Could we soon bet on Baseball in NJ like we can on Online Poker?

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
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Historically speaking, the USA has always had a complicated relationship with the world of online gambling. Some states deem it illegal altogether and others have somewhat vague rules on which online gambling opportunities are considered legal. In the coming months, the state of New Jersey could lead the way for new betting opportunities on sports.

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Over the last few years, there has been a lot of legal back and forth over the issue of sports betting in this state. This has culminated in a big legal battle, with the outcome as yet undecided. So far, we’re hearing a lot of pros and cons of bringing this kind of gambling to the states in earnest.

In 2011, the people of New Jersey voted for the right to gamble on sports. This was an amendment to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which was passed back in 1992. At this time, five of the major sports leagues of the US took the decision to sue the state of New Jersey.

Now, the case is finally moving forward, with a decision expected to be returned in mid-2018. Though the current president has come out as saying he supports the introduction of a regulated gambling body for sports, some believe that New Jersey doesn’t have a chance of winning the legal battle. This is a tough issue and the Supreme Court will feel all eyes upon them as they push the decision through.

How will this Influence the Industry?

Not only will this be a highly publicised and intriguing trial to watch, it’s also likely to have a knock-on effect across the states. Not only will it affect the gambling industry as we know it, it may also be cited as a legal precedent in upcoming cases. These big legal decisions tend to rock the boat as it were and go down in history.

Everything from gambling to the use of medicinal marijuana could be impacted by the outcome of the proceedings. The Supremacy Clause of the constitution could simply override the amendment, as the government essentially has final say on these matters. However, the people of the state voted in favour of the amendment, so this could also be seen as a breach of their rights if the government was to interfere.

The issue is incredibly complex and it will take a long time for the Supreme Court to come to a decision. With oral arguments on the case only just beginning, there is a long road ahead. We’d enjoy being able to bet on our favourite sports, including baseball leagues, but there are many pros and cons to this wedge issue.

Other forms of Gambling in New Jersey

As far as states go, New Jersey is actually quite liberal when compared to more conservative states. This state already allows a couple of forms of gambling online, though sports betting is a no go for the moment. Many cited the fact that gambling on online poker was already permitted in the state, so why would sports betting carry different terms?

Part of the reasoning that allowed for online poker to become legal was that it is a game of skill, rather than a game of luck. As evidenced by the plethora of strategy guides out there, like the exceptionally helpful, players can turn their luck around on this game.

This is a reasonable case to be made for betting on sports too, if you’re a baseball fanatic and know the game really well then you’re more likely to pick the correct outcomes. If you spend a lot of time following news of certain player and this helps you to determine the outcome, this could be classed as a skill in itself.

This is a tricky distinction for legislators to make, as all games can technically contain an element of skill. The values that influenced the banning of betting in the first place aren’t necessarily relevant to this day either. This decision will likely be the first of many as the landscape changes and the American people wish to decide whether they would like to bet or not.

The Case For and Against

It’s clear to see that there are good arguments from both sides of the case. The target audience for gambling on sports and poker appears to be quite similar, as other countries that allow both have found out. Through taxation, these countries have been able to earn taxes back and put this back into the game. Sponsorship deals from gambling-related firms have also brought money to the teams and allowed the game to be improved.

Unfortunately, there’s always a downside for players and gamblers. Match-fixing plagues countries that offer sports-based gambling and this has a very real effect on the game. We’d like to keep baseball as pure as possible, without the possibility of players throwing games in order to make a profit on betting. It is a sad reality that this does happen and we’d hate to see it happening within baseball too.

Then we also have the issue of problem gambling, with those that may not be tempted by poker possibly tempted by sports betting instead. In other countries, there are responsible gambling messages and charities set up for this purpose, but it does eat into the potential profits that the government can make from taxation.

In any case, the decision won’t be a quick one and potential bettors will be eagerly waiting to learn the result. It’s clear to see that the decision handed down at the end of this trial will have far-reaching effects. Will New Jersey residents get their way or will the government intervene to prevent this amendment from passing?

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

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