Mark Najarian is the managing editor of Money and Markets.
As of last weekend, sports betting was set to become legal in the state of New Jersey, and casinos and race tracks were gearing up to accept wagers on football, basketball, baseball and other games. Gov. Chris Christie this month signed the bill allowing sports betting, even though the move defied the federal ban on sports betting and was opposed by sports leagues and organizations.
And, as you might have bet, the federal authorities won round one in the battle. A federal judge late Friday granted a request from four major professional sports leagues and the collegiate authorities to temporarily stop New Jersey from allowing legalized sports betting.
While many people have gotten used to sports betting, and many do it, either informally with friends or online, it’s not actually legal except in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. Those states were granted exemptions to the ban because the practice was approved there before a 1991 deadline. A 1992 Act then banned sports betting.
|Will increased betting on sports impede the integrity of the game?|
Along with New Jersey, other states have been setting into motion events that could lead to sports betting. A California State Senate committee has approved legislation to allow sports betting. According to U.S. News and World Report, Iowa is also moving toward approving the practice.
Of course, there are two sides, and probably more, to the question. Proponents say that allowing legalized wagering on sports would help bring it out of the underworld and help eliminate corruption, and would help states raise badly needed funding. Others say, however, that it could impede on the integrity of the sport, a point the National Football League has been adamant in espousing.
It was the NFL, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, along with the NCAA, that requested, and received, the temporary restraining order last week to delay implementation of sports betting in N.J.
Gov. Christie had signed the legislation after years of legal battles and a 2011 vote in that state to legalize sports betting. Monmouth Park, the thoroughbred racetrack, has spent $1 million to set up a sports bar that it plans to eventually be converted into a sports book. It is hoped that sports wagering can put new life into the ailing casino industry there.
|“Proponents say it will help eliminate corruption related to sports wagering.“|
But now the matter remains unsettled. You can place a wager that this will lead to a lot of court action, and not only on the basketball court.
In granting the temporary restraining order, the judge, Michael Shipp, said the leagues had demonstrated they would be “irreparably harmed” if sports betting were allowed. “More legal gambling leads to more total gambling, which in turns leads to an increased incentive to fix plaintiffs’ matches,” he said. The judge added that the temporary restraining order was issued to make sure that the issue could be argued in court. NJ.com reports that no date has been set for a court hearing but that it is expected soon.
Christie’s office said: “This is a temporary order while the core issues surrounding sports wagering in New Jersey are fully considered by the court.”
What’s your view? Since so many people already bet on sports, and newspapers print betting lines for sports events, should we just open it up and make it all legal? Is it worth it to help states improve their financing? Would it endanger the integrity of sports events? Add your comments to the debate by clicking here.
Until next time,