Tag Archives: betting

Legalized Sports Betting: A Threat To Profits Or The Integrity Of The Game?

October 5, 2015

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By Alexander Paterson – Thompson Rivers University 2L JD Student

On August 25th, 2015, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal upheld the lower court verdict in NCAA v Christie, voiding New Jersey state legislation on sports betting. In the 2-1 decision by the Appeals Court, it was determined that allowing casinos and racetracks to take bets on sport events violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The decision was the latest event in a three-year legal battle between the state of New Jersey and national sports organizations including the National Basketball League (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

All of the national sports organizations opposed the legalization of sports betting on the grounds that “the sponsorship, operation, advertising, promotion, licensure and authorization of sports gambling … would irreparably harm amateur and professional sports by fostering suspicion that individual plays and final scores of games may have been influenced by factors other than honest athletic competition.” While those fears may have merit, New Jersey legislators pointed out the hypocrisy of the national sports organizations in opposing the legalization of sports betting while they simultaneously advertised and profited from fantasy sports.

Fantasy sports have often been referred to as sports betting, although they were specifically exempted from the PASPA in 2006 through the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). However, the recent rise of daily fantasy sports (DFS) competitions has led to questions of whether DFS fall within the exemption granted by the UIGEA. While traditional fantasy sports competitions involved season or playoff long undertakings, DFS competitions are focused on single day or weekend competitions. Furthermore, fantasy sport companies are now acting as facilitators by accepting entry money for fantasy competitions, then distributing it to the winners. The acceptance of money and its subsequent distribution is a large departure from traditional fantasy sport companies who merely facilitated the choosing of fantasy sports teams and players. The intake and distribution of money strongly resembles the actions of a casino, which is likely one of the reasons that both the Massachusetts Attorney General and Nevada Gaming Control Board have taken preliminary steps to assess the legal standing of DFS.

The first weekend of the NFL season featured a reported $31 million in expenditures on 9000 advertising slots by FanDuel and Draftkings, two fantasy sports companies who have each surpassed $1 billion in estimated value. Perhaps it is not surprising then that FanDuel and Draftkings investors currently include the NHL, MLB, NBA, and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). As mentioned, those leagues were all party to the lawsuit against the legalization of sports gambling, yet they are all currently involved, either directly through ownership stakes or indirectly through advertisement payments, with a practice that bears a strong resemblance to the sports betting they opposed.

In November 2014, Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA, wrote an op-ed article in which he endorsed the legalization of sports betting in the United States through federal, as opposed to state, legislation. In 2007, the NFL played its first regular season game (of many) in London, England, where sports betting is a legal, commonly accepted form of entertainment. Similarly, the NHL is also strongly considering the possibility of granting an expansion team to Las Vegas, Nevada, where sports betting is currently legal as well. If national sports leagues are so concerned with the impact of legalized sports betting on the integrity of the game, actively looking to expand to locations where sports betting is already legal appears nonsensical.

Looking at the surrounding factors and events, the opposition of national sport organizations to the legalization of sports betting appears to be one based not on the integrity of the game, but on the ability to profit from the current system. Fantasy sports are surging in popularity, and the exposure provided by fantasy sports competitions, along with the money to be made through ownership stakes and advertising revenue, seem to be the primary drivers of their stance on sports betting. State regulation of sports betting in casinos and racetracks does not offer the same opportunity for investment and profits, so it appears to be in the national sports leagues’ best interests to oppose its legalization for the time being, and until federal regulation materializes, ride the wave of profits produced by fantasy sports.

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Canada’s Las Vegas-styled Sports Gambling Bill Stalled

November 7, 2014

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By Mitchell Smith – Thompson Rivers University 3L JD

A law that would embrace Vegas-style sports gambling in Canada is still stalled in the Senate. Bill C-290 was proposed in 2012 by New Democrat MP, Joe Comartin and was passed quickly through the House of Commons without any opposition. Since then however, the Senate has avoided putting it to a vote, citing the lack of debate and upset senators displeased with the bill’s premise.

The following will examine this new law’s potential affect on the sports industry and society. It will not discuss the political aspects at issue with an unelected body attempting to block a law that has been supported by all parties.

Bill C-290’s purpose would be to give each province in Canada the power to allow single-game betting. While betting on a single sporting event or athletic contest is currently outlawed by sections 206 and 207 of the Criminal Code of Canada, provinces are allowed to offer parlay-style wagers on multiple games. A “parlay” is a bet that links two or more wagers together and is dependent on all of those wagers winning. The result is that the payoffs are usually higher than single-game betting but the odds of winning are also likely slimmer.

Why is single-game betting an issue?

Some of the major stakeholders that this bill affects are the professional sports leagues in Canada– including the National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) – and society as a whole. Both of the professional sports leagues oppose Bill C-290, citing concerns over how it may affect the integrity of the sport.

The NHL is quoted as saying, “Such wagering poses perhaps the greatest threat to the integrity of our games, since it is far easier to engage in ‘match fixing’ in order to win single-game bets than it is in cases of parlay betting [as currently exists in Canada], where bets are determined on the basis of multiple game outcomes.”

Additionally, the CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, Paul Beeston, stated that, “When gambling is permitted on team sports, winning the bet may become more important than winning the game; the point spread or the number of runs scored may overshadow the game’s outcome and the intricacies of play.” Beeston goes on to explain that he wants the fans to support and cheer for the home team and athletes, instead of the fans cheering for their bets to win.

In contrast to these opinions, Senator Frank Mahovlich, a former Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player argues that match fixing is not a concern because hockey players are insulated from being bought off by gamblers because of the large amount of money being earned.

The proponents of the bill believe that society stands to gain from job creation, increased government revenues, and tourism. They point to the fact only a handful of U.S. states allow single-game bets and therefore will attract more American visitors to our casinos. It is also stated that Canadians are already wagering their money on single-game bets through online casinos or through organized crime. All of society stands to benefit if the monies generated by gambling stay ‘in-house’ in provincial treasuries.

The question that politicians are trying to resolve is simple: are the detrimental affects of opening up sports gambling outweighed by society’s benefit?

In my opinion, Maholovich’s argument misses the point and is perhaps a little naïve. There are players in all sports who, regardless of the amount of money they are being paid, could still be manipulated and thus affect the integrity of the sport. As a sports fan, I agree more with Paul Beeston. I want to cheer for my favorite team because of the emotional attachment and for the spirit of the sport –not because of the reward I get from them winning or losing. Ultimately however, those who want to wager on single-game bets will easily find a way to do so online. Knowing this, it only makes sense to allow the bill to pass and let the provinces decide the best way to implement. The revenues generated are better served supporting Canadian society rather than in the hands of online casinos or organized crime.

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Please don’t gamble in the comments section of the blog…….

July 23, 2009

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Source: Sunday Business Post write-up: http://www.sbpost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=Business+Of+Law-qqqm=nav-qqqid=41591-qqqx=1.asp; Full case report: http://www.bailii.org/ie/cases/IEHC/2009/H133.html

Mulvaney & Others v. Sporting Exchange Ltd (Trading as Betfair) & others [2009] IEHC 133

The two linked cases both concern bookmakers (Seamus Mulvaney and Ellen Martin) who are claiming damages for libellous comments posted by third parties on a forum hosted by Betfair Ltd. Although a number of issues arise in each of the cases, the main focus in this preliminary judgment was on the applicability of European Directive 2000/31/EC (the E-Commerce Directive) which had been transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Directive 2000/1/EC) Regulations, 2003 (SI 69 of 2003) ahead of a full defamation trial.

This issue is important because while the E-Commerce Directive was designed to remove obstacles to cross-border online services, Article 14 of the Directive can also exempt internet intermediaries from liability for things they host, but did not create. The problem for Betfair is that Article 1(5)(d) of the Directive does not apply to gambling activities. If the court therefore held that the chatroom constituted gambling or betting, then Betfair could not rely on the Directive as a defence.

Ultimately, at [4.15] the court decided that because ‘no significant nexus’ operated between the chatroom forum and the betting sections of the website, no gambling did take place in that area and the Directive did apply.

Given that Betfair could rely on the Directive, the next questions to be answered were whether Betfair was an “intermediary service provider” and if so whether provision of a chatroom comes within the Directive? At [5.14], the Court agreed that it did and held that the use of a chatroom forum by third parties did amount to hosting an ‘information society service’ for the purposes of the Directive. Betfair can therefore rely on the E-Commerce Directive as a defence at the full defamation trial, although whether it will succeed or not will depend on the action that Betfair ultimately took when it became aware of the comments.

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Gambling addictions start at Kindergarten

March 17, 2009

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Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUKTRE5220Z920090303?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&sp=true

 

If Canadian researchers from the Universite de Montreal are to be believed, children rated as impulsive by their kindergarten teacher appear more likely to begin gambling behaviours like playing cards or placing bets before they hit middle school.

Researchers asked Kindergarten teachers for 163 students to complete a questionnaire on their pupils at the beginning of the school year in order to rank the children’s inattentiveness, distractibility and hyperactivity. Six years later, the researchers asked the (now 11yr old) children in telephone interviews how often they participated in gambling-related behaviours such as playing cards or bingo, buying lottery tickets, playing video games or video poker for money or placing bets at sporting events or with friends.

After controlling for factors like family composition, parents’ education and household income, the researchers found an increase of one unit on the impulsivity scale in kindergarten corresponded to a 25 percent increase in gambling involvement by the sixth grade.

The full research study appears in the Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/163/3/238

Sorry I’d better go, one of my gymnasts wants me to place a bet for them…….

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