Sports Betting Legalization as Polarizing as National Politics, New Poll Finds

Sports betting legalization is on the minds of many state politicians across the country, and gaming companies are licking their chops at the potential prospect of taking bets on pro and college sports.

America is split on Donald Trump’s presidency, and the public also can’t seem to make up its mind when it comes to sports betting legalization.

But the topic of ending sports gambling prohibition in the United States and repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is about as polarizing of an endeavor as picking between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for president.

According to a new poll conducted by Seton Hall University’s Sharkey Institute, 46 percent of Americans support legalization, while 42 percent said it would be a bad idea. Thirteen percent of respondents said they weren’t sure where they stood.

Passed in 1992, PASPA bars states from allowing sports betting markets to operate. Nevada, Montana, Delaware, and Oregon were granted exemptions from the federal statute due to already having some sort of sports gambling when the legislation was passed, but today only the Silver State takes full advantage of its immunity.

Polling Positives

Though the sports betting legalization research shows that Americans today are divided, the consensus should tilt in favor of ending the ban in the coming decades. That’s because Seton Hall found that 67 percent of those aged 18 to 29, and 48 percent of those 30 to 44, back legalization.

Just 30 percent of respondents over the age of 60 said PASPA should be repealed.

More positive news for those who would like to place a financial incentive on a sporting event without traveling to Nevada is the fact that the Seton Hall results show an opinion shift. A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll conducted seven years ago said just 39 percent of Americans wanted legalized gambling on athletics.

No Time Like Present

A former casino owner is now in the Oval Office, state legislatures are looking for quick and easy new tax revenue sources, and the public opinion is moving in favor of legalization. In the mind of American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman, the time certainly seems ripe to end sports betting prohibition.

Talking with Yahoo Finance this week, Freeman said, ‘We have a perfect storm coming together. You have leagues, you have broadcasters, you have law enforcement, you have the casino industry. Everyone is acknowledging that we are better off having a regulated environment.’

President Trump addressed sports betting during the Super Bowl earlier this month. He said is willing to study it very carefully and get input from sports commissioners, casino companies, politicians, and anti-gambling groups.

With a Republican in the White House, and both chambers of Congress controlled by the GOP, it might seem slightly surprising to some that now might be the time to expand gambling nationwide. Conservatives are typically less inclined to pass so-called ‘sin’ market legislation, but a pillar of their beliefs is also the notion of states’ rights.

PASPA has been criticized for allegedly violating the Tenth Amendment, the doctrine that says powers not explicitly reserved to the federal government in the Constitution are reserved for the states. As one might imagine, the Founding Fathers didn’t cover sports betting when they drafted the country’s blueprint in 1787.

Oscars Odds Predict Big Night For ‘La La Land’ at Academy Awards, But Few Thrills

The Oscars odds at UK and EU sportsbooks predict a big night for ‘La La Land,’ the rom-com drama starring millenial heartthrobs Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Tonight is expected to be a celebratory evening for ‘La La Land’ and stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, as Oscars odds put the film as the heavy favorite to win Best Picture. (Image: lalaland.movie)

Nevada oddsmakers don’t take bets on non-sporting outcomes, but across the pond and beyond, all of the major betting shops and sites are happy to take wagers on the premier Hollywood awards show. Dubbed Hollywood’s Super Bowl, the 89th Academy Awards begin tonight at 8:30 pm ET.

The books are in unison that Gosling and Stone’s song-and-dance picture is a near certainty to take the Oscar for Best Picture.

William Hill, Paddy Power, and Coral all put ‘La La Land’ as a huge favorite at 1-6 to win the top award. ‘Moonlight,’ the story of a young black man growing up in Miami surrounded by poverty and drugs, comes with the next-best odds, at 5-1.

The eight other Best Picture nominees are long shots, according to the oddsmakers. ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and ‘Hidden Figures’ are at 25-1, followed by ‘Lion’ (90-1), and then ‘Arrival,’ ‘Hacksaw Ridge,’ ‘Hell or High Water,’ and ‘Fences’ at 100-1.

To make the line slightly more attractive, Paddy Power allows bettors to take the field (10-3) against ‘La La Land.’

Acting Odds

While it appears ‘La La Land’ is almost a sure bet for Best Picture, bettors looking for more enticing lines have plenty to choose from in other marquee categories.

Casey Affleck (‘Manchester by the Sea’) is at 4-7 to win Best Actor, but Denzel Washington follows closely at 5-4 for his performance in ‘Fences.’ Gosling comes third at 11-1.

Meanwhile, Stone is the big frontrunner for Best Actress at 1-6. Natalie Portman (‘Jackie’) is next at 5-1.

No Fun Oscars

The Academy Awards is Hollywood’s most celebrated night, and landing an Oscar is at the top of the award show food chain, by any measure. It’s a more lavish affair, and for tonight’s big show, the online sportsbooks in Europe are staying clear of their usual fun novelty bets.

Paddy Power is infamous for typically offering a smattering of ridiculous or absurd betting opportunities. But this year, the Irish bookie is mainly sticking to asking simply which film or star will win each category.

There are no bets on whether a winner will go off on a political rant during their acceptance speech, or wagers on how much leg a certain actress’ dress might reveal.

Paddy’s unwillingness to enter the novelty prop space for this year’s Oscars might reflect the overall attitude on tonight’s ceremony. There seems to be little enthusiasm about this year’s Oscars, due to an abundance of films with heart, soul, and humanity, but little ‘wow factor.’

‘La La Land’ is almost certainly going to finish the night with the most awards. Nominated in a record-tying 14 categories, the film still isn’t expected to win 11 gold statuettes, as did ‘Ben-Hur,’ ‘Titanic,’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.’

For a film receiving so much praise, it has plenty of critics. The movie’s been labeled dull and flat by some, unengaging and even humorless by others.

Georgia Casino Bill in Peril, Hearing Canceled Due to Lack of Interest

Georgia’s casino legislation was apparently snubbed by a Senate committee on Thursday, but can Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) still drum up the support he needs to push it out of the Senate and into the House by the early March deadline?

He’s not giving up hope.

Senator Brandon Beach hopes to rally the troops to fast-track his bill through the Senate but according to at least one of his colleagues it may already be dead. (Image: wabe.org)

Beach’s bill has been described by local press as ‘on life support’ following the cancellation of a Senate committee hearing this week.

It was hoped that SB 79, which proposes legalizing two casinos in a state, would be more palatable to lawmakers than last year’s ill-fated effort because it proposes fewer casinos and a higher percentage of funding for school programs.

The bill wants to put the question to the public in November 2018 referendum, asking voters whether they want to change the constitution to permit casino gaming.

One Foot in the Grave

It was largely well received at its first hearing several weeks ago, a public debate organized by the Regulated Industries Committee.

Even Governor Nathan Deal, a longtime casino opponent, is, for once, not in outright opposition. He has said he he is willing ‘to keep the discussion going’ with casino supporters.

But on late Wednesday Senator Rick Jeffares notified members of the Regulated Industries Committee that the planned meeting would not go ahead. A committee member told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in confidence that Jeffares had polled the committee and ‘opposition was overwhelming so he told me there would be no hearing.’

The anonymous Senator added that has far, as he could see, the bill was ‘sounding pretty dead.’

Undeterred, Beach said on Thursday that he would apply to have the hearing rescheduled and is confident he can rally the troops behind him.

‘I have asked to be on the agenda Monday,’ he said. ‘That will give me more time to shore up the votes. It’s real close right now.’

Support in the House

One of the proposed casino licenses would be for a development in the Metro Atlanta area and another in a smaller city, possibly Savannah or Columbus.

Developers would need to guarantee investment of at least $2 billion in the Atlanta resort and a minimum of $450 million in the secondary resort.

But before any of that can happen, Beach needs to get it out of the committee, passed by the Senate, and into the House by a March 3 ‘cross over day,’ which is looking like an increasingly tall order.

‘I think if we can get this into the chamber, more people are for it,’ Beach said. ‘We have to get it out of committee.’

A poll organized by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests there is public support for casinos. It found 56 percent of registered voters supported the idea, with only 38 percent opposed.

Oscar Oddsmakers Weep Along with ‘La La Land’ Producers at Erroneous Best Picture Snafu

Online and overseas sportsbooks taking bets on the Best Picture winner at Sunday night’s Oscars in Hollywood naturally assumed their predictions had come true, as the Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone picture was the heavy favorite for the momentous award. William Hill, Paddy Power, and Coral all had ‘La La Land’ at a 1-6 sure thing.

The Academy Awards ended with a plot myfreepokies.com twist after the wrong Best Picture was announced, and online betting operators across the pond bore the brunt. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

But once ‘La La Land’ producer Jordan Horowitz reached the stage, he realized ‘Moonlight’ had actually won. A card mixup from long-time Academy Award vote counting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was responsible for the shocking error, which caused confusion and mayhem among everyone on stage, including presenters Warran Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

‘I’m sorry, there’s a mistake,’ Horowitz explained. ”Moonlight,’ you guys won Best Picture. This is not a joke.’ Horowitz had to repeat the ‘This is not a joke’ phrase several times before anyone would believe it.

Indeed, the 89th Academy Awards finished in a manner that could have seemingly only happened in Hollywood.

Beatty and Dunaway presented Best Picture: the two famed stars were given the honor of presenting the top Oscar in celebration of the 50th anniversary of ‘Bonnie and Clyde.’ After opening the winning envelope, Beatty paused in what many thought was a moment to add suspense. It was later revealed they had been given the wrong card, but Dunaway ran with it, unaware, and announced ‘La La Land’ as the winner.

Sportsbook Shakeup

‘Moonlight,’ a drama based in Miami, Florida, is the story of a young black American and his struggles being raised in a poor and drug-inflicted community. The film had won just one Oscar prior to Best Picture, though it was nominated in seven other categories.

There were a total of nine Best Picture nominees, and ‘Moonlight’ came with the second-strongest odds. The film was the only somewhat reasonable candidate to upset ‘La La Land’ at 5-1. ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and ‘Hidden Figures’ posted at 25-1, followed by ‘Lion’ (90-1), and ‘Arrival,’ ‘Hacksaw Ridge,’ ‘Hell or High Water,’ and ‘Fences’ all at 100-1.

The erroneous announcement was certainly a bad beat for the books. ‘La La Land’ was such a big favorite that sites took bets on the field versus the assumed victor.

However, the oddsmakers got Best Actor right, with Casey Affleck in ‘Manchester by the Sea,’ with odds at 4-7. They also correctly predicted Emma Stone’s win on 1-6 odds.

 

 

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