Washington, DC – The New York Times missed the mark in five important areas of today’s editorial (“Rein in Online Fantasy Sports Gambling”), which seemingly calls on the federal government to ban popular fantasy sports activities.
#1: New York Times fails to mention the proven benefits of regulation.
Prohibition on sports betting is a massive failure. Americans are finding limitless ways to spend billions of dollars illegally to gamble on professional and amateur sporting events. In the unregulated market, integrity cannot be guaranteed and dollars often fund criminal enterprises. Yet this seems to be exactly what the New York Times – which makes not a single mention of regulation – is promoting. More big-government dictates on what games Americans can and cannot consume is destined to fail.
#2: “This boom has grown because the UIGEA of 2006, which prevented payment processors from working with gambling websites, included an exemption for fantasy sports.”
Actually, the boom is directly tied to tremendous public demand and antiquated, ineffective laws like the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 that prohibits sports wagering largely outside of Nevada.
Sports fans will wager $95 billion on NFL and college football games this season, according to an AGA estimate released last month. The vast majority – $93 billion – of wagers will be placed illegally. Just under $2 billion will be wagered at sports books in Nevada. On last season’s Super Bowl alone, Americans made $3.8 billion worth of illicit bets – an amount 38 times greater than the total bet legally.
Americans are clamoring to engage with their favorite sporting activities in an interactive way, and daily fantasy sports creators have tapped into that demand.
#3: “Because daily and weekly fantasy games are so new, there are very few studies on whether they are addictive and result in the social problems typically associated with gambling.”
Across 40 states, casino gaming contributes $240 billion annually to America’s economy, supports 1.7 million jobs and generates $38 billion in tax revenues in support of education and other important areas, according to Oxford Economics.
Adam Sacks, who conducted the Oxford study, described gaming as “a vast industry that boosts local communities across the country by supporting jobs and generating customers for businesses.”
Further, even as the industry has expanded to operate in 40 states, problem gambling rates have stayed steady. According to a decade-long study conducted by the University of Buffalo, “despite an increase in gambling opportunities, rates of problem gambling remained stable.”
#4: “The allure of profits from gambling clouds otherwise rational minds.”
Policymakers and voters who decide to bring casino gaming to their state understand the many benefits the industry provides. In Las Vegas and in communities beyond Nevada, casinos serve as a potent catalyst to attract new businesses and bolster existing ones. Residents, elected officials, police chiefs, small businesses, non-profit executives and others typically associate casinos with good jobs, strong partnerships, much-needed tax revenue, millions of dollars in charitable giving and a fun entertainment experience. Just ask folks in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Moreover, typical casino visitors defy stereotypes. Most are between the ages of 21 and 59, and a plurality earns $60,000 to $99,000 a year. They’re also well-educated, churchgoing voters who contribute to their communities. And when they visit a casino, most set a budget of less than $200.
#5: “Giving people more ways to bet on the outcomes of sports is sure to threaten the integrity of sports and create more gambling addicts, especially among young people who are already more likely to engage in risky behaviors.”
Illegal sports betting – which is running rampant across the country and has grown exponentially since a federal law banned it in nearly every state in 1992 – poses a significant threat to the integrity of sporting events. In contrast, in Nevada, where sports betting is regulated, sports books at casinos have notified the FBI of unusual betting activity on sporting events that have led to convictions on match fixing. Increasingly, progressive sports leagues are turning to regulation as the best means of protecting the integrity of sports.
About AGA: The American Gaming Association is the premier national trade group representing the $240 billion U.S casino industry, which supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states. AGA members include commercial and tribal casino operators, suppliers and other entities affiliated with the gaming industry. It is the mission of the AGA to be the single most effective champion of the industry, relentlessly protecting against harmful and often misinformed public policies, and paving a path for growth, innovation and reinvestment.