SBD/October 3, 2012/Sports in Society

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  • Pro Leagues, NCAA File Court Docs Claiming Hypocrisy In NJ Sports Betting Law

    The NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL as well as the NCAA in court papers filed Monday said that the "contrary positions" of the new state law in New Jersey that allows betting on college and pro sports, but not on the state’s own college teams, “undermine the arguments the state is making in seeking to dismiss a lawsuit that would invalidate the law,” according to MaryAnn Spoto of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. The legal briefs filed in U.S. District Court in Trenton state, "Notwithstanding (New Jersey’s) insistence that the state’s gambling scheme will have no adverse effect … the state has exempted the sporting events of its own colleges and university teams as well as all collegiate sporting events held within New Jersey, from the very gambling that the defendants now insist will cause no injury." New Jersey state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, a sponsor of the law, yesterday said that the state was “not being hypocritical in prohibiting betting on New Jersey college teams or other college teams playing in New Jersey, but that the prohibition carves out a distinction between professional and amateur sports.” Spoto noted sports betting is legal "only in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana." But New Jersey lawmakers and Gov. Chris Christie have said that the state “should also be cashing in on a portion of the billions of dollars that are gambled illegally on sports games annually across the country” (NJ.com, 10/2).

    TAKING A STAND: A Bergen RECORD editorial states, “We have opposed sports betting in New Jersey since the ongoing push began earlier this year. We're concerned that widespread sports betting in a sports-crazy state like New Jersey is bound to threaten the integrity of the games. So, we agree with the implied point of the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball that the state's logic is faulty in trying to shield college games played in New Jersey from gambling while contending that betting on all other contests won't undermine the integrity of the game. Call them hypocrites if you wish.” The editorial: “But at the same time, we can't overlook the hypocrisy of the sports leagues in officially ignoring how widespread illegal gambling is on all sporting events, especially football.” The NFL and the other leagues “would make a more persuasive argument if they acknowledged how illegal gambling affects the perception of games” (Bergen RECORD, 10/3).

    KEEPING A WATCHFUL EYE: In Las Vegas, Chris Sieroty notes sports betting industry execs believe that a “positive outcome of New Jersey's court battle to legalize wagering on sports in the Garden State could set the stage for other states to legalize the industry.” Marketing software company Income Access CEO Nicky Senyard said that there is “already a ‘very big illegal market,’ which could be significantly reduced with the legalization of sports wagering.” She said that legalized sports betting in New Jersey “would lead to other states legalizing the industry.” Senyard said that it “wasn't about ‘creating a new market,’ instead it was legalizing an illegal market that already exists” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/3).

    FANNING THE FLAMES
    : In DC, Noble & Somers report the Redskins yesterday “endorsed the ballot question on gambling expansion in Maryland, tossing the team’s helmet into an already crowded ring surrounding the hot-button issue.” Redskins President of Business Operations Dennis Greene called the expansion a “tremendous opportunity” for Prince George’s County. Noble & Somers note "a new casino would be built" in the county if the issue wins at polls in November. Vote for 7 spokesperson Kristen Hawn called the football team “a significant addition” to the list of Question 7 backers (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/3).

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