Today, Senator Steve Sweeney of New Jersey proved he's got some major chops.
Arguments that involve a virtuous commodity are usually pretty difficult to combat, because if you come out against them you will be labelled as some sort of misanthrope (thanks Santa Anita).Strong opposition to sports leagues' request for sports betting fees from @NJSenatePres: pic.twitter.com/ELwsCN8V1O— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) May 23, 2018
Politico: "Children under 18 should be required to wear hockey helmets while walking the streets of New York. Data shows that severe head injuries will be cut in half."
Other Politico: "That's just dumb"
Politico: "What do you have against protecting our children?"
The sports leagues - smartly - have done similar with their wish for an integrity fee. If you are against giving them money, you are for corruption. It's wonderful framing by them, and it's a tough row to hoe for those taking the opposite side.
Someone in politics who clearly plays chess, not checkers, though, is Senator Sweeney. He's turned around the argument beautifully and made everyone think differently about a previously cut-and-dried subject.
And, as an added bonus, he's probably right.
If 89% of the money line action is on the Patriots and a call goes the Patriots way, does the public think a league that benefits monetarily from keeping 89% of the people happy had something to do with it?
Probably not. Hold it, now that I think about it..... maybe they did?
I think the way the leagues have approached sports betting has been insular, and not based on the pragmatic. Now, predictably, as they've lost the first argument they've moved on to regulatory capture and asking for a slice of revenues. One politician ain't playing that game, and is willing to offer arguments a whole lot of rational people can get behind.
Does the public really want the leagues to get a piece of betting action, when for the last 40 years they've been talking about how bad underground betting is for the integrity of the game? Or would they rather have revenues exempt from them, and centered on the companies and providers who have offered this service in an above board, integrous way for decades overseas?
Nice work Mr. Sweeney.