Match fixing, bribery, extortion! Corruption! Has the Supreme Court opened Pandora’s Box of illicit activity with Monday’s historic ruling?
In case you’re living under a rock, SCOTUS decided that the 1992 federal anti-sports gambling law is unconstitutional, which now gives individual states the right to allow sports betting. That’s a win for the 10th Amendment type who wants the independence to spend his or her own money as they see fit, while the federal government focuses on more important things, like governing the country. I think we call those people Libertarians. Or are they moderate Republicans? Actually, I’ve been told by the comments section to stick to sports, so let’s stick to sports before we anger the “Paul Jolovitz Fan Club President.”
You’ll see states begin to roll out programs immediately while leagues like the NBA look to monetize the ruling. It makes sense for every organization to embrace this and find ways to turn the inevitability into a positive, but the NFL seems committed to being a bit hard-headed, at least for now:
NFL sticking with their position that, above all, sports gambling is harmful to its game. pic.twitter.com/IXVqwL4BJQ
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 14, 2018
My first thought is that legalized sports betting will bring new audiences to the game, much like fantasy football did for the NFL. People who otherwise did not give a shit about the Jaguars vs. the Titans would at least tune in to see whether Blake Bortles would throw three touchdowns or three interceptions. Likewise, people who don’t care about the WNBA or MLS might explore a lower-level league in an effort to unearth a money-making strategy. Maybe the degenerate who frequents SugarHouse Casino might put their money into sports instead of Craps once Pennsylvania rolls out a program.
The flip side is that some people think this opens the door for more scandal from within. More Pete Rose types. Think about the NWSL player who only makes $55,000 a year who might be enticed by the ability to bet against herself and then half-ass the on-field effort. Think about the referees who could exhibit a tight whistle or just not blow it at all in the dying seconds of a close game.
The short answer to all of that is that corruption already exists in sports and always has. I mentioned Rose. How about Havertown’s very own Tim Donaghy?