Reformed Sports Bettor Now Condemns Legalized Sports Betting in US

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

Bhaskar Sunkara is the president of The Nation, the founding editor Jacobin, and the author of The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in An Era of Extreme Inequalities....and now he's an expert on the state of legalized sports betting in America it seems.


Sunkara's opinion piece "The legalization of Sports Gambling in the US Was a Mistake", appearing in The Guardian, is right up there with other masterworks from these reformed gambling affiliates, proclaiming offshore sportsbooks as "evil" when it was those very same offshore books that paid them millions of dollars for the better part of two decades.

Joe Brennan, Jr, co-founder of the recently launched US regulated sportsbook Prime Sports, pretty much summed it up this way via his Twitter account as an attempt to "sum up" what Sunkara is trying to convey:

"I used to bet. No one else should be able to bet now"

"I will bury my weak data at the end of my piece"

"Why am I yelling? Because I have an opinion, not a substantive argument."

Sunkara wrote his piece following news that the Toronto Raptors Jontay Porter had been banned by the NBA after revelations he had supposedly provided high stakes gamblers with injury information not yet made public.  Porter was also an alleged gambler himself.

It doesn't help that Sunkara has his New Jersey history all wrong.

"In the 2010s, the Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, and the state of New Jersey challenged the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (Paspa), which prohibited new state-sanctioned sports gambling. Legal books were limited to a few grandfathered states, like Nevada. At the time, the scope of illegal sports gambling was unclear, with some putting the number at $50bn."

In the 2010s, the governor of New Jersey was most certainly NOT Phil Murphy.  Governors can only serve two terms and Murphy is New Jersey's current governor. 

It was Chris Christie, a Republican, who challenged PASPA as Governor of New Jersey.  He served in that role from 2010 to 2018.

Sunkara adds:

"Gambling helplines have naturally been flooded. A recent 60 Minutes program notes that in the five years since New Jersey legalized sports gambling, calls to the state’s service has tripled, with the largest caller demographic being between 25 and 34.

"Yet there seems to be no real constituency for tight federal regulation, much less prohibition. A libertarian-influenced Republican party is happy to support free markets, no matter their corrosive social effects.

"Many progressives are also more wary of punitive states than the actions of powerful corporations. Legalized gambling gives them more taxes to spend without trying to take it from the pockets of big business or wealthy individuals. Never mind that the state is forced to absorb the externalities created by legalization and that the push has facilitated a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.

"Advances in artificial intelligence will only make online betting more addictive in the years to come."

Thanks for your input Nostradamus."

- Jagajeet Chiba,

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