We live in a time full of change. As more states begin to pass laws allowing online gambling many wonder how to go about regulating these new sites. One example for us that stands out is Europe. European countries have been working together to come to a consensus on various online gaming regulations. Here in America, though various states may follow different state laws, at least we all still speak the same language. With all the countries in Europe, this is not the case, and yet they still can work together to form new regulations as needed. Perhaps now is a good time to look to Europe as an example of how to form regulations as needed to protect citizens.
Over the past few years, the European Union has formed a united European Economic Zone, which consists of 28 countries. Twenty of these 28 member countries have united to sign an agreement that was put forth by the European Commission towards the end goal of regulating online gambling and combating unlicensed activity. This article was said to have been signed by many of the largest member states in the European Economic Zone including Great Britain, Italy, Spain, and France.
According to the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), this is an important part of uniting in a common goal. EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer believes that “the signing of the cooperation agreements between the EU’s gambling authorities is a crucial step in building trust and confidence in this inherently cross-border sector.”
This agreement will help develop a centralized organization for online gambling across the continent of Europe that will add stronger consumer protection procedures for the millions of citizens within the European Union. Ultimately it will be responsible for supervising compliance of nations to gaming laws, preventing money laundering and fraud, cross-country competition assistance, assistance for the various online gambling site operators, and all other general knowledge sharing of online gambling related ideas.
After these laws are passed, many gaming operators across Europe will benefit through reduced costs in cross-border legislation.
According to Haijer, this cooperation agreement will “encourage the authorities to address with priority unnecessary administrative costs that make the regulated offer less competent than the unregulated offer.”
Executive Chairman of MGA [an online authority site] Joseph Cuschieri went on to say that “this agreement is a result of various discussions and debates between the various national gaming authorities and credit goes to the officials working in DG-GROW as well as to the representative officials of the various regulatory bodies who collectively work towards this significant multilateral achievement.”
How Europe has handled the new threat of unregulated online gambling is a good example that legislators across America would do well to remember.
Image Source: CalvinAyre.com
This past week New Jersey granted BetFair a license to operate the first legal and regulated online betting exchange in America. BetFair is a UK betting exchange company that built a betting exchange model of its own in 1999. Since then it has become one of the largest online gambling companies in the world, which allows bets on almost anything that you like. Through BetFair you can place bets on anything from whether or not it will snow tomorrow to what the outcome of a presidential election will be.
Four years ago BetFair applied for a license with the New Jersey racing commission but was unable to get the permission it needed. This was in 2011 when New Jersey had just voted for the legalization of sports betting at its casinos and racetracks. At the time, major sports leagues argued that it would be a violation of federal law, according to the professional and amateur sports protection act of 1992. So at that time it looked like BetFair would not have a chance at becoming an online sports betting exchange vendor within New Jersey for a long time.
However, as New Jersey has seen the impact that online betting exchanges have had around the world, and especially in the UK, it believes that BetFair may be able to rejuvenate their horseracing industry as well as regain some customer interest back. A betting exchange such as BetFair allows customers to place bets against one another without having to go through a bookmaker. This means that the odds are offered at a better exchange rate than normal since only a small fee needs to go to the site operators. BetFair will closely regulate the bets and make sure that every bet is upheld.
For this plan to be a success there needs to be enough users available who are willing to bet through the online venue. With New Jersey having 9 million residents, it may have just enough people available to make the site work. If things work out well with BetFair in New Jersey, it could be the initial foothold that the company needs to expand to more areas within the United States. As of now the company will only be offering betting for sports races but they hope to expand options if possible.
The first betting exchange should be available by March 2016, so over the next year New Jersey and its surrounding states will see what kind of an impact this online gambling betting exchange company has. If all goes well, it could spell good things for the future of betting exchanges in America.
Over the last while, Pennsylvania has been on the verge of passing bills to legalize online gambling in their state. It seems that the time has finally come. This week the state is scheduled to vote on HB649, which would allow online gambling in Pennsylvania.
According to the Poker Players Alliance, the Pennsylvania Gaming Oversight Committee will be leading the vote, and it is expected to pass. Pennsylvania has been working towards getting a bill on the table for months now and after constant delays it has finally made it to the front.
If passed, HB 649 would allow online poker sites to begin doing business in Pennsylvania. This bill would do three things:
- It would provide operator licenses purchasable for 5$ million with a 14% tax rate on all gaming revenue.
- Online gambling operators will be able to partner with brick and mortar casinos, which should bring additional business to each of the partners.
- This bill would also provide legal options to crack down on unlicensed online gambling operators.
A few other ideas were discussed and may be included in the bill in some form or another as well. These other options focused mainly on ways Pennsylvania could boost their income. The list includes online lottery sales, DFS legalization, regulation games of skill, increasing the number of hours that a casino can serve alcohol, and lowering regulation on the casinos already in place. It will be interesting to see what is decided for these additions to HB 649.
If the bill does get passed, then the House Gaming Oversight Committee will need to decide if it should be a standalone bill or added as a part of the state’s 2016 budget. Once this vote passes, it will then be voted on by the house, and following that be voted on by the state Senate. Finally, if it passes all of the previous votes, the bill would be sent to Governor Tom Wolf. Since the state budget is now late now and it is already well into November, it would not be surprising to see a compromise option between legislators and the governor that may include online gambling laws.
Pennsylvania knows that by following the examples of states such as New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware, they could make a considerable amount of extra revenue from online gambling taxes. With the added benefit of having better track of who is licensed, and more ways to stop the unlicensed operators, there is no reason that this bill should not pass. From where things stand it looks like HB 649 could be just what Pennsylvania needs to finalize their new budget.
If all goes well and Pennsylvania ends up legalizing online gambling they will become the fourth state to do so. This will be a great asset to other states as they will have even more players available with which to compete against on the various online poker sites.
Will Pennsylvania be the fourth state to legalize online gambling? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Earlier this week you might have heard that there were some changes happening at PokerStars. Following up these changes is an announcement that a new CEO has been chosen for its parent company, Amaya Inc. This man is Rafi Ashkenazi, and he has big plans for the Rational Group and their online gaming division. Before his promotion to CEO, Ashkenazi was serving as the Senior Vice President of Strategy for Amaya Inc. Though he had only been with the company since January of 2013, his years of experience with Playtech as Chief Operating Officer can assure everybody that he will be a good fit.
According to the Previous Amaya Inc. CEO David Baazov, “Rafi has been working very closely this year with our executive management team, and returns to Rational Group with an even greater knowledge of our corporate strategy, vision, and goals and combining this knowledge with his operational expertise makes him an ideal leader for the Rational Group.”
Ashkenazi said that he is looking forward to “rejoining the excellent team at Rational Group and working with them to continue to extend our leadership in online gaming.”
He then went on to say that “we have great opportunities in the near future with our upcoming launch in New Jersey, the expansion of our casino and sports-betting businesses, and our mission to grow the poker category.”
His position as CEO of Rational Group begins officially on November 9, and it should not be much longer now before PokerStars is fully licensed to run within New Jersey. Gaining such a major player back in the online poker industry will be a great chance for Garden State players to get their game on track with bigger winnings than ever before.
The exact date for the launch of PokerStars NJ is still unclear. A few different things need to happen for PokerStars to become available once again in the state. These include:
- Getting NJ regulators to sign off on all the technical and operational aspects of the PokerStars online website.
- Bringing past work on the project up to date and making every aspect synchronize fully in hopes of a fluent statewide launch.
- Re-checking all involved parties in preparation for the launch.
In the past PokerStars was available in NJ but the name came into complications when issues with the company arose in 2013. However, now that PokerStars has been taken over by Amaya Inc. the time is here once again for PokerStars to return. It should not be long now before PokerStars becomes once again fully accessible for all residents.
With this CEO change, we can hope that PokerStars will once again become one of the leading online poker sites in New Jersey. Many players have long been looking forward to this and the time has finally come to put all the waiting to rest. Though there has been no exact time released it is likely that he site will become available near the end of this year, or early in 2016.
Revenue garnered by the state of New Jersey in September, through taxation of the state’s online poker regulation, fell to the lowest point since the industry was legalized in November of 2013.
Figures released recently by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) indicate that $1,771,123 in total revenue was recorded during September, with that amount spread amongst the state’s four online poker rooms. The total represents a 10.7% reduction from August, and a 15% decline from September of 2014.
The fall continues a downward trend for New Jersey’s fledgling online poker industry, which has seen monthly revenue decrease from $2.3 million in January of this year to September’s record low. Over that time, monthly online poker revenue fell each month between March and June, before bottoming out in September.
A similar situation occurred in 2014 as the Garden State’s online poker industry entered its first full year of operations. In January of 2014 monthly revenue totals topped the $3.4 million mark – which remains the industry’s peak thus far – before experiencing significant declines for several consecutive months. The figure plummeted to just over $2 million by December of 2014.
When online poker, along with other casino games like blackjack and slots, resumed legalized and regulated play in New Jersey in December of 2013, three years had elapsed since government intervention suddenly forced the industry to shutter. In the wake of that decision – a day poker players and media have dubbed “Black Friday” – the return of online poker in New Jersey was hailed as a potential stepping stone to full federal regulation. A wave of excitement and enthusiasm buoyed the industry during those early days, along with generous promotions designed to entice new players, but both are on short supply today.
The state’s four online poker rooms – BorgataPoker.com, PartyPoker.com, WSOP.com, and 888Poker.com – have managed to build a small but steady core of regular players. During the early months of last year, these online poker rooms reported average traffic for their cash game tables at between 500 and 600 players at any given time. However, during the majority of 2015 cash game liquidity for the state’s four online poker venues has stagnated, falling to around 300 players on average.
In addition, the four sites have routinely been forced to pay into tournament prize pools when advertised guarantees were not met. These costly overlays only cut further into New Jersey’s total online poker revenue, and as a result, monthly revenue figures have continued their steady descent during recent months.
Industry insiders provide an accurate accounting of the biggest winners on each of New Jersey’s online poker platforms, and over the last year these lists have been consolidated by an ever-shrinking pool of professional players. After the initial rush of amateur players taking their shot online poker patronage in New Jersey has plummeted by nearly half, prompting many industry experts to question the level of demand for online poker more than a decade removed from the “poker boom” of 2003.
Proponents of online poker’s regulated return based much of their initial support on optimistic income projections that were made during the state’s legislative debates on the issue during previous years. At that time, state officials published reports indicating that online poker revenue could reach $180 million during the 2014 fiscal year. Those forecasts were then reduced to $160 million by the time Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law, but with average monthly revenue totals hovering around the $2 million mark, both predictions have missed the mark by a wide margin.
As noted by Chris Grove, editor of the Online Poker Report, in a 2014 report published by USA TODAY, the projections released by New Jersey during the legislative debate were never realistic in the first place. Grove stated that both the $180 million and $160 million figures were “driven far more by political need and budgetary magic math than by sober, rational analysis of the market.”
According to Grove, the fact that New Jersey relied on estimates that included a full fiscal year of operations was misleading, as the online poker industry did not launch into midway through the fiscal year. In his estimation, the state’s online poker revenue is actually on target for a newly developed industry, especially one suffering from the stigma of prohibition. “This is an industry that requires consumer education,” Grove told USA TODAY. “It exists in a weird gray area because it was perceived to be illegal for so long.”
Since the online poker gambling sites Fulltilt.com and PokerStars.com have been legalized in states such as Nevada and New Jersey, a massive impact is already being felt not only in those states but nationwide and possibly across the pond in the United Kingdom. The two poker sites just went live in late September, and although the numbers have not yet come in, hopes are high that they will bring in much more revenue and many more players for the two states involved.
The legalization of this new and popular addition to the online gambling scene is being recognized by online gamblers across the nation and has garnered the support of influential people such as presidential candidate Donald Trump and famous poker star Daniel Negreanu. Although New Jersey’s overall revenue numbers from online gambling are currently down from last year, this new addition of Fulltilt.com and PokerStars.com is going to bring in much-needed optimism and aggressive marketing campaigns across the state. With new revenue comes much-needed money for New Jersey to help fund struggling programs across the state.
We won’t know exact revenue numbers from the Nevada and New Jersey for a couple of months, but with the holidays coming up fast, they most likely will have a slow start. The outcome will undoubtedly be a focus point for other states looking to legalize online gambling. We are already starting to see political movement and new bills being introduced in states such as California, Washington, and Florida to legalize online poker for the passionate players across these states. California and Washington already have bills in the works for 2016 and people are very hopeful that the states will seriously consider lifting bans on the online gaming industry.
With social media constantly being used to spread messages at lightning fast speeds, people in almost every state see the potential for change. Many states have few if any brick and mortar casinos, most of which are owned by various Native American tribes. The exceptions are Nevada and Colorado. So legalization would be a most welcome change for people willing to spend money online with safe and reputable websites.
We are also starting to see grassroots movements in various states to put pressure on state governments, and although the state of the economy is slowly getting better, many states might be open to the new revenue channels that legalized online gambling would bring. These grassroots movements are seeing massive success in many different areas, and the state governments are being forced to pay attention.
Many states have had bans for several years, but with time comes change, and we may see more states start to soften to the idea of legalization. According to the website www.uspoker.com, the citizens of Florida are signing petitions and getting the word out on Facebook and Twitter to voice their support for change. Not only the people are voicing their wants for this change to online gambling legislation, but websites such as Fulltilt.com and PokerStars.com are pushing for change, both at the state level and at the federal level.
These powerful and very lucrative websites putting pressure on law makers can have a rather large impact. The revenue for the states allowing online poker gambling is the tens of millions monthly and hundreds of millions yearly. The potential income and tax revenue will bring attention to Washington D.C. and the various politicians around the country. A continuation of the bans would make little to no sense because the online gambling scene is growing yearly and attracting more and more players every year. When the people voice what they want and put the pressure on, politicians eventually have to give in and hear them out about legalization efforts.
Companies responsible for running the online poker websites have a duty and obligation to listen to what their players have to say to change the scene for the better. So we will undoubtedly see more and more aggressive ads for the legalization of online poker, and it will most likely not stop there. With many states starting to push for change, we will see a bigger presence of representatives from online gambling sites speaking to the lawmakers that can make legalization happen.
Keep in mind that although these online poker enterprises are still in their infancy, there is quite an optimistic view that profits and player numbers will increase. The future for online poker sites such as Fulltilt.com and PokerStars.com looks incredibly bright and will hopefully bring change across the U.S. and change the face of online gambling – poker in particular – for generations to come.
Image Source: Flickr
The popular online poker website PartyPoker.com has unveiled their new campaign, dubbed “Poker for the People.” The campaign is aiming to level the playing field for everybody playing poker in New Jersey, from amateurs to seasoned players. They’ve done this by making big changes to how players interact with each other online and how they progress through the new loyalty program on the site.
Partypoker.com set out to change up their VIP loyalty program, calling the new version “Loyalty 2.0.” The points program for the rewards tiers has changed quite dramatically, some for better, and some for worse.
According to the PartyPoker.com website, the new Loyalty 2.0 program makes it easier for players to earn rewards. Depending on the player’s “Loyalty Level,” they can earn rewards such as credit for tournament tickets and cold hard cash. They do this by earning points when they use real money to play poker on PartyPoker.com. Under the old rules, players earned one loyalty point for every $10 wagered on the site. But now, they earn 1 point for every $25 wagered. So far, it sounds like they’ve made it harder to get points – and therefore rewards.
They have also overhauled the progression of achieving new loyalty levels. The old system progressed from Bronze to Silver to Gold to Palladium to Palladium Elite. There have been some somewhat confusing changes to an already confusing loyalty structure. So to make this (somewhat) easier to understand, we’ve broken our explanation down by loyalty level.
Bronze: Nothing has changed in this tier. Players previously needed 0 points to qualify for the Bronze level, and the credit reward maximum at this level caps out at 6.7% of your total spending for that particular month. In the new program, this all remains the same.
Silver: Players on the website previously needed to accumulate 250 points in a calendar month to move up to the Silver level and earn a 15.4% loyalty reward. This number has since been reduced to 50 points per month – a 200 point drop from the previous program. Simply put, players will be able to reach this reward level (and its associated 8.7% max reward jump from Bronze) much faster than they could before.
Gold: The two highest levels of the loyalty program have the most notable changes. The points needed to achieve Gold loyalty level jumped from 500 points per month to 750 points per month. As well, it only has a 5% increase in maximum rewards compared to the Silver level, for a max reward of 20.5%. This point increase has made it harder for people to reach this reward level.
Palladium: The max level of the new reward program, Palladium, used to cost an already astounding 1000 points per month. The price has now doubled to 2000 points per month, for a max reward percentage of 30.7%. That’s a 10% increase from the level below. Again, you’ve got to spend a lot more money to hit this level now.
Also in the new program, the Palladium Elite loyalty level has been eliminated entirely.
If you need a more visual guide to these changes, check out this table from the PartyPoker website.
This new structure will undoubtedly help newer players jump up to the Silver reward level faster, with less money spent per month. However, it has a rather large impact on those players who like to spend more money online to get to those higher loyalty levels – and the bigger rewards that go along with it.
Recently, PartyPoker.com held a tournament for British citizens with pretty sizable winnings. A player from the United Kingdom named Adam Bone recently outlasted over 338 other players in a dusk to dawn tournament. Bone ended up winning over $3400 in addition to his team placing 4th overall, and receiving another $840, bringing his total to just over $4000. The interesting thing about this tournament and the winner is that he’s a director at a marketing company and not a professional poker player. More and more players winning these online poker tournaments are ordinary people who are making a pretty good living from it. The fact that it’s online also makes the bluff – a strategy lots of professional players hang their hats on – pretty much obsolete.
Another large change implemented in the Poker for the People campaign is that players have to wait until the first hand has been dealt to see the other opponents who are playing the hand and their associated cash totals. Before, players could see who is playing and how much money they have in their corners before joining. So now, instead of a Bronze level player getting intimidated by a Palladium player and quitting before the hand starts, everyone enters the game on a level playing field.
One change that might upset people playing with real money is that they now will most likely experience wait times. This change has been implemented to accommodate the players in the waiting room. Now, players will be chosen randomly from the queue whenever an empty seat opens up. Players will also be able to see their past year’s worth of hands and their histories, helping them see patterns and figure out new strategies.
Tony Dunst, a representative of PartyPoker, said, “These changes at PatyPoker are designed to create a more hospitable environment for recreational players”. This quote really hits home to the fans of online poker and its players. This should help attract new players who have the perception that online poker websites are for elite and wealthy players who know how to take advantage of novice and casual players.
The fact that the website is actively promoting new tournaments almost every month or so, and catering to the larger market of people who have a budget for gambling will certainly bring in higher profits and change the game of online poker sites. While some players will likely be upset at the changes, the people who have a curiosity and spare money might just want to give this website another look.
PokerStars, currently the world’s largest online poker company, has had a tough time getting into America over the past few years. The company took a major hit back in 2011 when it was sued by Manhattan prosecutors for operating an illegal gambling business. All of their US sites were shut down and the company founder, Isai Scheinburg, was indicted for the crime. Over the following years, PokerStars spent over $700 million to fight the case, and eventually The Department of Justice reversed their decision. They decided that one of the key laws they had used for the case did not in fact make the online site illegal. After the case was closed PokerStars was returned its right to operate within US borders.
Unfortunately, US regulators still did not want to accept PokerStars, saying that they had not faced the legal issues correctly. After pressure from Wall Street, Isai Scheinburg and his son finally sold the company to Amaya for $4.9 billion. This deal included rights for both the PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. Now Amaya, led by its CEO David Baazov has been trying to use its license to operate in the US and clear the name of the PokerStars brand. Last week Amaya finally got the go ahead from The New Jersey Division of Game Enforcement to offer internet gambling in the state under their PokerStars and Full Tilt brands. This caused Amaya Company stocks to increase by a whopping 14% last Thursday, a sure sign of the turnaround of the PokerStars name.
Not having the PokerStars titan in the game has had a major impact on the New Jersey poker market over these past few years, so having the company back should have a positive effect in the state. Either way it is great news for Amaya, as they had originally thought it would be easy to get NJ licensing after the buyout. Amaya is also making efforts to get online gambling legalized in California, which as one of the largest states would have a huge impact on the online gambling economy. Getting this initial foothold in New Jersey will go a long ways towards helping the company with their future advancement plans.
If you are looking for an opportunity to win big this fall, then you won’t want to miss the next Garden State Super Series (GSSS). The series runs from October 11-25 and consists of $800,000 of guaranteed prize money. It is hosted as a joint effort between BorgataPoker.com and Partypoker NJ. There are currently still only a few companies licensed to run online poker tournaments in New Jersey, so you won’t want to miss this one.
The GSSS has a wide array of events to meet the needs of all the different players who decide to attend. With buy-ins from as low as $20 all the way up to $1,060, both high and low-limit players will be satisfied. Events will be played in a variety of different formats, such as no-limit hold’em, fixed-limit hold’em, pot-limit Omaha, hi/low pot-limit Omaha, and seven-card stud. With all of the different events available there should be something for everybody. These events will give you a great chance to win big, and this year there are higher guarantees per event than ever before.
So What Are Some Of The Events Available?
As we have come to know from the past years, the GSSS highlights its main event, the GSSS #39 – NLH Main Event [Re-Entry]. This event will be on the final day of the tournament, October 25. For a $215 dollar buy-in you can participate in the biggest competition with a $150,000 guarantee. Use this chance to test your skills against some of the best players in New Jersey. If you come in near the top it will be well worth the effort.
Check out some of the other events that will be offered:
GSSS #2 – NLH (Sunday $50K Format) [Re-Entry]: $215 buy-in / 75,000 guarantee
GSSS #20 – NLH (Sunday $50K Format) [Re-Entry]: $215 buy-in / $100,000 guarantee
GSSS #21 – NLH Highroller: $500 buy-in / $50,000 guarantee
GSSS #40 – NLH Highroller [Re-Entry]: $1,000 buy-in / $75,000 guarantee
GSSS #42 – NLH: $20 buy-in / $5,000 guarantee
(For a full event list see nj.partypoker.com)
As you can see, different events are a good match for different types of players. If your limit for the event is $100, you can participate in a few different low-level buy-in events and still have fun and get a chance at winning some money. For people that are willing to risk more and join, let’s say, one of the high-roller events, then they have much better odds of winning. With fewer players participating in those type events you have a much better chance of victory, so it may be worth the risk. The question is this: do you want to spend a lot of money for a high chance at winning big or a little bit of money for a small chance of winning a small amount?
Most people tend to lean towards the latter. Ultimately the choice is up to you, but if you have the money you will be rewarded handsomely for participating in a high buy-in event. Golan Shaked, Director of Games at partypoker, says that “it is important to provide all types of players a fun poker experience in whichever event they play. The GSSS offers buy-ins from $20 to $1,060, so it is accessible to everyone.”
If you wish to participate in the event, you must be located in New Jersey. If you live just over the border, you can still join in but you will need to travel into New Jersey to compete in the events. Simply make an account at BorgataPoker.com or nj.partypoker.com to get started.
In a recent decision handed down by the Third Circuit of the US Court of Appeals, a New Jersey sports betting law was found to be in violation of federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) law.
New Jersey’s sports betting law, approved by Governor Chris Christie in 2014 and referred to as the “2014 Law,” eliminates restrictions on sports betting in some areas of the state, but does not explicitly authorize sports betting. The Third Circuit did not recognize this tactic and ultimately ruled that the law is in violation of PASPA.
The 2-1 decision handed down on Monday was in agreement with a lower court’s ruling on the same matter.
What is PASPA?
PASPA stands for Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Also known as the “Bradley Act,” it was passed in 1992 during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. In a nutshell, PASPA outlaws almost all sports betting nationwide. It also gives the National Football League (NFL), Major Baseball League (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) the authority to enforce the law by way of filing suit against those who violate it.
However, a few states with sports lotteries were grandfathered in and are not required to abide by PASPA. Nevada has had legal sports betting since the 1950s and is currently the only state to be fully exempt from PASPA. Three other states – Oregon, Montana and Delaware – are permitted to have a modified amount of sports betting. A main argument against PASPA is why only these states are allowed to have sports betting while it’s illegal for the rest of the nation. More on that later.
PASPA became effective on January 1, 1993. For a period of one year from that date, Congress allowed states that had been running licensed casinos for the previous ten years to put together their own laws that would legalize sports betting in their state. This grace period definitely applied to New Jersey, as the licensed gambling industry there had been around for much more than ten years. However, for one reason or another, New Jersey failed to act in time and lost their opportunity to legalize sports betting there.
This most recent attempt by New Jersey to make up for lost time in the sports betting world has failed. But to those champions of the gambling industry, this war is not yet lost.
What’s Next for New Jersey?
With this newest ruling, New Jersey’s options are wearing thin – but there are a few routes the state can take from here. First, they can request what is called an “en banc” motion. This means that the non-unanimous decision by the third circuit judges indicates that their ruling was controversial by nature, so New Jersey can request that all appellate judges from the third circuit court weigh in on the case. But there’s a good chance that it won’t even get that far, because the en banc motion itself has to be approved before any other judges can get their hands on it.
Another route New Jersey can take is to appeal to the US Supreme court. New Jersey tried to do this after the failure of a previous incarnation of the sports betting law, but the Supreme Court passed on the case. If they once again appeal, they have a slim but possible chance of having it heard this time around.
Barring both of these options, New Jersey may have to go back to the drawing board and hash out some new legislation that can get around PASPA legally. Or they could – dare we say – come up with a plan to have PASPA repealed. But calling that a major endeavor would be a gross understatement.
Food For Thought
One note of concern regarding this latest denial is the fact that one of the judges, Maryanne Trump Barry, is the sister of presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Trump has been a big name in the gambling world for a long time, and while he no longer owns any casinos in New Jersey, he is and will always be an influential player in the industry.
Trump Barry was one of the two judges who ruled that the 2014 law was in violation of PASPA. It’s hard to tell exactly which way Donald Trump leans on the sports betting issue. But if you think about it, wouldn’t it be a little naïve to assume that Trump’s own sister could remain completely objective when it comes to gambling matters? After all, Trump’s history with casinos is a long and storied one. It seems that would be difficult for him to be completely impartial the politics of it all.
If we get back to general opinions regarding PASPA, opponents of the law make a good argument by claiming that grandfathering in certain states is essentially discriminating against all the others that have to obey PASPA. Why should sports betting be either legal or illegal depending on where you live or travel? Federal laws should be applied to all American citizens equally, regardless of their current location. If there were such a thing as “geographic discrimination,” PASPA would fit the bill.
Another strong argument against PASPA is that by making sports betting illegal, it encourages people to seek out unscrupulous bookies and break the law anyway. According to a student journal from Stanford University, illegal sports betting in the U.S. accounts for up to $380 billion dollars EVERY YEAR. Not only is this money that every almost casino in America is missing out on, but in a world without PASPA, it’s money that could be gambled in a safe, regulated environment – and without any broken legs.
This ruling by the Court of Appeals is a major blow to New Jersey and sports betting enthusiasts everywhere. But as long as supporters of legal sports betting continue to be vocal and take action, there will always be a glimmer of hope.