Friday, November 14, 2014

The Chutzpah of the NY Times and NBA Commissioner

In its wisdom, the New York Times gave the commissioner of the NBA a platform to discuss the value in legalizing sports gambling. Gambling should be monitored and regulated. This is more a formalization of modern gambling, as the online gambling capabilities makes gambling all too easy. Even before the Internet, gambling was pretty easy even in small, rural Maine towns. If there is an elite desire to make it legal, it must be because the technology is now there to let large technology, media and financial syndicates run a nationwide gambling network on a massive scale. NBA commissioner Adam Silver decided to come out in favor of legalized sports gambling in today’s NYT.  This takes some huevos – he’s still part of the suit against the state of NJ to legalize sports betting in that state. I am using Twitter crank @klejdys  to help go over this piece of trash editorial for shits and giggles.  Silver's editorial is in grey, Klejdys in blue, and your humble blog host SOBL in red.

BETTING on professional sports is currently illegal in most of the United States outside of Nevada. I believe we need a different approach.
·         Maybe, depends on your perspective.  And if Silver’s numbers are accurate ($400bn!), there’s going to be a lot of different people w/ stakes on a potential legalization.  Who/whom, of course.  But let’s not be fooled – the claws are out for the stupid who don’t know math.  Especially if you believe, as I do, that gambling is a tax on the stupid. 

For more than two decades, the National Basketball Association has opposed the expansion of legal sports betting, as have the other major professional sports leagues in the United States. In 1992, the leagues supported the passage by Congress of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or Paspa, which generally prohibits states from authorizing sports betting.
·         There was no internet in 1992.  And no one had ever heard of an offshore sportsbook.  But if a guy wanted to get down, he had to have a guy (Vinny!) or live in Nevada.  Many people had “guys”.
  • Old high school bud is a "guy". When one of the local bookies died ten years ago, he assumed pieces of that guy's book. He keeps me up to date on which one of our classmates is now a degenerate gambler and who is in trouble.
But despite legal restrictions, sports betting is widespread.
·         The internet is best.  No joke.  Your local Vinny probably doesn’t think so, though, assuming he still books.  But if he does, he probably has a website, even if he just steals lines from huge offshore books like Pinnacle or Bookmaker.
It is a thriving underground business that operates free from regulation or oversight.
·         Like, duh, obviously.  That may explain its growth, choices and popularity.
Because there are few legal options available, those who wish to bet resort to illicit bookmaking operations and shady offshore websites.
·         If our government wouldn’t arrest or shut down US facing books, perhaps the dominant and reputable books would allow US customers to join.  Silver is white-knighting here.
  • Have you looked at Silver? Can we call it American Gothicing, not white knighting?

There is no solid data on the volume of illegal sports betting activity in the United States, but some estimate that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year. Times have changed since Paspa was enacted. Gambling has increasingly become a popular and accepted form of entertainment in the United States.
·         Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder was popular in 1983, Adam. He had a seat next to Irv Cross and Brent Musberger on CBS’ NFL Today for one hour before the start of NFL games.  Newspapers like Buffalo News where I grew up published not only lines on all the games of the day, but over/under totals.  In the 1980s.  This is flim-flam. Gambling has always been popular.  Only now do Silver’s bosses’ want to get their piece of it.
  • I have a movie idea set up of a Musberger character who becomes a degenerate gambler and his redemption over the course of one BCS championship telecast but the run up is his life in review. Holy shit, here it is.

Most states offer lotteries. Over half of them have legal casinos. Three have approved some form of Internet gambling, with others poised to follow.
·         The government allows lotteries to separate stupid people from their money and then wraps themselves in the fig leaf of “funding education” after they do it.  Horse racing has been legal for 9 decades because the state gets a huge part of the till (15-20% generally in the “Win” pool) in the pari-mutuel betting format.  You can have gambling, you just have to cut the state, and now, NBA owners, into the profits.  This will happen.  There is too much money at stake.  We’ve established you’re all whores, now we just need to know what it’s going to cost us.

There is an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events. Mainstream media outlets regularly publish sports betting lines and point spreads.

·         LOL, for like 50 years Adam.  How nice of you to notice.

·         Here is the even weirder thing about Silver's essay. He mentions maintaining the integrity of the game, but what sport has had more run ins with fixes or allegations in recent years? Basketball. Point shaving is serious business and far easier to do. Donaghy was explicit in his book and elsewhere how refs could manipulate the flow of the game or foul shots to pump up the score. What sport has the highest percentage of bankrupt former athletes? Basketball. Aging starters worried about money will make juicy targets. A 3 point specialist can have an off night and whoops, things happen. Coordination between the biggest sports books and a ref or a player is easy enough now with throwaway phones and texting, but what happens when the gambling is all legal so tracking calls has less of a cause for alarm?

Voters in New Jersey overwhelmingly voiced their support for legal sports betting in a 2011 referendum.
·         It’s the 2-5% of addicts who ruin the fun of the 95% who just want to get down on the Colts -3 v. the Pats Sunday night.  Sound like alcohol, cocaine and every other “vice” that has existed for centuries.  Someone remind Adam that the Roman guards “cast lots” for Jesus’ garments in AD 33.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey recently signed a billauthorizing sports betting at local casinos and horse racetracks, a law the N.B.A. and other leagues have opposed — and a federal court has blocked — because it violates Paspa. Outside of the United States, sports betting and other forms of gambling are popular, widely legal and subject to regulation. In England, for example, a sports bet can be placed on a smartphone, at a stadium kiosk or even using a television remote control.
·         Stadium kiosk?  Hmmm…wonder who will get a piece of that, Adam.

In light of these domestic and global trends, the laws on sports betting should be changed.
·         Welcome to the party.  Guess the rising cost of franchises and the resultant debt to finance those purchase these teams in the “live sports bubble” means owners are now amenable to “alternative” revenue streams.  Hope you enjoy ads on jerseys, too, suckers. 

Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.
·         You’re half right.  The federal government will fuck it up, as they do everything.  But you keep dreaming.

These requirements would include: mandatory monitoring and reporting of unusual betting-line movements; a licensing protocol to ensure betting operators are legitimate; minimum-age verification measures; geo-blocking technology to ensure betting is available only where it is legal; mechanisms to identify and exclude people with gambling problems; and education about responsible gaming.

·         You’re no fun, Adam.  Let the free market work and in five years, you’d have mom and pop shops competing with Wal-Bet for your wager.  Let the gambler have some choice and a thousand economic flowers will bloom.  Or let the gubmint run in and it will be a bunch of plutocrats siphoning money out of the pot.  Don’t worry, I know the free market has no shot here.  I am the one being delusional now, but I don’t care.  Having fedgov run this will be a disaster.  Pass it to the states at the very least. (10th Amendment, por favor?)

·         No neighbor bookie means a worse deal for gamblers. Those addicts will just have debts they will get taken to court over rather than the old way where an elderly couple sells off their home and as part of the equity check is cut, they send it to Junior to pay Mickey the bookie. Is the gain taking it out of the shadows, but the informal collection process gave someone an edge, what is the gain really? Gamblers who shirk debts, eventually get beat or find a new bookie and if they continue that pattern, they run out of bookies or get a visit from a higher up that demands a fix. Shifting gambling to a firm with the backing of JPMorganChase, YahooSports and Paypal or Apple just sounds like a recipe for disaster. Lawyers will have fun with more work.

Without a comprehensive federal solution, state measures such as New Jersey’s recent initiative will be both unlawful and bad public policy.
·         False, but whatever. 

Let me be clear:
·         When in doubt, quote POTUS before summarizing your argument
  • What if "Let me be clear" if the new pussy speak for these mandarins?

Any new approach must ensure the integrity of the game.

One of my most important responsibilities as commissioner of the N.B.A. is to protect the integrity of professional basketball and preserve public confidence in the league and our sport. I oppose any course of action that would compromise these objectives.
·         Tim. Fucking. Donaghy.  The balls on this guy.
·         I think the Jews call it chutzpah. Besides a further push to normalize gambling beyond casinos in every state and poker mania, did the NY Times think it odd to allow the NBA commissioner to speak on the subject just a few years removed from an NBA referee being busted for gambling on games? Tim Donaghy wrote a book on the NBA's shady moves, which instead of being laughed at and brushed off by the NBA was squashed from publication by Commissioner David Stern. This is the sports executive figure they used? Silver is the darling of the media right now because he slayed the Sterling dragon. At least ESPN, which defacto owns the NBA due to tv rights deals, told me that Silver is super awesome and made super smart moves to get rid of Sterling immediately, even if Sterling was declared incompetent to finalize the team sale yet he was competent enough for his vaguely "racist" comments to cause the stripping of ownership. Silver is the chosen mouthpiece for far greater economic interests.

But I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.

·         Of course you do.

There’s a proper solution here if you’re going to go full bore legalization and that is to let the market give the gambler the best odds by letting betting shops run their own system.  The poseurs will give way to the best firms, consolidation will occur naturally and my guess is you’d have several well-heeled competitors competing with local joints and on-line for your money.  You can’t beat that. But my guess we’ll get a government cartel, likely licensing out a few competitors to operate while they kickback a large portion of their earnings to pols and the leagues.  That cartel will offer (lazy) gamblers bad deals and force punters into still using online books who will likely be pursued by gov’t entities, putting them out of business for competing US government licensees.  If you think of it the way as “rogue” states going to gold & silver over the US dollar hegemony, you’re not too far off here. (Invade the terrorists!)  For serious gamblers, legalization might be a case of “be careful what you wish for”.  For those bad at math, have one hand on your wallet.  You’re the ones Adam Silver and his government “solutions” are coming for.
Cross posted at SWPL Sports Review


nikcrit said...

I gamble. and it's probably in one of the dumbest forms: i bet only on 'my' teams and rarely give or take 'odds.'

And this casual 'betting' can sometimes run upwards of a few hundred bucks per-month, though i know on the scale of today's vice and excess, that's really not much at all.

to me, it's a compensatory vice; one that keeps myself and others from indulging more, ummm, ingestible vices that are mainly associated with youth and younger adulthood.

PA said...

to me, it's a compensatory vice

Every man is entitled to one vice. Mine is craft beers on weekends. An old friend and I head out to one of many venues in the area and talk about anything and everything, eventually segueing to 'alt-right' politics.

My homeroom teacher in middle school sat me--a nervous skinny foreign kid who spoke rudimentary English--next to him when I arrived in the US back in the early 80s and we've been buds ever since. Only one fistfight between us, which was in November of 1992.

Looking forward to an imperial stout tomorrow. Gambling was never my thing though.

peterike said...

PA, you've been to Torst, yes?

I never gamble. I find it boring and stupid. My particular "vice" is spending hundreds of dollars on dinner. Which may be stupid, but it's not boring.

As for the new Rabbi of the NBA talking up gambling... well hell, if people really ARE spending $400 B a year on it, that's gotta get taken over. Can't let all that delicious money go to waste. Just as the gubmint is now steadily taking over the marijuana business, they can take over gambling too (the parts they don't already run).

I expect that soon enough we'll get a push to legalize prostitution as a women's rights issue (one I would be in favor of myself). Since the government continues to crush the earning power of the white middle class, they have to re-coup that lost tax money from somewhere.

So the guv currently makes money on tobacco, booze, gambling... how many vices are left that aren't already feeding the pigs?

PA said...

PA, you've been to Torst, yes?

I don't know what Torst is. Google shows it's in Manhattan. My father-in-law flies in soon to stay with us for a bit, and we'll take a look when we visit NYC. I live near the Beast on the Potomac though, not in New York.

But to the NYC beer aficionados, I recommend Barcade in Brooklyn.

nikcrit said...

My particular "vice" is spending hundreds of dollars on dinner. Which may be stupid, but it's not boring.

OK. That's fine for now; every recovery needs to take that gentle first step when it comes to personal reckoning....lolzz!

peterike said...

Ahh PA, I thought you lived in the city. This is Torst.

Notice the beer taps along the back are all the color of the beer they pour.

@Nikcrit: "every recovery needs to take that gentle first step when it comes to personal reckoning.... lolzz!"

Hah! Well I don't WANT to recover!

nikcrit said...

This is the sports executive figure they used? Silver is the darling of the media right now because he slayed the Sterling dragon. At least ESPN, which defacto owns the NBA due to tv rights deals, told me that Silver is super awesome and made super smart moves to get rid of Sterling immediately, even if Sterling was declared incompetent to finalize the team sale yet he was competent enough for his vaguely "racist" comments to cause the stripping of ownership. Silver is the chosen mouthpiece for far greater economic interests.

I think you guys overlook something that's quite apparent: while your interpretation of events serve your alt-right conspiracy theories, the more neutral and obvious rationale for things happening the way the did is 'it's because of the financial interests involved,' etc. I mean, say what you will about Sterling being falsely and hypocritically vilified; the bottom line is that his actions would've created a real and genuine financial debacle had his deed not initiated an official response.

You acknowledge as much in your 'far greater financial interests' remark ---- but seem to imply there's a hypocrysy in their not being upfront about their financial interest, but instead puffing about the Sterling dragon before slayin it.
Well, what corporate interest in America that you know of would've handled it differently; there is NAM consumer interest to protect here that is NOT negligible.

nikcrit said...


here's a link that proves that you guys are just a bunch of petty, overcritical raycists.... one of your icons and figureheads even says so! lolzzzz!

Toddy Cat said...

"you guys are just a bunch of petty, overcritical raycists"

Nonsense. I'm an ordinate, properly critical rayciss...