On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey in the case that was formerly known as Chris Christie vs. NCAA (Christie’s name has been supplanted by Phil Murphy, the state’s new governor), striking down a 25-year old federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that largely outlawed sports betting outside of Nevada.
The court overruled a decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, saying PASPA violates the state’s 10th Amendment rights, thereby creating a path for New Jersey and other states to offer sports betting.
“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own,” the opinion reads. “Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not.”
What happens next?
New Jersey has been preparing in earnest for legalized sports wagering since 2012, and many locations are ready to move quickly. Monmouth Park — a racetrack on the Jersey Shore — says it could open betting windows within the next two weeks.
It could take other states weeks, or even months, to follow New Jersey’s blueprint, if they choose. One exception is Delaware, said Daniel Wallach, a sports gaming law expert and attorney at Becker & Poliakof, noting that the state already as infrastructure in place and doesn’t require any legislative tweaks.
Which states will be next?
Many state legislatures have been working on bills in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling, and many were waiting to see whether the court would strike down PASPA entirely. Many places have already concluded their 2018 legislative sessions, which could mean state lawmakers can’t address the matter until next year.
While New Jersey and Delaware could have betting windows open soon, states such as West Virginia and Mississippi are also poised to move quickly. States such as Pennsylvania and Connecticut could be racing to get in the game, as well. Nearly 20 states have introduced bills that could legalize sports betting, and a 2017 report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimates that as many as 32 states could offer legal sports betting within the next five years.
What sports will I be able bet on?
The Supreme Court opinion means states can offer the same betting options as any other sports books, including college and professional sports, horse racing, golf, combat sports and non-American sporting events.
Is there anything I won’t be able to bet on?
Some sports leagues have urged states to ban some prop bets, primarily the situational variety that can be easily impacted by a single player or decision without necessarily altering the game’s outcome. For example, the leagues don’t want to see betting lines offered on which player will commit the first foul of a game, or whether the first pitch of a game is a ball or strike.
Most sports books are likely to offer single-game bets, over-under bets, prop betting, teaser bets and parlays, as Nevada sports books do.
Will mobile and online betting be available?
Many bills are encouraging mobile and online betting options. Without these options, gambling advocates warn that bettors will still turn to offshore accounts and illegal bookmakers.
New Jersey sports books will be able to take bets via phone or computer, but not right away. There will be a licensing process that could take weeks — possibly a few months — before books will be able to take bets remotely. Even then, only intrastate wagers will be permitted.
Can I place in-game wagers?
Like many of the details, in the absence of federal legislation, this ultimately could vary from state to state. Some of the proposed bills specifically allow for in-game betting, such as those in West Virginia and New York.
I already have accounts with DraftKings and FanDuel. Will they offer sports betting?
A: Many expect both these companies — the two giants in the world of daily fantasy sports — to quickly jump into this space and offer a large menu of sports betting options. They already have much of the infrastructure in place, and a long list of users familiar with their platforms.
In the meantime, those companies could still partner with specific casinos or venues, particularly on the mobile and online side of the business.
Are the pro sports leagues happy about this?
In 2012, the five biggest sports entities in the United States sued to prevent New Jersey from entering the sports gaming business. But since then, some have altered their stance. The NBA and Major League Baseball have both said some form of legal sports gambling seems inevitable, and have teamed together to urge states to pass bills that would help protect the integrity of their sports – while also directing some profits in the direction of the leagues.
While all of the leagues will likely take on added costs – education, monitoring and investigations, for example – they could also stand to make plenty of money through new partnerships and business opportunities.
What about the NCAA?
The world of college sports, relying on amateur student-athletes, has been resolute in its opposition of sports wagering.
There has been talk that the leagues will want a percentage of the money wagered? Is that happening? Does it impact bettors?
Major League Baseball and the NBA have proposed states mandate a 1 percent kickback to the leagues for assuming added risk. They liken to this to an “integrity fee,” or a “royalty to the league.” Some states have balked and the leagues have expressed a willingness to take less than 1 percent.
Some gambling advocates say cutting into sports books’ profits with such fees could force them to offer tighter odds, which could push bettors back to the illegal markets to make their wagers.
How big is the sports gambling industry?
While it’s probably impossible to accurately estimate, experts suggest that illegal betting in the United States is a $50-150 billion business – perhaps significantly more.
According to research by UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, legal sports betting in Nevada totaled nearly $5 billion last year, led by football — both college and professional — which accounted for $1.76 billion.
A 2017 report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimated that legal sports gambling could be a $6 billion industry — perhaps as much $16 billion if more states eventually get onboard.
Could this lead to corruption or scandals?
That has certainly been the big fear, which has prompted the leagues to dig in their heels on this issue for so long. The leagues know they’ll have to take on added costs to educate players and monitor betting trends to guard against any suspect activity.
But gambling advocates are quick to point out that sports gambling already takes place on a massive scale, meaning the leagues are already vulnerable to corruption.
What happens to that federal law that largely banned sports betting outside of Las Vegas?
Even with PASPA struck down, Congress could still move to establish federal guidelines that would produce uniformity from state to state.
On Dec. 7 — the same day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case — Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., introduced the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, or GAME Act. His proposal doesn’t set federal guidelines, per se, but it does aim to remove obstacles and provide the legal framework for states to adopt sports betting.
What will Illinois do? Is there a plan and desire to allow for sports gambling in this state?
The gambling industry wants to capitalize on what’s long been a valuable black-market industry. They contend strict state regulations and high taxes could keep legal businesses from being able to compete with illegal bookkeepers, saying they already have incentive to make sure games stay clean to preserve their own bottom line.
Will Green, an official of the American Gaming Association, said high taxes could “burden a legal sports book with unnecessary costs” and make legal businesses unable to meet the higher payouts of illegal companies that currently operate offshore.
“It will cut the legs off of legal sports betting, quite honestly, before it has the chance to walk,” he said.
Opponents, though, say expanded gambling does more harm than the potential tax money could do good. Anita Bedell, executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, said online gambling is a “gateway” that could get kids hooked, saying children are already “bombarded with gambling ads” on social media.
Gambling industry officials estimated sports betting could net the state about $85 million in taxes.
Illinois is was not the only state betting on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal ban. Similar legislation to regulate and tax sports betting has been proposed in at least a dozen states across the country, including Indiana, Missouri, California and Massachusetts. State legislatures in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Mississippi also passed laws in recent months.
Rep. Jimenez’s Legislation to Move State Jobs Back to the Capital City Signed into Law
State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez’s push to return state jobs to the capital city today culminated in the signing of a new law mandating that Sangamon County be the default location for state positions in agencies under the Governor. House Bill 4295 directs state agencies to set a geographic location for each job, and if there isn’t a geographic necessity for the state job, then it should be located in Sangamon County.
“For all of my time as state representative, I have made it a priority to push State agencies to identify positions within State government that can and should be located in Sangamon County. A recent report identified hundreds of jobs that could potentially be relocated to the capital city. By making Sangamon County the default location for state jobs in state law, it sends a clear signal that state jobs should be in the capital city, unless they need to be located somewhere else in the state to best serve our residents,” said State Representative Jimenez (R-Leland Grove), the legislation’s chief sponsor.
Rep. Jimenez previously spearheaded passage of a resolution urging agencies under the Governor to compile a report listing the number of state employees in each county, including justification for the location. The report released indicates the potential for nearly 400 jobs to move back to the capital city. The new preference contained in House Bill 4295 takes the next step in the process, requiring the Director of Central Management Services to relocate to Sangamon County all State employment positions under the Personnel Code that are not required by their nature or function to be located in another area. It also requires that all new positions created be located in the Capitol City unless required to be located in another specific location.
The relocation provisions will apply to currently vacant positions and as they become vacant in the future.
“The home of Illinois’ state government should also be home base for as many state government employees as possible. That will help streamline the process of providing services and also save taxpayer dollars in the long run – two improvements we need now more than ever,” Representative Jimenez said.
For more information and detail about this bill, previous efforts and the report from 2016, visit www.repsara.com.
New automatic voter registration law won’t slow efforts to reach out to potential new voters face-to-face
A new automatic voter registration law in Illinois won’t slow efforts to reach out to potential new voters in an old-fashioned way.
Sharon Alter is vice president of voter services and co-chair of voter service with the League of Women Voters of Illinois. She says in-person, face-to-face registration always will have a place of importance.
“People still like the personal contact,” Alter said. “And that contact is important not just with prospective older voters, but also prospective younger voters. During the course of the in-person voter registration, some voting questions can come up, so there’s an education process, especially for a first-time voter.”
The League of Women Voters of Illinois is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Portions of the automatic voter registration law have begun to roll out. Earlier this month, Illinois’ Department of Motor Vehicle employees began to check for a customer’s voter registration online and allow citizens to sign-up if they wish to “opt-in”. Eventually, any eligible resident interacting with the DMV automatically will be registered to vote.
“The League of Women Voters Illinois is part of a coalition that supported the passage of this legislation,” Alter said. “Obviously, what all of us have to do is an education campaign. And that education campaign for voters about the process and the alternative here is just beginning.”
Illinois previously opened up online and same-day registration as part of a sweeping change to election laws in 2014. Alter says that didn’t really slow the demand for in-person sign-ups.
“When online voter registration started, as lot of people thought in-person voter registration would die out, but it really hasn’t,” Alter said. “And I would say at least for a while, even with automatic voter registration, in-person voter registration will still continue.”
Alter says she’s noticed a recent increase in voting interest across the board, but particularly among younger citizens.
“There’s an undercurrent of activism and interest and that’s across the board in ages, but particularly among younger voters,” Alter said. “A number of organizations have increased their membership, certainly since the November 2016 election, including the League of Women Voters.
Meanwhile, as part of the state’s membership in a national voter database, Illinois is required to try to reach people who are eligible to vote but who aren’t registered.
That means the state soon will spend $240,000 to send letters to unregistered voters.
Article by Scot Bertram, for more news visit ILnews.org
Rauner says taxpayers could save $3.5 billion if consolidation recommendations enacted
Illinois taxpayers could save more than $3 billion a year from government consolidation and mandate relief, according to Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Rauner signed House Bill 5123 Monday in DuPage County that allows for affected county clerks to absorb the county’s election commission, a move the governor’s office said will save $300,000, improve efficiency and streamline election reporting in DuPage County.
DuPage County had some election reporting problems on election night for this year’s March 20 primary. The Daily Herald reported elections officials with the county’s election commission failed to test ballot-like cards for it’s optical scan voting machines.
County Clerk Paul Hinds, who will be taking over elections operations for the county under the law Rauner signed, said Monday the consolidation will be good for taxpayers and voters.
“I look forward to a smooth transition moving the duties from the election commission to the county clerk’s office and I will work with the chairman and the county board to administer secure and accountable elections,” Hinds said.
County Chairman Dan Cronin said DuPage County has been a testing ground for consolidation for the past 6 years, saving taxpayers $120 million.
“We have focused on service and cost sharing, collaboration and working with our local and state partners to imagine new ways to deliver public services in the most efficient manner possible,” Cronin said.
Rauner said this needs to happen all over the state. If lawmakers passed all of Rauner’s proposed recommendations, he said taxpayers would save big.
“The estimate was we’d save Illinois taxpayers $3.5 billion per year,” Rauner said. “$3.5 billion per year if we actually implemented the 27 recommendations our task force laid out.”
The Local Government Consolidation and Unfunded Mandates Task Force created by a Rauner executive order issued a report in December 2015 that laid out ways “to reduce the heavy burden on Illinois taxpayers by empowering citizens and government officials to streamline local government through consolidation and eliminating unnecessary state mandates,” Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said in the report.
Among the 27 recommendations was a mix of ideas to consolidate and to reduce mandates.
For consolidation, recommendations included, among others, a moratorium on creating new local governments, expand DuPage County’s pilot program to all 102 counties, allow township consolidations with coterminous municipalities, incentivize school district consolidation, and encourage sharing of public equipment, facilities and other resources regionally.
Mandates to be repealed, the report suggested, included prevailing wage laws, providing third-party contract mandate relief for school districts, making collective bargaining permissive rather than mandatory, eliminating minimum manning from collective bargaining, merging downstate and suburban public safety pension funds into a single fund, and others.
“I do want to thank members of the General Assembly on a bipartisan basis, (House Bill 5123) got passed, also 10 other bills got passed that took small pieces of our recommendations and got them into law,” Rauner said. “All steps in the right direction. We need to keep working every day, every session, get more legislation passed to lift the mandates, allow consolidation of government, and bring more efficient, effective government to the people of Illinois.”
Illinois has nearly 7,000 units of local government, hundreds more than any other state, something Rauner said goes hand in hand with the state’s second-highest property tax burden.
“We suffer In Illinois from some of the highest property taxes in America and it is not a coincidence that we also have more units of local government that any state in America,” Rauner said.
But Rauner doesn’t just want to give consolidation power to local elected officials, he wants voters to have also have a say.
“People are outraged,” Rauner said. “If we give power to the people, give power to the homeowners and the voters, rather than only elected officials, we’ll see dramatic change and lower property taxes as a result.”
Article by Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
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