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Supreme Court Opens Door for the Sports Book
Murphy vs. NCAA, the sports book and you.
Ahh, Daily Fantasy Sports. That fine line between playing the sports book and playing a game of skill. It's a great pastime with the knowledge that the money paid will probably be lost.
To call DFS anything other than gambling is silly at best, but it took some doing to make sure that it didn't violate state and federal laws about the sports book. In 1992, the federal government made a law that no state other than Nevada could have a full-out sports book. States could not allow gambling on sports, nor implement or collect taxes on the bookmakers. This law was, in name, to protect the integrity of sport, but was more or less a codifying of how "gambling is wrong." However, it did not take the right of Nevada to continue to run legal books in the casinos.
Twenty-five years later, the Supreme Court struck that law down. This means, effective immediately, it is possible for states to legalize and tax the sports book. This is great news for several reasons. First, as anyone who has ever gambled on the horses knows (sorry, a reference to my home town), games become much more exciting when you've got skin in the game. Secondly, it should run illegal bookmakers out of business and collect state revenue from the bets taken by the house.
Obviously, there are some concerns. Point-shaving and bribes could happen, but I'm nearly certain that they occur under the current law. Illegal books tend to be run by dangerous guys, so I would not be surprised at all. Secondly, sports gambling -- and all gambling, really -- can be addicting, and have a tremendous impact on the gambler's life if they are not careful. However, to inject legislation that bans all addictive vices would leave us with a very boring world indeed.
Are there issues with the Supreme Court's ruling? Yes. However, it allows the states to regulate if they want to allow the sports book within their borders. Should people bet on baseball? In my opinion, baseball is such a crazy game, and one where literally anything can happen, that gambling on baseball is a losing game. But this is America, and state's willing, people should have the right to gamble on baseball legally if they want.
The NCAA considers daily fantasy sports tantamount to sport betting.