Pete Rose had an impressive 24 year career in baseball mostly playing for his hometown team the Cincinnati Reds. During Rose’s career he was a 17 time all star as well as a World Series MVP. However, Rose’s most spectacular feat is that he is the all time hit leader in Major League Baseball.
The darkness though that always looms whenever Pete Rose and baseball are mentioned together is the elusive election into the Hall of Fame. Players who have used steroids a vice that could actually change game performance and abilities are on the voting ballot and yet Rose is left waiting to be called up.
There is hope on the horizon though for Rose. New baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that Rose will be able to take part in All-Star activities this year which will take place in Rose’s hometown of Cincinnati. Manfred has also agreed to look at a petition for reinstatement Rose presented shortly after Manfred became commissioner. Rose has petitioned for reinstatement before only to be denied. Manfred though appears to be taking the petition very seriously as he mentioned in a Fox Sports article that he is reviewing the documents that led to the ban.
Another bright spot for Rose is that earlier this month Fox Sports announced that they would be using Rose as an analyst during the 2015 baseball season. Having been a 17 time all star there is no doubt Rose knows the game of baseball.
The actions of Commissioner Manfred in regard to the All-Star game, agreeing to look at the original documents pertaining to Rose’s ban and the hiring by Fox Sports show that the tide could be changing for Rose. Because looking at the facts it is clear Rose on accomplishments alone should finally be called up to the Hall of Fame.
While a lot of the country is currently in a debate about whether or not to legalize sports gambling, Nevada continues to build upon it’s legalized sports gambling.
Nevada has now allowed for the betting on Olympic Sports. This new sanction from the Nevada gaming commission has come at a great time as the summer Olympics are just a little more than a year away.The Olympics are a huge television draw with the 2012 Olympics having over 200 million viewers in the US alone. Betting on the Olympics is nothing new as many countries currently allow betting on the Olympics. The London Telegraph reported in 2012 that over 80 million pounds would go into betting for the 2012 games.
However, to allow legalized Olympic betting in Nevada could be of a great benefit to the state. Las Vegas hosts vacationers from all over the world. Now, during the Olympics these vacationers will be able to bet on athletes and teams that are familiar to them rather then be regulated to American teams if they wished to participate in sports betting while visiting.
Nevada also signed a law into effect earlier this week that would allow businesses to be able to bet on sports not just individuals.
The Washington Post recently put out an article concerning sports gambling. The article included a quote by Paul Tagliabue (then NFL Commissioner) from 1991 where Tagliabue was arguing a case to make sports gambling illegal. Tagliabue was quoted as saying “We have to make it clear the athletes, the fans and the public, gambling is not a part of sports, period”. Of course, sports gambling was made illegal the following year in all but four states.
I would argue that this quote though was likely not accurate then and is most certainly not accurate now. Gambling even if you do not agree with it is a part of sports. Las Vegas sports books do a $4 billion dollar, yes, billion with a B, business each year on sports gambling. The Louisville Grays a baseball team that played in the 1870s were involved in gambling activity (that would ultimately become their undoing) in 1877. To say that gambling is not a part of sports is simply wrong as we can trace gambling being involved in sports to at least 1877. Nearly every if not every sporting event college and pro has a line set for it. Why do games need lines for betting purposes.
Clearly, sometimes gambling has been a negative for sports such as the case of the Louisville Grays. However, this 1991 quote acts as though if you make gambling illegal it will just go away which is flawed thinking. Much like alcohol during prohibition just because something is made illegal does not mean people will refrain. Much like prohibition people are still partaking in the vice only now instead of being regulated and providing tax revenue the majority of gambling goes on unregulated.
Maybe, in a few years we will look back on when sports gambling was illegal and look at it much the way we look at prohibition as in “I can’t believe that was ever illegal”?
Fantasy sports have had continued growth each year since their inception and are prevalent on the internet as nearly every major sports website has their own fantasy league as well. Besides those leagues associated with sports sites there are also leagues such as DraftKings and FanDuel with are independent websites that offer single day fantasy competitions. While betting on sports may still be illegal in most places the one day fantasy leagues are about as close as most people will be able to come to legal sports betting. Legally fantasy leagues are not considered betting as in the eyes of the law fantasy sports are categorized as a skill rather than luck. However, winning money based on a teams performance especially in one day contests is about as close as you can come to betting on sports without actually betting on sports.
Earlier this month the Walt Disney Co. invested a significant amount of money in the fantasy sports site DraftKings. This investment will allow DraftKings to have significant advertising on ESPN a subsidiary of Disney. This investment I believe is another sign of our changing cultural attitude concerning betting on sports. Yes, I realize that I just said fantasy sports is not considered gambling. I however, feel that the one day fantasy leagues are opening a way for gambling on sports to become legal every where, they are the pioneers if you will of legal internet gambling. Now, with the Walt Disney Co. a company considered to be a wholesome family company investing in such a site I believe this deal could illustrate a changing tide in American attitudes toward gambling.
The entire story of the Disney deal can be read here.
Earlier this month the four major professional sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL) and the NCAA went to court after suing New Jersey in an attempt to stop legalized sports gambling in that state. Obviously legalizing sports gambling is a hot button issue especially among professional sports teams and leagues.
However, recently their appeared to be a changing of the guard when it came to legalizing sports gambling. Adam Silver the commissioner of the NBA spoke out saying he would be okay with legalized sports gambling and wanted to talk to the owners in his league and find out their feelings on the issue. Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball has recently agreed to review a petition by Pete Rose to overturn his lifetime ban from baseball. Manfred has also expressed interest in seeing how the owners in his league feel about legalized sports gambling.
The NFL though has remained staunchly against legalized sports gambling for reasons unknown (at least to me). The NFL has not suffered a bruised history due to sports gambling like Major League Baseball has. Football has not been linked to a major point shaving scandal like the 1951 scandal associated with college basketball. The NFL is far from morally perfect (as we all are) having had teams put bounties on players and with a string of domestic violence arrests. So, I do not feel they could claim a moral superiority to gambling. The NFL commissioner even openly embraces Fantasy Sports which, while not gambling are still people putting money down in the hope of a certain outcome. Why then is the NFL the last man standing of sorts of the big three Baseball, Basketball, and Football to not even give consideration to legalizing gambling?
In 2011 the Nevada Gaming Commission stated that 41% of bets placed were placed on football resulting in $1.34 billion. And, the SuperBowl is one of if not the biggest betted game of the year.
In January of 2014, on Pro Football talk the NFL Commissioner has stated that he will continue to be against legalizing sports gambling.
With legal sports gambling beginning to gain support from basketball and baseball will football eventually change it’s tune, or will they remain odd man out?
This week began the most exciting time of year for college basketball fans….March Madness. College Basketball has taken over our television sets on more than four channels at a time and for upwards of 12 hours a day. And, much like college basketball has taken over our televisions bracket talk has dominated conversation “did you fill out a bracket?” “who is in your final four?” “is your bracket busted?”. Brackets have become a way of life for us during March Madness. If you are anything like me immediatley following the program showing where teams would be seeded my inbox began to fill up with offers to join in bracket competitions from the major sports websites. These bracket competitions are legal as they do not issue a prize for the top bracket but rather pick randomly from the top scorers in order to give a way their grand prizes.
However, those office pools that so many participate in, while rarely enforced, those technically are illegal. That does not stop the super fans, casual fans or those who just like filling out a bracket from participating each year though. Millions of people and even more dollars every year are involved in bracket pools in the US. This is one of the many faces of sports gambling. A $5 entry fee on people picking a team based on their favorite mascot to win games. This just shows sports gambling is becoming more socially acceptable and is not the social deviant it is often made out to be.
The NCAA was in court this week along with representatives from the professional sports leagues to fight against New Jersey and their fight to legalize sports gambling. The NCAA and professional sports leagues worry that making gambling legal could hurt the game, more people would attempt to have games fixed.
Their fear is understandable. However, with as many millions/billions are bet on sports each year I would argue that if fixing games was going to be a problem it would already be occurring. I don’t think making gambling legal would make this any more of a problem. Education and consequences for players and coaches would be key. Teach players and coaches if they are ever approached to report it immediately and have very real consequences if they are found to take part in any sort of game fixing.
If sports betting was legalized I would argue that the NCAA could benefit. The NCAA could provide an “official” bracket pool with entry fees and maybe a grand prize of a trip to the next years championships. Individual schools could do the same offering a prize of tickets for the grand prize winner and using the money generated to help fund some of the lower revenue sports at that particular institution.
Sports betting does not have to be a bad thing. The money is already out there, why not legalize the betting so that the money can be regulated and in the case of brackets possibly go back into the sporting community and do some good?
This week Pete Rose filed a formal petition to have his lifetime ban from baseball lifted. Rose received the ban in 1989 after it was discovered he had bet on baseball while he was manager of the Reds. The lifetime ban has resulted in Rose being kept out of the hall of fame despite the fact that he still holds the record for all time hits in Major League Baseball.
Rob Manfred the current baseball commissioner has agreed to review the petition. Manfred has also said he would be open to discussing legal betting on baseball with the owners in his organization. This is a huge step for Major League Baseball. Considering the fact that the job of commissioner for Major League Baseball was a position that was created as a direct result of the 1919 Black Sox scandal it is not surprising the strong take MLB has historically taken against betting.
The fact is though that last year it was reported that $725 million dollars was bet legally on baseball in Nevada. People are betting on baseball and if it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars for legal betting there is no telling how high the dollar amount for illegal betting could be.
The tides could be changing though for Major League Baseball. Manfred agreeing to review Rose’s petition and wanting to talk to owners concerning betting make the time now if Major League Baseball is ever to back legal betting.
Another big supporter in the fight to legalize sports gambling is the state of New Jersey. Gambling in New Jersey is most often associated to Atlantic City. Atlantic City much like Las Vegas was a vacation destination with larger than life hotels/casinos. However, lately the casinos in Atlantic City have taken a major downturn. At least three hotel/casinos were forced to shut their doors permanently in 2014. Obviously, Atlantic City is having a hard time economically.
Chris Christie the governor of New Jersey has spoken out in favor of legalizing sports betting in New Jersey. Christie even went so far as to attempt to write laws to allow sports gambling in New Jersey. These attempts to allow sports gambling were shut down by a federal judge in November of 2014.
Legalized sports gambling in New Jersey could have a very positive economic effect on the state, particularly Atlantic City. Casinos in Atlantic City could capitalize on the legalized sports gambling much like the casinos in Las Vegas has done. Sports books could be added to the casinos which would could be a major money maker and help some of the casinos to get out of some of the financial trouble they have been experiencing. The numbers don’t like and sports books take in a lot of money. If legalized Atlantic City could draw in some East Coast gamblers that have been lost to Las Vegas.
I feel that New Jersey is going to put up a good fight to legalize sports gambling because they are fighting for the survival of their economy. I do believe that legalized gambling in New Jersey would help to turn things around for that state for the better.
I am attaching a link so you can get a better idea of the current state of affairs in Atlantic City.
The fight to legalize sports gambling has a big force in it’s favor. Adam Silver the NBA Commissioner joined the fight to legalize sports gambling. Silver has spoken publicly about his feelings concerning sports gambling . I think having a Commissioner of a professional sporting league speak in favor of legal gambling is a huge step forward. Silver is able to speak out from the position of an educated sports professional. Having an influential member of the professional sporting community for this cause can help to sell this cause to law makers. And, help take away some of the stigma that is associate with professional sports and gambling. Silver has made it known that he knows sports gambling occurs mostly illegally. His stance has been that since so much money is going into illegal gambling why not make it legal so that it can be regulated. I totally agree with this thinking. Gambling on sports is going to happen whether it is done legally or illegally. By legalizing gambling this would afford the government an opportunity to better regulate the gambling that is taking place. I think that the way that Silver has taken on the position to legalize sports gambling is important. He has made it clear he was not just for everyone to go gamble but for the regulation of gambling that is currently taking place illegally. As a man with such an important position taking on such a risky subject is a hard thing to do. If though Silver can work with the other members of the NBA leadership and possibly other commissioners of professional sports leagues I think he can have a real chance on influencing a change in the current sports gambling laws.
I just wanted to make a quick note regarding the infographic of the map of the United States. Pay attention to how much of the country is not close to a state that has legal sports gambling. The vast majority of our country does not have any where close to them that offer legal sports gambling. If legal gambling is not available people tend to turn toward illegal gambling as can be seen in the Super Bowl pie chart. Of course people could make a trip to Las Vegas or Delaware or one of the other two states that offers legal gambling. These trips though would not be cheap and would definitely not be convenient. Don’t underestimate the power of convenience. Walt Disney once did a study to see how far people are willing to walk with a piece of trash without encountering a trash can before they just throw the trash on the ground. Disney discovered the average length people were willing to walk was 30 steps. 30 steps, that’s it!! If people will not walk more than 30 steps with a piece of trash do we really think they will take the time or effort to go cross country or take the time to look up casinos that will take sports bets over the phone. My message here is don’t underestimate the power of convenience.