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.
Anti-abortion group rescinds endorsement in Illinois governor race
A state senator is defending using money from pro-union groups to go after House Republicans, a move that cost him an endorsement from an anti-abortion group.
Just last week, Conservative Party gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann, who is a Republican state senator from Plainview, picked up the endorsement of Illinois Family Action for his anti-abortion position.
“With early voting for the November general election underway, we want to remind you how important it is to exercise your civic duty to vote and be good stewards of God’s amazing gift of self-government,” IFA Executive Director David Smith said in a video posted online Oct. 12. “McCann … share[s] our conservative Christian values and we urge you to support [him] when you cast your ballot.”
Then this week, McCann sent out mailers against an anti-abortion Republican calling him a “Rauner RINO,” or Republican in name only.
Smith said that triggered his board to decide to take back its endorsement, a first for the group.
“What Sam McCann is doing with this mailer is actually enabling a pro-abortion Democrat to get an upper hand on a pro-life incumbent state lawmaker,” Smith said.
With McCann getting big dollars from union interests, Smith said it’s clear to him McCann is more interested in fighting “right to work” candidates than supporting anti-abortion candidates.
“That’s what it really is about,” Smith said. “So we were misled. We were lied to. We were deceived.”
McCann dismissed Smith’s criticism, saying he’s 110 percent anti-abortion. He said it’s the House Republicans that are falling in line with incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who McCann has called the state’s most liberal Democratic governor in history.
“Is it really about being conservative and leading or is it about being sheep and getting re-elected,” McCann said.
McCann this month alone has gotten $1.2 million from a group called Fight Back Fund that supports union politics. He said that’s money from a mix of people in unions who support his campaign.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, said what McCann is doing with that union support is effectively working to give more power to Democrats, and, by extension, House Speaker Michael Madigan.
McCann said that’s not true.
“To use the governor’s term, that’s baloney,” McCann said. “What we’re doing is we’re calling people out.”
One of McCann’s targets, Palatine state Rep. Tom Morrison, said it’s imperative Republicans maintain and gain seats in the House to stop Madigan’s use of a supermajority. He said a supermajority would allow Democrats to push an agenda that’s wrong for Illinois.
McCann said Republicans and Smith are doing Rauner’s bidding.
Smith said IFA is now telling voters to support none of the above in the gubernatorial race.
Article by Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Minority campaign staffers sue Pritzker, claiming discrimination
A group of African-American and Latino campaign staffers have filed federal discrimination charges against billionaire J.B. Pritzker, Democratic hopeful for Illinois governor.
The suit alleges Pritzker’s campaign routinely marginalizes minority workers.
“Although they hire African Americans and Latinos as campaign workers, the vast majority are herded into race-specific positions where they are expected to interact with the public, offered no meaningful chance for advancement, and receive less favorable treatment than their white counterparts who engage with, as the campaign sees it, a more desirable constituency,” the complaint says.
The lawsuit comes just weeks before Pritzker will face Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner in one of the most expensive state elections in national history.
The complaint also alleges that the campaign placed minority staffers in “unsafe locations,” placing them in danger.
The lawsuit says that the campaign workers asked when Pritzker would visit their office. They say the campaign responded, “He’ll visit when they stop shooting.”
Pritzker’s campaign was not immediately available for comment, but Pritzker’s Lt. Gov. candidate, Juliana Stratton, said in a statement that “we had a letter delivered to us asking for $7.5 million dollars in 24 hours or they threatened legal action and to go to press. That’s not a good faith effort.”
Shay Allen, a Chicago-based civil rights attorney who represents the plaintiffs, says Stratton’s statement is false, adding that Stratton has never reached out to any of his clients despite their complaints to the campaign.
“I have no idea how the person who made that statement could make those claims,” he said. “I’m positive that she’s never spoken to my plaintiffs.”
Allen said his clients were treated poorly.
“There were instances where they were spoken to very unprofessionally,” he said. “There were instances of physical intimidation.”
Allen said his clients are asking for more effort on behalf of Pritzker’s campaign to include minorities in positions of consequence, something he claims has almost exclusively gone to white staffers.
“Almost all of them have prior [campaign] experience,” he said. “A couple have come from other states to help with the campaign.”
Illinois Republican Party Executive Director Travis Sterling said Pritzker must answer for his actions.
“Here, we have his own staffers – seasoned political operatives – alleging racial discrimination and harassment,” Sterling said. “We have heard from Pritzker’s own mouth referring to black elected officials as ‘offensive’ on an FBI wiretap with Rod Blagojevich. It’s finally time for J.B. Pritzker to answer for his actions.”
The suit was filed Tuesday in the northern federal district of Illinois. The plaintiffs, Maxwell Little, Jason Benton, Jelani Coleman, Celia Colon, Kasmine Calhoun, Erica Kimble, Nathaniel Madison, Tiffany Madison, James Tinsley, and Mark Walker, are represented by Shay T. Walker. The Chicago defense attorney’s firm represented one of the three officers that were fired for beating a man in 2015.
Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org
Manar condemns negative ad featuring his children
Attack ads are an unfortunate element of modern politics. There is a certain level of name calling and criticism that is expected in these ads, and generally candidates take these attacks in stride. But there are still some lines that both candidates and the public think should not be crossed. One such line is using a candidate’s family or children in an attack ad.
Yesterday, the Rodney Davis campaign responded to an EMILY’s List ad that featured his children. Davis, who has championed civility in politics, called the ad “a new low,” and said that, “kids are off limits in politics.” So it was particularly poor timing for fellow Republican Seth McMillan to drop an ad with State Senator Andy Manar’s children in it. The ad, which pulled footage from a pro-Manar ad, shows several seconds of Manar’s children while discussing the senator’s record on taxes.
In a statement on Facebook, Manar said, “My opponent is at it again. This week he’s using images of my children in an attack ad. So let’s review the McMillan campaign: first he got caught lying on Facebook about my vote on the Coffeen Power Plant, then the State Journal-Register caught him lying on Facebook about my position on term limits, then he issued a “challenge” to me to debate him even though we have had four and he chose to skip one, he has over a dozen open ethics violations and he’s served on the Christian County Ethics Commission, and now he’s using images of my children in a negative ad as if there aren’t enough pictures out there on the internet of me to use.”
Manar went on to call on voters to “reject” this type of politics.
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