Fantasy sports versus the killjoy nanny state

The issue of the day is whether online “fantasy sports” (where you select imaginary teams from among real players, whose actual performance determines winners) is a “game of skill” or illegal gambling.

Our local newspaper quotes the state Attorney General’s spokesman (my emphasis): these are “illegal sports betting websites . . . causing the same kinds of social and economic harms as other forms of illegal gambling.”

images-3The same kinds of social and economic harms as the New York State government’s own horse betting operation; its state lottery; and the string of officially-sanctioned casinos now being built? That prey upon and exploit the poor, and destroy families by creating gambling addicts? Enticing poorer folks to blow their limited funds on foolish lottery bets with rip-off odds (compared to those in illegal gambling), promoting a something-for-nothing culture rather than working and saving?

Bad enough when the killjoy nanny state stops people doing things they enjoy. Worse when, with its other hand, it engages in the very same activities. The hypocrisy takes one’s breath away. Gambling used to be outlawed based on a misplaced moralism. Now it’s to enforce a government monopoly.

UnknownAnd meantime Governor Cuomo loudly (literally; that’s his idea of oratory) touts a $15 minimum wage* to supposedly help the poor. Maybe we should stop milking them for lottery revenues.

I’m so glad we live in a politically “progressive” state.

*Not applicable to the state government’s own employees! But finally the other day Cuomo said they too would get $15 — in 2021.

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4 Responses to “Fantasy sports versus the killjoy nanny state”

  1. Lee Says:

    I didn’t know that gambling on games of skill is legal and unregulated in New York. I would have thought that the same morality concerns (and state-monopoly concerns) would have gambling on games of skill tightly regulated as well. Am I really permitted to gamble in New York on the outcome of a chess game that I am about to play?

    And since you like to talk about god … I believe that churches are permitted to sponsor gambling on games of chance (e.g., Bingo). If only DraftKings and FanDuel had thought to declare themselves churches ….

  2. Mark V Says:

    We seem to have this figured out here in Illinois. Continue selling lottery tickets, but pay winners of more than $600 with an IOU. A former hedge fund manager Republican governor determined to punish the middle class and both legislative houses with Democratic super majorities dominated by wise guys from decades of one-party Chicago politics has resulted in total paralysis. The state has been “operating” without a budget since July 1.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when a winning ticket for a nine-figure multistate jackpot is sold in Illinois. Other states will pony up their respective shares to Illinois, but the winner will probably not be paid until the courts intervene.

    For now it’s a classless society, though not exactly in the Marxian sense.

  3. Andy Says:

    I’m not sure what your position is.

    Are you in favor of the NYS legislature clarifying the gambling laws or are you in favor of the Attorney General using more prosecutorial discretion (arbitrary) in law enforcement?

    Or, are you merely pointing out the irony and hypocrisy in things political. Solutions please?

  4. rationaloptimist Says:

    I thought my position was clear: government shouldn’t be telling people what they cannot do, unless there is harm to others.

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