Over yonder in the Sports department, we had discussions for years about whether we should publish the daily betting line, that tiny-type collection of teams and numbers that told you, for instance, that the Houston Rockets are a 1 1/2-point favorite Monday to beat the Golden State Warriors (with an over/under of 223 1/2, if you care).
The argument for the line always won: Fans want to know which team oddsmakers like to win (though that’s not exactly what a betting line does).
The argument against? We’re promoting illegal gambling with no sports wagering in Kansas.
Hello, Supreme Court!
The court ruled Monday that the federal ban on sports wagering — for all states except Nevada — was unconstitutional. New Jersey won the ruling and now it and 48 of its brothers can decide to making sports betting legal.
Five bills in the Kansas Legislature died during the just-completed session, as lawmakers wrestled with whether to pass legislation that would speed up the process for sports betting in the state if the Supreme Court weakened or killed the federal ban.
The state budget office estimated Kansas could take in $70 million if residents placed $1.5 billion in bets at state-owned casinos or online. Casinos will lobby that the online component be taken out, but that would severely cut into overall revenues.
So sports wagering is there for lawmakers if they are convinced it’s right for Kansans and the state’s economy. The daily odds in the Sports section will stay right where it’s been for decades.
By the way, we also had discussions about why in the world anyone would want the line on a preseason NFL game, where players you haven’t heard of control the outcome. We still don’t have an answer.