Gambling Syndicates and Professional Sports, You Bet!

 

The other day, a young man was talking to a friend on his smartphone, explaining his system of parlay betting online. I flashed back 20 years to young men playing the market with day-trading software. Back then, wide ownership of personal computers, at work or home, was less than two decades old, and the World Wide Web with graphic interface web browsers was about a decade old. Then and now, people were gambling, hopefully playing with disposable income rather than running up debt or betting the rent. The sporting young man was talking about legal sports betting via smartphone app, and therein lies our tale.

We all know that Pete Rose, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, has been banned from baseball and Cooperstown for betting on baseball. Major League Baseball had a terrible scandal in 1919, when Chicago White Sox players were accused of throwing the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, to benefit a gambling syndicate. The National Football League has occasionally suspended players for up to an entire season, but not personally banned them for betting on their sport and their team. The National Basketball Association had weathered accusations and a serious investigation into a referee fixing games by point-shaving, getting the point difference between the teams to fit a betting position. In 1948, hockey was rocked with a game-fixing investigation that led to the lifetime ban of two star players.

With all that bad history, the leagues struck strong poses against gambling outside Las Vegas and especially online. Congress got into the game with the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, banning sports betting  Then times changed. In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law effectively banning sports bookmaking outside of locations where it was already legal. Justice Alito delivered the 6-3 majority opinion in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, KAGAN, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined, and in which BREYER, J., joined as to all but Part VI–B. THOMAS, J., filed a concurring opinion. BREYER, J., filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined, and in which BREYER, J., joined in part.

[ . . . ]

Opinion of the Court

Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA “regulate[s] state governments’ regulation” of their citizens, New York, 505 U. S., at 166. The Constitution gives Congress no such power.

The NBA commissioner was quick to roll out an official partnership with major league bookies, MGM Resorts, that very year. All the other major sports are now officially aligned with one or more nationally advertising sports betting businesses. The only limitations are state laws, making the business more or less attractive in each state.

The NFL expects to see over a billion dollars in new revenue over the next decade, just from sports betting partnership money. FanDuel and the NFL proudly promote their partnership. DraftKings and the NHL swap brand badges on each others’ advertising. The NBA and FanDuel expanded their partnership this year. Fox, a major media company, has gone into the bookmaking business for itself, pairing its sports broadcasting deals with FoxBet. Their sports broadcast team is featured in their betting advertising. Oh, and Major League Baseball partnered with MGM as the ink dried on the Supreme Court’s opinion.

This set of partnerships became especially visible in the 2021 season, as everyone is scrabbling to come back from the government and self-inflicted economic damage of the past year and a half. Sure, there are pious public service spots about knowing when to walk away and getting help with gambling addiction. These have as much meaning as state disclaimers about lottery play. The house always wins, and the sports leagues and big bookmakers are together in seeking dollars through an app sitting on your phone.

The leagues and bookies are especially interested in raking in the money from both more attention to more games and longer odds. That is what parley betting does, as fantasy leagues had already done. Fantasy leagues involve teams made of real players on multiple teams, so you want to know what is happening in more games, caring about individual performances each week. Parlay bets involve bets on more than one game. They promise very high payouts on winners, but are offered because the odds are so long. The winner every week: the professional sports league and their bookmaker partner.

Now that Major League Baseball officially partners with BetMGM, it is time for Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. to welcome Charlie Hustle back and personally shake his hand at his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It’s the sporting thing to do.

Published in Sports
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 15 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Pete Rose should still be banned from baseball. A league can’t permit its own players to bet on the games they’re playing or coaching in. Pete Rose knew betting on baseball was the worst sin he could commit and did so anyway. He was unrepentant and crapped on the game for years when he knew he was guilty. I have zero sympathy for the guy. Allowing players to bet on their own sports puts the integrity of the games in peril.

    There’s a huge difference in endorsing gambling sites and allowing your own players to bet on the game. Betting on sports has been around since the caveman days when cavemen were wrestling dinosaurs for sport. Professional sports leagues have finally wised up and learned how to monetize sports gambling for their own benefit. I think it’s good because legalized gambling brings more transparency to potential game fixing by gamblers. It’s easier to monitor point spreads and know where the big money is being bet.

     

    • #1
  2. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    We were never completely Bedford Falls, but this place is looking more and more like Pottersville with each passing year.

    • #2
  3. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    When I was a kid (way back then) we used to study the box scores not the betting lines.

    • #3
  4. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Yes, I was noting the MGM ads and wondering how this all came about? It is hard to imagine how this all ends well. I am no blue nose but I think legal gambling is a net economic loss in society at large. It absorbs discretionary money (if we are fortunate) and concentrates it in a relatively small number of outlets compared to spending at the local dry cleaners, restaurants, shops etc that provide employment in one’s community. I noted that phenomena when the casinos opened up in New Mexico at the pueblos. It is particularly noticeable when the rate of money flowing into a casino exceeds the ability of the casino to spend in the region with vendors. The money then goes to Wall Street or other investments which may confer no investments in the region where the casino exists.

    • #4
  5. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Clifford A. Brown: welcome Charlie Hustle back and personally shake his hand at his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame

    Nope.  Neither.  He needs to stay banned and stay out of the Hall.

    He deserves every bit of it.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    We were never completely Bedford Falls, but this place is looking more and more like Pottersville with each passing year.

    I’ve never been to either of those places, not even by YouTube, so I don’t know what this means. 

    • #6
  7. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    We were never completely Bedford Falls, but this place is looking more and more like Pottersville with each passing year.

    I’ve never been to either of those places, not even by YouTube, so I don’t know what this means.

    Aren’t those the towns in “It’s A Wonderful Life” ?

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    thelonious (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    We were never completely Bedford Falls, but this place is looking more and more like Pottersville with each passing year.

    I’ve never been to either of those places, not even by YouTube, so I don’t know what this means.

    Aren’t those the towns in “It’s A Wonderful Life” ?

    That’s a rare American movie that I’ve actually watched.

    Well, I thought I did but I just now found this page about Pottersville and Bedford Falls, which makes me wonder if maybe I only watched snippets of it. 

    • #8
  9. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    We have become Rollerball.

     

     

    • #9
  10. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Clifford A. Brown: Now that Major League Baseball officially partners with BetMGM, it is time for Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. to welcome Charlie Hustle back and personally shake his hand at his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Its the sporting thing to do.

    Times…they do change. And yet, shouldn’t he still be judged by the rules that existed during the time he played?

    • #10
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    thelonious (View Comment):

    Pete Rose should still be banned from baseball. A league can’t permit its own players to bet on the games they’re playing or coaching in. Pete Rose knew betting on baseball was the worst sin he could commit and did so anyway. He was unrepentant and crapped on the game for years when he knew he was guilty. I have zero sympathy for the guy. Allowing players to bet on their own sports puts the integrity of the games in peril.

    There’s a huge difference in endorsing gambling sites and allowing your own players to bet on the game. Betting on sports has been around since the caveman days when cavemen were wrestling dinosaurs for sport. Professional sports leagues have finally wised up and learned how to monetize sports gambling for their own benefit. I think it’s good because legalized gambling brings more transparency to potential game fixing by gamblers. It’s easier to monitor point spreads and know where the big money is being bet.

     

    Of course, I’m being provocative here, although I do not think anyone has shown Pete Rose threw a game. Boxing stands out as a sport that allows boxers to place straight bets on themselves to win. That is, the boxer puts his money on himself winning, without any further condition like type of victory or timing of the victory. 

    MLB has 2020 guidelines specifying that players and employees may not bet on any level of baseball or softball, while allowing legal bets outside this area of sports.

    • #11
  12. Jarvis Morse-Loyola Coolidge
    Jarvis Morse-Loyola
    @irb

    thelonious (View Comment):

    Pete Rose should still be banned from baseball. A league can’t permit its own players to bet on the games they’re playing or coaching in. Pete Rose knew betting on baseball was the worst sin he could commit and did so anyway. He was unrepentant and crapped on the game for years when he knew he was guilty. I have zero sympathy for the guy. Allowing players to bet on their own sports puts the integrity of the games in peril.

    I don’t know if it’s the biggest sin he could have committed. I mean, at least he wasn’t a White Sox fan…

    The bigger scandal for me was the strike. Haven’t watched MLB since even when the Cubs won the World Series. 

    • #12
  13. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    We were never completely Bedford Falls, but this place is looking more and more like Pottersville with each passing year.

    I’ve never been to either of those places, not even by YouTube, so I don’t know what this means.

    Sorry, I thought “It’s a Wonderful Life” was kinda culturally embedded.

    Bedford Falls is representative of a perfect, wholesome culture. Pottersville is what it becomes if the wonderful wholesome life of the protagonist, George Bailey, is removed.

    Bedford Falls = decent.

    Pottersville = not so much.

    • #13
  14. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    We were never completely Bedford Falls, but this place is looking more and more like Pottersville with each passing year.

    I’ve never been to either of those places, not even by YouTube, so I don’t know what this means.

    Sorry, I thought “It’s a Wonderful Life” was kinda culturally embedded.

    I thought so, too, but apparently I’ve only sampled it. Given that my goal is to be the least culturally embedded person around, that makes the movie rather well embedded. 

    Bedford Falls is representative of a perfect, wholesome culture. Pottersville is what it becomes if the wonderful wholesome life of the protagonist, George Bailey, is removed.

    Bedford Falls = decent.

    Pottersville = not so much.

     

    • #14
  15. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Jarvis Morse-Loyola (View Comment):

    thelonious (View Comment):

    Pete Rose should still be banned from baseball. A league can’t permit its own players to bet on the games they’re playing or coaching in. Pete Rose knew betting on baseball was the worst sin he could commit and did so anyway. He was unrepentant and crapped on the game for years when he knew he was guilty. I have zero sympathy for the guy. Allowing players to bet on their own sports puts the integrity of the games in peril.

    I don’t know if it’s the biggest sin he could have committed. I mean, at least he wasn’t a White Sox fan…

    The bigger scandal for me was the strike. Haven’t watched MLB since even when the Cubs won the World Series.

    Hardcore, you are!

    • #15