New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew, speaking on Sports Illustrated TV, has offered his view as to why a legalised sports betting industry can only be a good thing and answered directly the issue of integrity.
Van Drew told viewers: “This (legal sports betting) is great for New Jersey and I think it’s great for the country actually. The notion that we shouldn’t allow it because it would reduce the integrity of sports – I always thought that was a ridiculous notion.”
He continued: “The reality is, the serious type of gambling that went on regarding sports was dangerous in many ways. I’ve looked at a lot of studies on this and this is what got me involved in the first place. And in actuality, money that was used for illegal sportsbook in the past was involved with prostitution, with extortion and other obviously unattractive aspects of our society. So there is nothing in legal sportsbook that would hurt the integrity of the game. So I think that’s good.”
According to the Senator, the benefits that sports betting will bring to the state are likely to arise from a number of different sources. He explained: “Secondly, what’s great, particularly for an area like Atlantic City, when it is Superbowl Sunday, or the World Series, or any other major event, it’s really truly going to help the area. Not so much only in the direct revenues that come in, which aren’t really that significant. It’s all the indirect activity that takes place.”
SBC Americas analysis: While Senator Van Drew’s ridiculing of the notion of sports integrity is a headline grabber, it’s his final comment on revenues that is perhaps most telling. Direct revenues aren’t really that significant, he says, which falls into line with the increasingly shared view that a sportsbook is more of an amenity that adds something extra to a gaming venue rather than a licence to print dollar bills.