We’ve made the point before but had yet to see it articulated like this by one of the professional sports leagues: If state legislation or regulations limits sports betting to on-premises only at a physical property, and requires people to go casinos/sportsbooks to register for or fund their accounts, that’s an invitation people to stay in or join the black market for sports betting.
PGA Tour Vice President and Assistant General Counsel David Miller on Tuesday addressed this on a panel focusing on sports wagering and data rights at the Hashtag Sports sports media innovation event in New York City. Miller identified mobile wagering as one of the “five main things we’re looking at in legislation that we’re advocating for,” along with Major League Baseball and the NBA.
“It’s not realistic to think that people will go to casinos to fund their accounts or to bet,” Miller explained. “It’s going to happen on phones, and you’re not going to eliminate the illegal market if it’s limited to physical casinos only.”
While Some States Go the Other Way, PGA Tour Recognizes That Legal Sports Betting Without Mobile Wagering, or Betting On-Premises Only, Is a Bad Idea.
— Hashtag Sports (@HashtagSports) June 26, 2018
He’s right. Things that (many) people use their phones to do in 2018: deposit checks into their bank account or send money to a friend via Venmo; change the temperature in their home — from miles away — using a device such as a Nest thermostat; video chat with friends or family anywhere; and for the action movie crowd — set off an explosive device.
Among the first wave of post-PASPA states that will launch sports betting, both Rhode Island and Mississippi will limit sports betting to on-premises, period. Mississippi is a rural state with casinos crowded along the Gulf Coast. You think Brett in Hattiesburg is going to take a 150-mile round trip to Biloxi on a Saturday morning to make a wager on a college football game?
Rhode Island will follow this model, while fellow first-movers New Jersey and West Virginia will take the other, smarter tact, and allow people to wager on apps/online remotely and register remotely as well.
We spend a lot of time here maligning the leagues for trying to skim money from states and sports betting licensees (#integrityfee), but from time to time they do call out bad law (as the NFL did in Pennsylvania) for policy measures that would mutually benefit themselves, states, and operators.
On that point, stop the video before Miller goes on to ask for a sports betting royalty.