Sports

Everyone Should Be Able To Bet on the Kentucky Derby From Anywhere

Six states don’t allow any horse racing bets, but others still make it difficult.

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When the horses run Saturday evening in the Kentucky Derby, there's a good chance more people than any point in recent history will have a bet on the race. In the eight months since the pandemic-delayed 2020 race, legalized online sports betting is quickly being normalized. Voters, politicians, and regulators are increasingly allowing sports betting.

It's actually easier in many states to bet on horse racing than on other sports, since horse racing was exempt from the 1992 federal law that banned most sports betting. But six states (and Washington, D.C.) still allow no betting at all on horse racing. The regulations vary widely in other states, with some allowing online betting but others only letting people bet at certain casinos. North Carolina, for example, doesn't allow bets at horse tracks and only allows bets at two tribal casinos. Texas does not allow online bets on horse racing, but visitors to racetracks can bet on in-person races and on races simulcast from elsewhere.

Without an online option, people may have to travel miles to place a bet on the Kentucky Derby, or try their luck with offshore sportsbooks. But bettors seem to prefer convenient, legalized online gambling and shouldn't have to worry about those options. New Jersey, for example, has a robust casino scene, but more than 80 percent of its sports bets are still taken online.

As for other sports, only nine states allow widespread online betting with multiple sportsbooks. Two other states (including gambling mecca Nevada) allow online betting but only after a user has registered in person at a casino. Several locales only offer one sportsbook for users to place bets with, which can lead to problems for bettors. In Washington, D.C., for example, the only citywide sportsbook is run by the lottery, and the lines offered to bettors are way worse than in neighboring Virginia, where there are multiple sportsbooks. Others only allow sports betting in-person at casinos.

Thankfully, online gambling may soon come to several big states, including Florida and New York. Wyoming legalized online sportsbooks in April, and will even let users bet using cryptocurrency.

Still, there are many states where anti-gambling sentiment runs deep. Utah, for example, allows no betting on horse racing and is one of just three states with no legislation introduced to allow betting on other sports.

For years, sports betting was illegal nationwide (with an exception for horse racing) under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. The Supreme Court changed all that in 2018 when it ruled that the federal law was a violation of the 10th Amendment, thus giving states the option to make their own gambling laws. 

So if people win big on Saturday (or lose but still have fun doing it), they can be thankful that politicians and regulators saw fit to allow adults to spend their money betting on the ponies. Perhaps the people in power will realize that convenient online betting should be allowed for all sports, and not just horse racing.

NEXT: Economic Lessons From COVID-19

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  1. You can bet on anything from anywhere.
    You just won’t have government permission.
    If the fascists have taught us anything the last year and a bit, it is that we no longer give a damn what they say.

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  2. I’m certain some maskhole somewhere is gnashing her teeth and wondering how to respond.

  3. In Washington, D.C., for example, the only citywide sportsbook is run by the lottery, and the lines offered to bettors are way worse than in neighboring Virginia, where there are multiple sportsbooks.

    I’m truly surprised that more states haven’t glommed onto that strategy. Like with the lottery and marijuana sales, if you create a state-run monopoly you can fuck over your customers as much as you please. Why not legalize betting at state-run shops and game the odds so that the state rakes off a 50% vig? On a pick ’em play, bet on Team A, a dollar will get you 60 cents. Bet on Team B? A dollar will get you 60 cents on that proposition as well.

    1. I think under the auspice of morals. Because gambling is bad. Except the local lottery. And Megamillions/Powerball, if they participate. Ultimately, it is for the (Jerrys)kids.

    2. Oh, its coming…

  4. Fbi is raiding homes of citizens who were merely in D.C. foe the Jan 6th protests. Solely on that evidence they harassed and searched a couples home despite them not being inside the Capitol at any time.

    https://alaskawatchman.com/2021/04/29/with-guns-drawn-fbi-raids-homer-couples-home-looking-for-nancy-pelosis-laptop/

    All for Nancy’s laptop.

    Still uninterested in Hunter’s laptop.

    1. Joe Biden is banning travel from India because he’s a racist.

      1. He also had the temerity to say the American people weren’t racist, but the American system was.

        This after the left called Tim Scott an Uncle Tim and an oreo.

        1. He can do whatever he wants, so long as he doesn’t tweet about it.

          That’s the important thing.

  5. It isn’t that gambling itself isn’t legal. It’s that they haven’t figured out how to make sure it’s funding the right politicians or the people those politicians are really working for yet.

    Big government seems to have come into existence as a solution to certain problems–like water distribution. Somebody needed to enforce those water rights, and the reason the first civilizations sprang up around river valleys isn’t unrelated to that. Mineral rights and gambling licenses may be like that, too. The reason Nevada became a state is not unrelated to the Comstock Lode and miners having trouble validating their claims. Gambling licenses are not entirely unlike mining licenses–especially when the early and big players are the ones in charge of the government.

    You can’t play daily fantasy sports on FanDuel or DraftKings in the state of Nevada. There are a number of reasons they give for that, from lax and unfair practices by some of those companies employees years ago to licensing being needed to make a level playing field. The real reason is because anything the casinos don’t want to happen in the Nevada state government doesn’t happen, and they don’t want to compete with outsiders for the local’s money during football season. Hell, there are whole casino chains devoted exclusively to the local resident market.

    FanDuel has already formed a partnership with an outsider (Irish) sportsbook. If DraftKings sold themselves to a Nevada casino operator, they’d quickly find themselves legal in Nevada (they’d get the license!). Anyway, the issue probably isn’t that gambling isn’t legal. It’s a question of why it’s illegal, and the reason is because the powerful people who could make it legal haven’t figured out how to get paid for it yet.

    We may convince people to take these discretionary powers out of the hands of politicians before we get them to stop using their discretionary powers to enrich themselves and the people under their influence, but neither thing will happen quickly. They have legal brothels in Nevada, marijuana is legal in Nevada, you can still get in fist fights in Nevada without getting in trouble if you ask the person outside first. But you can’t play daily fantasy football.

  6. Now that Reason took care of the mean tweets problem (by supporting big government totalitarian warmongers) they’re back to focusing on entertainment frivolities.

    Not that Reason writers are shallow or anything.

    1. We have to be careful. Mean tweets are still allowed, as long as it is normal. Like being racist towards black conservatives. Those remain okay as a mean tweet.

      And any tweet that goes against someone against CRT or trans issues, like all those attacks against those evil Terfs, still acceptable.

  7. In a stunning turn around, the Chinese lab theory for covid is no lober a conspiracy theory that must be banned from social media and public life.

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/washington-post-claimed-suggestions-of-coronavirus-originating-in-chinese-lab-were-debunked-now-it-wants-investigation-into-matter

    1. No longer*

      1. That’s what she said.

  8. Went to the Kentucky Derby one year. There’s a burger joint a few miles away that uses the meat from unwanted thoroughbreds in their patties. Talk about fast food!

  9. Ever notice that the state lotteries, the one useless thing in every state, were NEVER shutdown?

  10. Opposition to gambling is another leftover of our Christian culture. Better to give that money to the church and not gamble it away. Note that Utah with its LDS culture is among the most restrictive. As with many other things, it is time to move on.

    1. Yeah, because churches never have bingo games…

      It was banned mostly due to women’s suffrage, the same with alcohol, drugs, prostitution, etc

      1. ++

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  12. “In Washington, D.C., for example, the only citywide sportsbook is run by the lottery, and the lines offered to bettors are way worse than in neighboring Virginia, where there are multiple sportsbooks.”

    Ironically, the liquor stores in VA are state-owned while in DC they’re private.

    And obviously the ones in DC are much better.

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  15. I bet my wife a buck on the KY derby. See. Wasn’t that easy?

  16. Great, sports betting https://belport.co.kr/ is an intellectual bet between a player and a bookmaker: a player makes his forecast for a sports event and puts money on the fact that this forecast will be correct. If the bet is correct, he returns this money with a profit, and if he loses, he loses it accordingly.

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