“We need a debate in Congress,” Arizona Senator John McCain McCain told ESPN’s Andy Katz and Rick Klein during last week’s broadcast of Capital Games.
The former Republican presidential hopeful’s responded to questions surrounding the possibilities of legalized sports betting in the United States, made more real by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s push for a legalized sports book for New Jersey and calls by the leaders of the NBA and UFC for state sanction and regulation of gambling on athletic contests.
McCain appears quite open to the prospect.
“We need to have a talk with the American people, and we need to probably have hearings in Congress on the whole issue so we can build consensus,” McCain told ESPN’s duo.
McCain’s comments to ESPN came on the eve of Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. “We obviously know that there are huge amounts gambled on sporting events,” he acknowleged, “particularly football.”
McCain’s call for a public forum and symposium on legalized sports betting comes as no surprise for two reasons. He knows that in neighboring Nevada, gamblers wagered $120 million dollars in Las Vegas sports books on Super Bowl 48 alone. And secondly, McCain, a self-proclaimed craps enthusiast, frequently finds himself ringside in Sin City.
In 2000, the New York Times alleged that Bush campaign watchdogs shelled out more than three quarters of a million dollars to a private detective firm to catch the senator in deep at the table prior to George W. Bush’s successful run at the Republican nomination for president.
McCain’s statement follows endorsements for a legalized sports book from both the current and former NBA commissioner.
In November, current commissioner Adam Silver’s New York Times op-ed piece called for “regulation” and “oversight,” while former commissioner David Stern paid homage to “fantasy sports” gambling during a CNBC exclusive in January.
Earlier in the month, an NBA team source informed Breitbart Sports that speculation in front offices posits that Stern’s referencing of fantasy betting plays as part of a movement to generate future cash windfalls from fans betting on shots within NBA contests via their smartphones.
Perhaps it’s too obvious, but neither NBA boss and gambling liege has clarified the real “why” in the looming debate.
McCain is the first of the three to not hide behind terms such as “oversight” and “regulation” and more than implicitly state that the discussion simply revolves around getting a taste of the money.
Too some, McCain’s alignment with Silver and Stern, the first two major sports commissioners to explicitly support legalization of online sports betting, came as a surprise. But the Sports Betting Commission (SBC) predicted politicians publicly supporting the legalization of online sports betting in the United States in their forecast for 2015.
In January, the UK-based publication predicted that American lobbyists will generate enough steam to create potential legislation to sponge the seemingly limitless revenue stream that currently goes to alehouse bookies, the casinos, and offshore websites. The SBC pinpointed Silver’s op-ed piece as the jumping off point for gambling lobbyists.
The NBA team source told Breitbart Sports in January that the anticipated referenda to legalize online sports betting will create what our source describes as an aboveboard “trillion dollar industry.”
As American monthly household television watching continues to decline, the pro-gambling trailblazers who operate the NBA and many of its franchises, and even John McCain, know that eventually traditional televised sports viewing from the confines of living rooms will deteriorate, albeit glacially.
Licensed sports betting, particularly on devices showing games, is the mechanism that will eventually allow all professional sports to profit without hiccup. This weekend in his home state, John McCain saw the sports world come together for arguably the biggest annual competitive event. On Super Bowl Sunday, America merges as one to celebrate America’s game and bet on it.
Although difficult to imagine, Americans will one day watch and wager on smartphone Apps. For sports franchise owners, the need for the union of legalized online gambling platforms and professional sports playing on gadgets forebodes a time when people will gradually divide rather than come together for the sports they love–and lose a lot of money to the house in the process.