REMOVE HYPOCRISY FROM U.S. ONLINE GAMBLING LAWS
Competitive Enterprise Institute appeals for a fresh look at gambling laws.
The indefatigable Michelle Minton of the non-profit public policy organisation Competitive Enterprise Institute has produced another study on the apparent hypocrisy of US online gambling laws, titled Game Changer and appealing for a fresh look at the inconsistent nature of existing legalization.
Reporting on the new study over the weekend, the Pennsylvanian newspaper Tribune Review quotes Minton, who says that the debate over whether Daily Fantasy Sports are games of chance or games of skill should trigger a new look at gambling laws across the United States.
“Gambling, whether on the lottery, at the casino, or betting online on the big game, is a legitimate means of recreation,” Minton claims. “Rather than enforcing subjective morality or trying to protect people from themselves, modern gambling regulation should treat citizens as adults, restore individual choice, protect consumers from crime and preserve the right of states to regulate and profit from gambling activities within their borders.”
The Game Changer study found that Americans spend about $3 billion a year on DFS, and bills to legalise or regulate the vertical have been proposed in 32 US states.
And it notes that traditionally anti-gambling professional sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, have become partners with or are invested in DFS operators.
Minton points out that whilst the debate on DFS has centred on whether it is a game of chance or skill, the real issue is the hypocrisy of state lawmakers in deciding which forms of gambling are acceptable and which are not.
“It is absolutely time to get rid of that (skill-or-chance) designation. It doesn't matter,” she argues, observing that while legislators claim they must protect consumers and guard against problem gambling, they "often allow people to gamble as much as they want on games that have the absolute worst odds, like the lottery.”
And, she claims, lawmakers treat people as if they don't have the intelligence to determine what kind of gambling they can engage in and when it's time to stop.
Minton recommends that individual states should regulate DFS, but that Congress should repeal the controversial federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which restricts sports betting to just four states.
PASPA is unconstitutional and ineffective, she claims, noting that illegal sports’ betting is rampant in the United States despite the federal law.
The PASPA will come under more pressure in the future as more states legalise daily fantasy sports, creating momentum for change, she predicts, observing that New Jersey and Pennsylvania have expressed concerns about the sports betting law.
The Game Changer study appears to support the idea of allowing DFS players to use third party software aids in the selection and management of their teams, recommending that legalization laws should not preclude them from doing so.
“The fact that some players are more skilled, better bankrolled or put more effort into the game than others does not make the game rigged,” Game Changer says.
What those requirements should do is lay the groundwork for regulations on skill-based slot machines, betting on eSports and other new forms of gambling that attract millennials, the largest generation in America and a prime target for gambling operators.
“Younger players aren't really interested in lotteries as much as older generations," Minton observes. "They're not so much interested in pure slots. They like games where there's a real chance for them to win if they apply skill. Depending on how the states choose to regulate DFS, it very well could open the door for other kinds of innovative games.”