Regardless of the fact that it is nearing a tipping point in terms of public acceptance, the recent United States Supreme Court Ruling that struck down the federal ban on sports betting is still facing strong opposition from a number of people who are anticipating major losses due to the development. It is still to tell how this will go, but all things considered, the decision will lie on state governments and thus the decision that will be made will have to favor the state in one way or the other.
When New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state’s constitution to legalize sports betting in 2011, the Governor at the time, Chris Christie signed a law permitting the activity. The governor also challenged anyone to “try to stop” the state from pursuing the practice – the federal government and the professional sports leagues did just that.
Things have since changed with the 7-2 Supreme Court decision that now allows states to permit sports betting if they wish to do so. Most, if not all, of the professional sports leagues also changed their stance on the issue of sports betting long before the Supreme Court ruling was delivered earlier this month particularly after considering the inevitability of sports wagering. Instead, they have been devising ways to get a piece of the sports betting pie with a so-called integrity fee that will be paid out by the betting operators.
While you would expect that most opposition to the new development in the gambling industry would be from consumer advocates and parties concerned with problem gambling and other social maladies, it is not entirely the case.
One of the most notable proponents of online gambling – which is certainly the main route that sports betting will take – is Sheldon Adelson, one of the United States’ most successful gambling moguls. Adelson owns and controls a number of the most noteworthy gambling establishments both in and outside of Las Vegas. He also backs the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, the nation’s largest anti-online gambling interest group.
Adelson considers the issue about sports betting to be less about the money and more of a moral issue. Adelson quest to do away with online gaming is an indication of how the political market works in regards to online gambling. As elaborated by Matthew Mitchell, for the Post Bulletin, “small and organized groups typically outmaneuver large and unorganized groups, such as individual consumers. They use that superior organization and better information to push for rules that ostensibly protect consumers but typically protect profits.”
The opposition is something that the stakeholders will have to deal with, but there is a hope since, fortunately, the special interests are sometimes outdone by new legal regimes and thus creating room for reforms.