Just kidding. Chris Christie’s request to permit legal sports betting in the Garden State. That sounds a lot like betting on games–but then again, who are we to question the wisdom of Congress?
Editor’s note: Danny Cevallos is a CNN legal analyst, criminal defense attorney and partner at Cevallos & Wong, practicing in Pennsylvania and the U.S. That was challenged by the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, and the federal government in federal court. Pal, you’re in your pajama pants and slippers, out in public, at noon on a weekday: Your “lucky numbers” are anything but “lucky.” Time for some new lucky numbers, and a job.
While the Garden State has a “moral” dilemma, the leagues’ position remains the same: the 3rd Circuit decision doesn’t guarantee them any profit, so they will continue to oppose sports betting as they have so far in this case.
So then, can sports betting become morally and legally acceptable in New Jersey, where the government is prohibited from licensing or sponsoring it? Traditionally, gambling has only been legal when the government can profit, but the governor and his attorney general have apparently decided that a devastating loss of jobs in Atlantic City justifies forgoing money in the coffers.
Crimes, on the other hand, are wrongs committed against another person, or society as a whole–by definition, damaging another person’s body or property.
That question might have been answered in the negative, if Atlantic City had not suffered big declines in the profits of casino businesses in 2013. As it stands, a federal court of appeals has struck down a New Jersey law repealing a sports betting ban. Virgin Islands.
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The nice thing about vices is that as they become more widespread, popular acceptance eventually overrides the law. Follow him on Twitter: @CevallosLaw. Marijuana has become legal over time by slowly gaining ground, until users–and states–openly flouted federal criminal law. It’s all about money.
By this logic, New Jersey could pass a law making sports betting legal in a casino, so long as the state had no part in regulating it. But the government is happy to take your money on that bet.
New Jersey passed a 2012 state law legalizing sports betting in the state. Don’t believe me? Fantasy sports–gambling havens of their own–are legal, and now an industry.
Whether it’s outlawing drugs, prostitution, even alcohol Prohibition, making vices illegal is problematic because it’s illogical. The court voided the New Jersey law, finding it was pre-empted by the federal law.
(CNN) — As a society, it seems we’ll always struggle with our vices. Meanwhile, if you would like to buy a lottery ticket, those odds on the Powerball are about a bajillion-to-one. Believe me, if Apple figures out a way to fit prostitutes with one of those Square credit card readers for the iPhone to automatically deduct sales taxes and Social Security, well, just get ready for the UberEscort app is all I’m saying.
It has often been said that vice crimes are “victimless,” because each one of them involves a deliberate choice to inject, fornicate, snort or swill to the detriment of one person: the person with the bad habit.
The pro teams and leagues must be furious, right? Well, actually no. Vices are personal choices made that harm one’s own body or property.
Confused? You should be. It’s in Christie’s interest — and that of New Jersey — to revive the casino industry.
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The sooner the leagues figure out an infrastructure that siphons revenue from Grandpa Vito’s nasty penchant for blowing his pension check on the ponies, sports betting will magically become OK with pro sports. When gambling is profitable to these entities and interest groups, it’s legal. It’s the ultimate hypocrisy to suggest that there’s something evil about putting 50 bucks on the Eagles to cover the spread: a close to 50/50 wager. They care about money. When someone else is making the profits, it’s magically illegal. Prohibition didn’t work because we didn’t accept it. What a surprise: In states where it is now legal it is taxed and regulated.
Trump Plaza is one of the Atlantic City casinos that has shut down.
Make no mistake, the only reason lotteries are legal is because the government gets to wet its beak. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has conceded what the rest of us have known for a long time: Legal sports gambling is inevitable.. That put Christie in a bit of a pickle: Is there any point in legalizing sports wagering if the state doesn’t get a piece of the pie?
The federal government and an association of sports leagues are opposing this move to legalize sports betting. The NFL, for example, runs its own fantasy leagues, and licensed use of any NFL products is an additional revenue stream. Our governments are less morally conflicted, it seems.
Placing a bet with your bookie at the bar is outlawed, but not because it’s intrinsically immoral. As long as the state offers some flimsy pretext about the money going to schools or senior citizens, we the people are placated.
Basically, if a state law conflicts with a federal law, and the federal exercise of power in that area is valid, the state law loses. The court held the state law conflicted with federal law, called PASPA, which prohibits engaging in a sports gambling scheme “pursuant to state law.”
Of course, supporters of vice prosecution argue that the individual’s addiction or bad decisions always have an indirect collateral effect on society as a whole: Drugs and prostitution ruin neighborhoods, while booze and cigarettes impose a health care cost borne by all of us.
Sports wagering is probably next. Another way the NFL benefits massively from fantasy sports.
And then there’s gambling.
Which means — and this is confusing — sports betting may be legal in New Jersey.
Here’s the fascinating part about the New