile is developed on individual bettors and limits. This way we limit the stories of someone in college racking up 10-grand in gambling losses in a football weekend. Yet, for those who regularly are placing max bets and holding their own, they can fill out the proper paperwork for higher limits and be passed through, showing they can handle the losses. Remember, this is state-owned and not a for-profit business model and they should put in the proper safeguards.

Information needs will change and places such as SportsBookReview.com will be even further in demand and eventually offer various levels of content to meet what the marketplace desires.

The betting world just changed. And while the ride will have some bumps in the road, we finally will have what we want: an ease of use for betting sports. And won't that be nice.

Willie Bee

Consider the case of a 7-year-old kid in 1962 who bet a nickel on the Houston Colt .45s finishing ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the National League standings. It was the young man’s first sports wager, and it was a winner. Only the other 7-year-old kid welshed on the bet when Houston finished eighth, six games ahead of Chicago in ninth with the New York Mets a distant 10th. If only the first kid had gone to a reputable sports book, he’d have collected. Mistake No. 1.

Mistake No. 2 was a schoolyard fight – probably more of a shoving match – to make the weaselly little Cubs fan pay off. Two days later, the welsher’s big brother beat the snot out of the first kid and got the money back, plus a nickel’s worth of interest.

Those memories came back to me – the first kid in the story above if you hadn’t already figured that out – upon hearing the US Supreme Court’s ruling Monday that struck down a 1992 federal law that basically gave a monopoly on sports wagering to Nevada. There was a third mistake, that I didn’t get decent MLB futures odds which should’ve paid me more than a nickel back, I’m thinking at least +200.

Monday’s ruling centered around a New Jersey case, but essentially throws it open to all states. In addition to New Jersey where it could ramp up quickly, Indiana also has the ball rolling and could quickly follow, if not take the lead. Just like my naïve young butt in ’62, we all need to take it slow and not get too excited, too quickly since there are a gazillion things that need to happen before we can head down to the local betting parlour.

Just like when states have legalized marijuana in recent years, this is all about tax revenue streams. Estimates make illegal gambling a $175 billion to $200 billion dollar industry in this country, and my bet is those are conservative estimates. As bloodthirsty as state governments are for the cabbage, expect the feds to fight for their slice of the pie.

All levels of government – ALL – also have to go through the individual leagues to get rights to their product, you know, all of the licensing stuff lawyers have dreamed up along the way. r NBA commish Adam Silver has been open about favoring legalized sports gambling, and MLB boss Rob Manfred also said he would entertain the idea. However, not all players groups and leagues are in favor. Getting the NFL product on board might be the most expensive, and negotiations for NCAA rights will be interesting as well.

Just how this affects on-line gambling remains to be seen. In theory, increased competition is generally good for the consumer. In theory. But it doesn’t always work out that way, as I learned in 1962 when I not only had to compete with Scott, but his older brother. For one day, however, I’m celebrating the news.

Rainman M

I am enthused that the outdated federal ban on sports gambling was ruled unconstitutional. In my experience, sports gambling has received an unfair social stigma, which was anchored in its illegality. If I had a tough night and told a buddy who had no idea about sports gambling that I lost a couple hundred dollars, he would suggest that I get help, as if I were some sort of helpless addict. I learned pretty quickly that I had to be careful about who I told that I gamble on sports. Sports gamblers seemed to form a largely secluded community.

While I still think it will be easier for people who are conversant in sports gambling to relate with each other, I look forward for this new ruling to popularize sports gambling in a social sense and make it something that one can talk about more openly. This new ruling gives me an added sense of legitimation for my favorite hobby. While I do recognize that the battle against this social stigma is still a long way away from being won, the repeal of the federal ban on sports gambling constitutes a major step in the right direction.

I am also excited for the added convenience that this new ruling will bring. Sports gambling will be so much easier to participate in when traditional methods of payment like PayPal are allowed for payment of gambling losses or reception of winnings. New, secure websites should open up, which will compete with each other to add more enticing betting options in order to attract more players. For example, I would love more live-betting options on college basketball or college football games in the small conferences that I follow.

In sum, new avenues for my favorite hobby will open up and I will want to register on even more gambling websites in order to take advantage of these options and line-shop. Because of this convenience, I expect gambling to be a lot more popular. But I am somewhat pessimistic as to how the constant potential to live-bet games will influence some people. Watching sports is already very popular. I worry that some people will get so attached to live-betting that they will need the rush of gambling simply in order to appreciate a sports game. We already live in a world in which everybody, especially young folk, is fixed on indulging his pleasures and demands quick and easy satisfaction and loves looking at his cell-phone 24-7, instead of talking to people around him. Will sports gambling exacerbate these anti-social tendencies in younger people?

Kevin Stott

Hearing this morning that the US Supreme Court voted to void the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and uphold New Jersey’s 2014 law permitting Sports Betting in the Garden State’s casinos, setting the stage for other states to offer Sports Betting, seems like progress for the nation as a whole with individual US states probably much better off in the long run making their own decisions on things like Sports Gambling and Marijuana. But reading the lede in the CNBC story declaring that Nevada—which legalized Sports Gambling in 1949—has a “monopoly” on the “practice,” sort of shows the way many choose to look at and portray Sports Betting in the United States where in most states you purchase a tiger, an assault weapon or even your own little village but betting on the Bears or Bruins or Bucks is still a big no-no. And while I understand the intended use of the word “monopoly” in describing Sports Betting here in the state of Nevada—three other states (Delaware, Montana and Oregon) have sports lotteries while the Silver State is still (for now) is the only one to allow single-game wagering—the simple Truth is that the vast majority—yes, vast majority—of Sports Betting done here, there and everywhere in the US is actually done in Offshore sportsbooks and in most cities, it probably still isn’t too hard to find an old-fashioned bookie if you choose.

The SCOTUS ruling itself seems long overdue and seems just and constitutional and all that jazz, but it also feels like a good thing for the hurting Atlantic City casinos, East Coast bettors who might not want to have to take a trip out here to Sin City to make a legal bet and for all of the (horse) racetracks across the country—who would and could really use the boost Sports Betting would bring in what many have (wrongly) long considered a dying industry. A company which tracks state-by-state gambling legislation, Eilers & Krejcik gaming, estimated that legal sports betting could be worth $7.1 to $15.8 billion if all 50 US states got onboard. For now, 32 other US states are said to likely to offer Sports Gambling in the future, meaning that 18 won’t, creating a demand in the states where it isn’t legal. So Sports Bettors in states like Utah and elsewhere will still be needing Las Vegas and still needing the Offshores.

Despite the initial media frenzy, don’t expect any rash or quick changes in most states as this will take Time and the thought here is that shops in other states will need expertise and advice from those here in Nevada who have been doing this for decades. People are creatures of habit, and with Sports Betting setting records here, in Offshore sportsbooks and worldwide, it’s hard to believe any current players will get hurt by this SCOTUS vote. The NYSE came before the NASDAQ and both are doing just fine, thank you. Coca-Cola (1886) came before Pepsi-Cola (1893) and both are thriving in 2018. Markets and products evolve and the simplest ones with heavy demand on their side will always continue to thrive. People like to have good coffee, Smartphones and bet on Sports. This is not brain surgery, Bubba.

Expect some states to do much better with this than others and there will be a slow learning curve and those states like Indiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Mississippi who got out ahead of the curve and treated this a little more progressively may far better than the slow-starters or the morally judgmental. Stocks are bets and business is business. And may states could really use a smart revenue stream. And expect probably more of a storefront/betting shop approach like England and not casinos built around the concept of Sports Betting suddenly being legal in the US. The sportsbooks’ percentage of an entire casino’s handle is incredibly small and expecting the legalization of Sports Betting to be some kind of panacea for the industry as a whole or an individual state itself is just wrong.

The simple truth is that the majority of Americans still don’t (or don't even want to) understand Sports Gambling and that this ruling may ultimately bring some more players to the big Sports Betting table. But those who already know about Sports Betting and this business know that the margins are extremely tight, winning consistently is extremely hard and that the competition is very tough. The states that end up doing it best will likely be the ones who take advice from others, keep it simple and employ creativity, but expect extremely choppy results state-by-state when looking back at this ruling in 20 years. Sports bettors will still be flocking to The Mecca of Sports Betting here in Las Vegas. And professional sports gamblers and the masses will still be betting heavily Offshore. So in some twisted sense, not much has really changed at all. And the states who want to do it right and do it fairly would be wise to heed advice from a state which has been doing it right and fairly for some 69 years now.

Jordan Sharp

I've been working in the fantasy and sports handicapping industry for nearly 7 years. I'm glad the Supreme Court has realized that the state of Nevada should not have a monopoly on sports gambling. It's high time to bring this acceptable form of entertainment out of the shadows. For me, maybe people will finally think I have a “real” job!

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