Happy Monday. Open Your Eyes.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
It’s an important day for one of the more interesting stories that has flown below the mainstream radar this year – the potential legalization of sports betting in the United States. The case, which could lead to less guilt for people secretly collecting their March madness winnings and give more people a reason to actually watch the Cleveland Browns, is in the Supreme Court today.
The Supreme Court today heard oral argument in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, a constitutional challenge to the federal ban on sports betting. That’s Christie as in Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, where the case originated.
Several observers tweeted and/or wrote that just listening – it sounded like the justices were uncomfortable with the federal ban:
Oral arguments completed in Christie v. NCAA case in Supreme Court. Hard to read tea leaves but initial impression: a good day for the future of sports betting in New Jersey and perhaps, other states behind them.
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) December 4, 2017
The Associated Press’ Jessica Gresko – Hi Jessica – (former colleague) also thinks the justices sounded like they may side with New Jersey.
The NCAA is the defendant because it has, along with major professional sports leagues, gone to court to block New Jersey from trying to legalize sports betting. If New Jersey wins, the federal ban could fall, allowing any state to legalize betting. The federal ban, known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, which passed back in 1992, grandfathered in four states where sports betting was already legal at the time – that’s why some kinds of sports bets have been legal in Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana. But New Jersey could have gotten an exemption, but didn’t pass legislation to permit sports betting in time. And when the state tried to legalize it later, this suit was the result. (One possible, though seemingly unlikely, scenario – according to some legal academics – instead of allowing New Jersey and other states to legalize sports betting, the suit could end up ending the exceptions for Nevada and the other states.)
While pro leagues are party to the suit on the NCAA’s side, they have been cautiously easing up on their firewall stance against the bettors. Leagues have partnered with daily fantasy sports companies, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has argued in favor of legalizing sports betting. (Why? Maybe the NBA Wants To Cash In, of Course) For a good overview of the shift in thinking on sports betting, read Sports Illustrated’s story this week by Andrew Brandt, who taught sports law.
For more on this case, I suggest also reading the Scotusblog preview of it (even though arguments have already been held), and the coverage in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which for obvious reasons is following closely.
Also, Dustin Gouker, writing in Legal Sports Report, asks whether the odds for legal sports betting got better or worse today.
— Legal Sports Report (@LSPReport) December 4, 2017
Bonus Picture – Doing research on Chris Christie and Sports brings up perhaps the most unflattering picture of the down-on-his-poll-numbers New Jersey governor I’ve ever seen. Dude, you’ve got to shift your weight back, and then push forward as you swing. Your weight is totally all wrong here. (in a baseball swing sense, of course).
OTHER STORIES WORTH WATCHING THIS WEEK
ONE INTERESTING STORY YOU MAY NOT HAVE SEEN
At the end of last week, a car company announced it plans to have a whole lot of driverless cars on the road, doing rideshare pickups by this time in 2019. We’re less than two-years away from the future. And who is this high tech company that is about to change the rideshare landscape? Tesla? Google? Nope.
It’s Chevy. As in tail fins and American Graffiti, Corvettes and Camaros. My grandma’s Impala.
PERSPECTIVE ON THE CVS-AETNA DEAL FROM NYT
Also, you no doubt did notice over the weekend that CVS moved to buy Aetna, to create a one-stop health-care product stop – or as the CVS CEO called it, “a new front door to health care.”
WINKLEVOSS BITCOIN BILLION (If you read that headline five years ago, it would be complete gibberish)
And finally: Still not paying attention to Bitcoin? The Winklevoss twins (the guys who tried to buy Facebook), now have a Bitcoin portfolio worth more than $1 billion. In actual dollars. (Forbes)