Sports Betting: The Mississippi Choctaws may be first; will Oregon tribes be next?

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is expecting to be the first Native American tribe in the U.S. to offer sports betting in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 14, 2017 decision striking down a federal law that prohibited sports gambling.

The Choctaw Tribal Council has started the ball rolling by approving professional and collegiate sports bettingat the Choctaw’s Silver Star Casino and the Golden Moon Casino at the Pearl River Resort near Philadelphia, MS and the Bok Homa Casino in Choctaw, MS.

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The Golden Moon Hotel and Casino, one of the planned sports betting sites in Mississippi.

Nine Native American tribes own and operate Indian casinos in Oregon, a small fraction of the 238 tribes in 28 states that offer some form of gaming, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission.You can bet all the tribes are going to go after a piece of the sports betting action.

The only casinos currently allowed in Oregon have to be owned and operated by Native American tribes. It’s not clear how the legalization of sports betting will play out in that circumstance.

One thing that’s for sure is that the tribes aren’t going to be alone in wanting to capture sports betting revenue.

Professional sports leagues have already said they want a cut. Leagues would receive 1 percent of the total wagered on their sporting events under a proposal presented in May by NBA Senior Vice President Dan Spillane. “Without our games and fans, there could be no sports betting,” Spillane testified at a legislative panel studying the prospect of legalized sports gambling in New York.

The NBA and MLB have already drafted model legislation that would enshrine a 1 percent “integrity fee” in law and they have sent forth a phalanx of expensive lobbyists to statehouses to advance their agenda.

The LEAD1 Association, which represents athletic directors at 130 colleges, including directors at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, has said colleges deserve integrity fees as well.

Let the games begin.

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Send Oregon’s sports betting revenue to PERS.

You know Oregon’s going to do it?

Jump into legalized sports betting, that is.

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According to the American Gaming Association, Americans already illegally bet $150 billion on sports every year. With the May 14, 2018 Supreme Court decision overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and allowing states to legalize sports betting, Oregon’s going to want to cash in.

A political consultant working with California card clubs, online and out-of-state gambling firms and sports leagues has already proposed for the November 2020 ballot an initiative to legalize sports betting in the state. The consultant submitted a formal request on June 11 to the state attorney general’s office to prepare a title and summary for a possible initiative.

Professional sports leagues are getting ready, too. They’ve have already made it clear they want a cut of the action.

Leagues would receive 1 percent of the total wagered on their sporting events under a proposal presented in May by NBA Senior Vice President Dan Spillane. “Without our games and fans, there could be no sports betting,” Spillane testified at a legislative panel studying the prospect of legalized sports gambling in New York.

The NBA and MLB have already drafted model legislation that would enshrine the 1 percent “integrity fee” in law and they have sent forth a phalanx of expensive lobbyists to statehouses to advance their agenda.  The Professional Golfers’ Associationhas endorsed the integrity fee concept and the LEAD1 Association, which represents athletic directors at 130 colleges, including directors at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, has said colleges deserve integrity fees as well.

“Our athletic directors are concerned not only about the vulnerability of young student-athletes to inducements of point shaving, but by the increased compliance costs to keep their programs clean,” LEAD1 said in a May 15, 2018 press release. “We have seen these cost increases in athletic programs in Nevada (for example, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)) where sports betting is legalized, and these compliance costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is crucially important that states help athletic departments secure the extra resources to ensure that student-athletes stay out of trouble. A point shaving scandal would be catastrophic to an athletic department and university.”

Then, of course, there are the athletes. On April 12, 2018, before the Supreme Court decision, four players’ unions, the MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA, issued a media release  saying their members should get a cut of sports betting revenue, too. “Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses,” the release said. “The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”

Just as Oregon’s legislators have welcomed the influx of marijuana tax money, the prospect of sports gambling tax revenue probably has some of them salivating. Current recipients of state lottery revenues, including the seven public universities in the state whose athletic departments receive a cut, are anxiously awaiting sports betting money, too.

But dividing up sports betting revenue the way the state spreads around lottery and marijuana tax revenue would be a mistake. Instead, the one program that needs the money the most, PERS, should get ALL of it.o

Reducing PERS’ estimated $25 billion unfunded liability (UAL) with sports betting revenue has the advantage of not requiring any changes to future benefits of public employees, something their unions have vigorously resisted.

In Nov. 2017, a PERS UAL Task Force appointed by Governor Brown to review and propose options for making payments toward the PERS UAL listed increased lottery revenue from the expansion of different game platforms or new types of games or retailers as a possible source of funds to help rescue PERS.

The Task Force did not specifically address the use of potential revenue from sports betting. It did, however, say that using lottery revenue to reduce the UAL for schools would likely be permissible under the state constitution as “financing public education.”

So just do it.

 

 

 

 

 

Commissioner Fritz spills the beans: Portland’s CEO pay ratio tax isn’t about addressing inequality

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Every once in a while politicians let the truth slip out.

The Portland City Council said it wanted to send a message about income inequality when it voted in Dec. 2016 to impose a surtax on CEO compensation. The misguided surtax, based on an arbitrary statistic, was to be added to the city’s business tax on publicly traded companies whose chief executives earn more than 100 times the median pay of their employees. No limits would apply to privately-held companies.

The city figured the surtax would generate about $2.5 million per year. Then-Commissioner Steve Novick, the sponsor of the measure, said he hoped it “would prod corporate America back to equitable pay scales.”

The surtax and the pending hike of the city’s business license tax are a part of an effort to create a “more equitable” tax structure, Commissioner Amanda Fritz said. “Taxing the rich is something people in Portland have been asking us to do.”

But Fritz’ explanation was a ruse. She didn’t vote for the tax because it would address income inequality. She just wanted the city to collect more money. That’s it. Plain and simple.

I know this because I posted a story last week about the whole CEO pay ratio issue and Portland’s adoption of the pay ratio tax. I argued that the whole pay ratio concept was flawed, misleading and meaningless.

The real motive of the pay ratio advocates, I said, was to give the left a tool to propel its inequality agenda, to promote envy and class warfare, and to argue that the once-great America as a land of opportunity is vanishing and that more aggressive government intervention guided by left wing principles is necessary.

Fritz responded to me directly, writing that the real reason for the pay ratio tax was just one word, “revenue.”  “… to expand on that, taxes pay for services,” Fritz said. “The $3 million annually collected via the CEO tax will help pay for many vital public services.”

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More money. That’s what I want. Commissioner Amanda Fritz

In other words, forget about all this fighting inequality blather. The city wanted more revenue and the CEO pay ratio tax was one way to get it.

It’s just another example of the City of Portland nickel and diming taxpayers.