It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).
Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top stories, and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.
Final Thoughts on House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Sports Betting
Most of what we think to about the Thursday hearing, “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America” — its substance and highlights, exists this recap article.
The’s a few more thoughts here with the benefit of another couple days to reflect. First is that the hearings — in over a dozen states between January and June of this year — were much more substantive. In some but not all cases, that’s because lawmakers already had bills on the table for consideration. Witnesses generally were afforded more time to explain their positions and experiences, and have their statements seriously probed.
This hearing in Washington represented only the first couple chapters of the Sports Betting Cliffs Notes covering where the major stakeholders stand: states and state regulators, pro sports leagues, and the gaming industry. It was a popcorn movie 88 minutes long with 20 percent of the time belonging to a gambling prohibition absolutist witness, so expectations were low from the outset.
“One thing all of you agree on is that for Congress to do nothing is the worst possible alternative,” concluded, somehow, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, Jim Sensenbrenner.
At no time did American Gaming Association Senior Vice President of Public Affairs American Gaming Association (AGA), Sara Slane, or Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Becky Harris, indicate that Congressional action was an imperative. Exactly the opposite. Perhaps Sensenbrenner was tracking another hearing. Maybe he’s already decided that Congress simply must do something or make the appearance of an attempt.
“It is clear members have a long way to go in understanding legal, regulated sports betting in the United States,” said Representative Dina Titus (NV-1) of Las Vegas’ congressional district, following the hearing (Titus is not a member of the committee.) “I am glad Nevada Gaming Control Board Chair Becky Harris was there to provide some specifics about the system in Nevada that serves to protect consumers and keep the illegal market at bay. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that facts, not anti-gambling fear-mongering talking points, are driving this conversation, and I welcome members to come to Nevada to see how a system successfully regulated by a state operates.”
Later the Associated Press story circulated a story with the headline “Republicans Favor New Federal Regulation on Sports Gambling.” This headline overstates the amount of interest we actually witnessed, despite what Sensenbrenner said, or at least the body’s proximity to actually doing something.
The headline is rooted in that one inexplicable Sensenbrenner quote. People who only saw the headline will not appreciate the greater reality that “the prospect of federal action, however, is murky at best,” as the author says in the article.
Going back to the state-level hearings: Each state considering sports wagering already has a gaming commission or lottery commission or some established group of regulators coordinating resources. Some of these states have already legalized sports betting, others are devoting time over the summer to education and getting their stakeholders in a row. And states will keep moving forward, while the NFL will keep characterizing these efforts as “a regulatory race to the bottom.” Blame the media, demonize the states.
The NFL and other pro leagues have a few plays drawn up in the game plan and one will remain pushing through a “federal framework” that helps line their pockets through by forcing sportsbooks to pay for public domain data, which they have labeled and repackaged as “official league data.”
“I don’t see any state or the federal government having the appetite to get in the middle of what can be done in a commercial negotiation,” said Slane afterwards. “Nevada and other states and sportsbooks already purchase data. There’s no need to statutorily require it and give the leagues a monopoly on that.”
To be continued, probably in 2019.
ICYMI at Sports Handle this Week:
LOOKAHEAD LINES: NFL Week 4 Line Moves, Perception And Reality
More of the Most Important Stories in Sports Betting and Gaming:
GOLDEN STATE: Internal strife continues to keep California sports betting on the sidelines [CDC Gaming]
SABOTAGE: WV sports betting industry in a state of ‘chaos’ as showdown over league fees looms [US Bets]
PERSPECTIVES: Gambler X: Why I don’t like sports betting legalization [Chalk]
TICKER: How NFL’s House testimony affected gaming stocks [Investors]
A LA CARTE: NBA offering 4th-quarter PPV option in latest betting-friendly move [BetChicago]
FAREWELL: Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby resigns amid accusations [MassLive]
We're widely believed to be in a "gambling gold rush." So I ask the social media community what the best and worst things you've seen regarding how the mainstream outlets are electing to cover the industry?
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) September 27, 2018
In the Wider World of Sports:
GOOD QUESTION: Can the NFL back it way out of controversial roughing calls? [SI.com]
EXPECED ANSWER: Nope [PFT]
BRIGADES: Deadspin founder Will Leitch asks, ‘What Kind of Fresh Hell Is Barstool Sports?’ [NY Mag]
‘NEW’ MEDIA: Editor of Cleveland.com had a meltdown in an email to staff after a Cavs writer jumped ship to The Athletic [Awful Announcing]
Tweets of Note (That May Have Nothing To Do With Sports):
Wildly entertaining awkward moment when Rick Reilly asked Justin Thomas about his dad, who is definitely not a sportswriter. pic.twitter.com/LOoXSVlGYF
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) September 26, 2018
Deshaun Watson hung out with Mia Khalifa… tore his ACL
Reggie Bush dated Kim Kardashian… tore his ACL
Jimmy Garoppolo seen with Kiara Mia… and guess what he just tore today?
Fellas, if she on PornHub stay away from her 🤨
— LakeShowYo (@LakeShowYo) September 24, 2018
He's back!!! https://t.co/JxSP5Bhs5Y
— JNReports (@JNReports) September 26, 2018
Check Out Our Latest Episodes from “The Pro Football Handle” and “Cover City:”
Have a great weekend, everybody.