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On May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled a 1992 ban on commercial sports betting violated the 10thAmendmentof the United States Constitution.  

States are now free to pass laws allowing any sports betting most lucrative to them—and this is the real bottom line…states starting with New Jersey want their piece of an estimated $150 billion annual haul in illegal sports betting.       

Until recently, the NCAA and professional leagues: NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, expressed a wariness of sports wagering.  But now the MLB and NBA are opening the way to legalized sports betting, including professional leagues investing in online gambling or fantasy sports websites.    

But sports betting is gambling kindergarten.  It’s how young people most often start gambling.     

Teens are nearly two and one-half times as likely to become compulsive gamblers as adults. Suicide rates are twice as high among teenagers with gambling problems.       

Sports betting is the easiest and quickest way for children and youth to begin gambling because it taps into athletics opportunities that are “everywhere.”  And because frequently they are emulating adults in their families who are already gambling on sports.    

Christians are getting sucked into the gambling vortex.  Some say, “There’s no Bible verse against gambling” or “Hey, it’s my money.”  But they forget that God requires us to be stewards of our time, talent, and treasure. He expects us to discern, to be a testimony to others, to handle our money in a way that honors him, and to never allow ourselves to be controlled by other than the Spirit of God. Christians riding along on the cultural wave have forgotten their theology and the record of church history. 

Christians who gamble, particularly ubiquitous sports wagering, are playing with fire.  It’s almost impossible not to get burned, via debt, compulsive if not addictive behavior, loss of pleasure in sports, broken relationships and more.    

Gambling is a slippery slope, and sports betting is the first rung on the slide.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2019   

*This blogmay be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with meat www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Fantasy sports websites have become a huge phenomenon in the past few years. So far, fantasy sports are legally considered games of skill - not chance - if they can be won by successfully utilizing superior knowledge of the players involved. But then again, pay-to-play sites take a piece of every payout, about $35 average per player per month.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 included “carve out” language that clarified the legality of fantasy sports.  By this definition, fantasy sports are not gambling.

FanDuel (2009) and Draftkings (2012) quickly became biggest online sites by using that carve-out language to create daily online fantasy sports games with cash prizes sometimes as high as $2 million.  In 2017, the two accounted for about 90 percent of the $320 million in revenue generated by fantasy sports.

Already the NBA, NHL, and MLB invest in fantasy sports websites.  More are coming.

So if fantasy sports is legally not gambling, can fantasy sports create addictive behaviors similar to what gambling can produce?  Yes, people who get deeply into fantasy sports report the same kinds of time-consuming, compulsive, debt-inducing behavior as gambling in casinos.  These fantasy fans talk about how their interest in sports was soon overwhelmed by their interest in the money.

For Christians, fantasy sports and its temptations are like anything else.  If we conclude the activity is not sin as such, then we must assure our engagement is a right use of our time, talent, and treasure, for all of which God holds us accountable.  

It’s possible to become addicted to just about anything.  It gets back to the heart more than the activity.  It’s God’s will that Christian submit themselves fully and only to the Spirit of God.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2019   

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with meat www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

May 14, 2018, in Murphy vs National Collegiate Athletic Associationthe United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which banned commercial sports betting in most states, violated the 10thAmendment to the United States Constitution.  

The Supreme Court majority argued the lawillegally empowered the federal government to order certain states to take specific actions to disallow sports gambling. In one opinion, the Supreme Court opened the biggest possible expansion of legalized betting in the US in years.

States are now set loose to pass laws allowing whatever sports betting seems most lucrative to them, and this is the real bottom line…states starting with New Jersey want their piece of an estimated $150 billion annual haul in illegal sports betting.  By legalizing sports betting, or as proponents call it “regulating” sports betting, state legislatures get the chance to funnel funds to their own coffers. And no question there’s a lot of moola out there with legal and illegal sports wagering biggest per year with the run up to the Super Bowl and during March Madness.

So far, states are supposedly considering licensing a limited number of companies to offer sports betting, within a limited number of forums. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and Mississippi will all likely open sports betting in the next twelve to twenty-four months. At this point, maybe 20 states are considering sports betting. More will jump on the new gravy train – for the record, gambling has been legal in Nevada since 1931, so even Nevada gambling houses will benefit as gambling goes mainstream.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has been the most stalwart in its opposition to legalized sports wagering. “Our highest priorities in any conversation about sports wagering are maintaining the integrity of competition and student-athlete well-being,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “Sports wagering can adversely impact student-athletes and undermine the games they play. We are committed to ensuring that laws and regulations promote a safe and fair environment for the nearly half a million students who play college athletics.”  Well said, but what now?

Along with the NCAA, at least until recently, professional leagues—NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL—have also been wary of sports wagering. They rightly remember the 1919 Black Sox scandal in which eight Chicago White Sox players were accused of losing on purpose, i.e. fixing the outcome of, the World Series, so the Cincinnati Reds would win and the players would earn gambling payouts. The Black Sox Eight were all banned from professional baseball and the Hall of Fame, a forerunner of Cincinnati Reds major leagues hit leader Pete Rose’s sports betting and subsequent 1989 banishment for life from major league baseball and the Hall of Fame.

The NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL seemed to support upholding the 1992 PASPA, supposedly fearing for the integrity of their sports—a legitimate consideration—until the NBA and MLB waffled in the end. But this said, none of the professional leagues are really threatened financially by the ruling and may even gain from it.  

And the MLB and NBA are open to legalized sports betting. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver became the first professional sports executive to suggest that sports betting should be legal. In November 2014, Silver wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times supporting sports wagering. MLB allows betting on Toronto Blue Jay games in Ontario. The NFL ignores betting on games played in London. 

Fantasy sports sights have become a huge movement in the past five years. So far, fantasy sports are legally considered games of skill - not chance - if they can be won by successfully utilizing superior knowledge of the players involved.  But pay-to-play sites take a piece of every payout, about $35 average per player per month.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 included “carve out” language that clarified the legality of fantasy sports. It was passed by Congress and signed into law on October 13, 2006. FanDuel and Draftkings the biggest online sites.  

FanDuel, 2009, and DraftKings, 2012, used that carve-out to create daily online fantasy sports games with cash prizes sometimes as high as $2 million. In 2017, the two accounted for about 90 percent of the $320 million in revenue generated by fantasy sports. Question now is, will fantasy sports players switch to online sports betting sites sure to be developed in the wake of the Murphy vs. NCAA ruling?

Already the NBA and NHL invest in fantasy sports (gambling?) websites—The NBA partnered with FanDuel, while Major League Baseball and the NHL joined DraftKings. 

Sports betting is like gambling kindergarten. It’s the easiest and quickest way for children and youth to begin gambling because it taps into athletics opportunities that are ubiquitous. Sports wagering, like most gambling, especially lotteries, tend to “tax” the poor rather than those with higher incomes, becoming a burden on already financially stressed families. And sports wagering robs the game, the sheer joy of competition, of its beauty, something sports has enjoyed back to the first Greek Olympics and before. People who get in deep, whether via fantasy sports sites or social gambling, testify to the change in their attitudes about the game, which goes from who is best and who wins to what has to happen for me to make good on my bet?

Most importantly, sports betting is a direct threat to the integrity of free and fair competition between individuals or teams on the court, course, field, pitch, or any other sports format. Without the sense that competition is indeed fair, played by the rules of good sportsmanship such that the best man or best woman or best team wins, sports becomes a charade, a silly act like professional wrestling. Sports becomes a joke. 

And let no one believe that somehow athletes, coaches, umpires and referees today have somehow become morally stronger since the Black Sox. No one is above the overwhelming temptation money presents.  Murphy vs. NCAA was ill-advised to say the least, and our culture and many families will pay the price.

 

Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2018   

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with meat www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

 

Gambling continues to plaque our society and my use of a word like "plague" gives away my perspective. Gambling is not a good thing in any way, shape, or form. It does not produce; it only takes. It does not build up; it tears down. Gambling is presented as "gaming," yet it's impact upon long-term gamblers, many who become "problem gamblers," is anything but fun and games. 

Ironically, no one knows this better than serious gamblers who will tell you, as they have me, "No one wins at gambling." In fact, likely the greatest cynics about gambling are those who operate casinos in places like Las Vegas. Their comments are devastating about the people they see come and go, people who lose not only their money but often their self-respect. This is true even if the people doing the losing are "Whales," the wealthy big fish the casinos like to hook because they lose so much and lose often.

Gambling is a time bomb in a pretty package. It may tick slowly for a given person, but it does tick and it will someday go off.

All this makes it especially perplexing to hear about Christians gambling or to hear some of them defend the practice as just so much harmless entertainment. With them I must respectfully disagree.  Gambling is a no-win proposition that undermines first a bank account, then social and/or professional relationships, then a life. And there is much in Scripture that speaks if not "about" gambling than certianly "to" gambling.

Here's more on the subject: 

 

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

Local communities continue to grab for the brass ring, their pot of gold at the end of a rainbow called casino gambling. Problem is, when they get there the pot of gold is either empty or being taken elsewhere. Gambling rarely if ever delivers the economic wellbeing communities expect.

Meanwhile gambling stimulates or at least makes more likely a long list of individual and social pathologies. These not-so-good spin-offs ("negative externalities," the economists call them) of gambling are rarely reported: higher rates of suicide and divorce, skyrocketing incidences of bankruptcy, job absenteeism, petty crime, and more. If these sorts of social indicators associated with gambling are not often reported, the costs incurred because of them in health care and criminal justice are even less often reported. If they were, if an accurate cost/benefit analysis could be honestly developed, it would most often demonstrate that casinos in the long run do not benefit local communities, a few constructions jobs in the beginning and a few card dealer jobs ongoing notwithstanding.

Here's more on community casinos:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.

 

Gambling continues to grow, though it slowed a bit during the last recession. More women are gambling, and some say they like slot machines because it's one of the few things they can do where they don't have to deal with men. 

But the growth of gambling is not good news. It's not an answer to our economic problems, and it is not a harmless game. Gambling is still threatening, economically for sure, socially or personally too. Gambling does not produce anything and contributes nothing of redeeming social value to our culture. And there's no such thing as luck.

Here are a few more thoughts on what's happening with gambling, a bad bet no matter how you cut the deck:

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/RexMRogers.