Ron Paul and the NBA have both signaled support for the state-by-state approach to gambling regulation this week. Former congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul wants the states to choose their own paths when it comes to online gambling. This is no surprise coming from Ron Paul, who has long been an advocate for states’ rights when it comes to state-level matters.
What is surprising is a bit of testimony submitted by the NBA just today that signals a major change of course for the league and how it views sports betting regulation. Until today, all statements from the NBA have been critical of state efforts to legalize sports betting. That stance seems to have changed and we have learned the NBA may actually support letting the states decide how to deal with sports betting.
Ron Paul and Online Gambling
In an editorial penned for Newsweek, Ron Paul pulls no punches as he calls out democrats and republicans alike for their stubborn and shortsighted refusal to let the Tenth Amendment work as intended.
The crux of Paul’s argument revolves around the Tenth Amendment, which states that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
In other words, the Tenth Amendment limits the federal government to a narrow list of duties over which it has jurisdiction. All other issues should be up for the states to decide. The debate has raged back and forth since the founding of the country, but generally the purpose of the Tenth Amendment is to serve as a check on federal power.
The editorial explains that Delaware, Nevada, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have all legalized online gambling after a 2011 Department of Justice memo that effectively ended the federal ban on online casino games and poker. All four states have so far been successful at keeping online gambling within their borders and preventing residents of other states from playing online.
Ron Paul also names casino mogul Sheldon Adelson as the primary driving force right now seeking to undermine states’ rights when it comes to online gambling. Paul’s editorial notes that Sheldon Adelson has had his own lobbyists draft legislation banning online gambling and then pressure GOP lawmakers to introduce the bill.
One other point made in the editorial is that we should all remember that trampling over the Tenth Amendment will come back to haunt us no matter what side of the aisle we’re on. Ron Paul notes that today, social conservatives are willing to sidestep the Tenth Amendment just because doing so fits their agenda. That may work out fine for social conservatives today, but how will they react if they set this precedent and then democrats come back later one day to ban online ammo sales?
Although Paul’s editorial focuses primarily on online gambling, it’s not a stretch at all to apply his same arguments to sports betting. Indeed, that’s the approach New Jersey is taking in its still-pending Supreme Court case. In that case, New Jersey is challenging the federal sports betting ban and bases much of its argument on the Tenth Amendment.
Ron Paul’s stance on this issue is no surprise. He has been an advocate for states’ rights for his entire political career and has written similar editorials in the past urging lawmakers to let states determine for themselves how to legislate state matters.
NBA Now on Board with State-Level Sports Betting Regulation
The NBA signaled a major change of course today according to a piece of written testimony the league submitted to the New York Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. The committee held a public hearing this morning to assess the potential of sports betting in New York.
In attendance at the hearing was NBA Assistance General Counsel Dan Spillane. He submitted written testimony that explained the NBA believes federal regulation is the best way to ensure uniform regulation and to protect the integrity of the sport, but is not opposed to a state-by-state approach if certain provisions are included in any legislation.
According to Legal Sports Report, the NBA would support legislation in New York that could serve as a national model for other states to pursue in the future. The NBA also named five key provisions it would like to see in any sports betting bill.
Those provisions include adequate consumer protections, regulations for online and mobile betting, allowing leagues to restrict betting on their events, regulations designed to detect potential corruption in betting and the inclusion of a 1% integrity fee.
The NBA has changed its position on sports betting significantly in recent years. In the past, the NBA was opposed to sports betting altogether. Then, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came out in support of regulated sports betting. The NBA later came around to taking an official stance in support of sports betting regulation at the federal level.
Now with today’s news, the NBA has shifted its stance once again. Those hoping for legal sports betting in the US should take this news as a positive development. The NBA seems to be capitulating to what it sees as an inevitable outcome: the legalization of sports betting in the USA one way or another.