All parents, including MLB fans, have hilarious stories of times when their child attempted to use questionable logic to defend their behavior. One viral video of a young girl explaining that she should not be punished for coating her dolls in nail polish and staining the carpet is a stellar example.
The video is also a stellar allegory for the depths that MLB has reached in its attempt to convince numerous state legislatures weighing legalizing sports betting that such regulations should include forcing sports books to pay itself and other leagues a cut of the action.
According to Brett Smiley of Sportshandle.com a recent exchange in the West Virginia Senate included such faulty rhetoric offered by a representative of MLB. A bill to legalize sports betting in the state should the federal law barring the activity be eliminated has already passed the West Virginia House and seems likely to become law.
In defending MLB’s request for lawmakers to compel the state’s sports books to pay it a huge cut of all the revenue that the books would take in as opposed to merely a cut of the profits, Scott Ward of the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (no, not Rick Sutcliffe), hired by MLB offered the following lunacy:
Ward claimed getting a cut after a sportsbook pays out winners would put MLB in the “untenable” position of having to “root against” fans.
“We don’t want to be in the business of making money when people lose bets.”
Why Ward’s “logic” is faulty
The most obvious reason Ward’s argument doesn’t meet the most basic test for an intelligent response is because there will always be people who lose every bet. Whether MLB gets a cut of any of the money won’t alter how betting on its games works so that everyone wins regardless of which team they bet on.
To see how ludicrous Ward’s claim is we can look at a similar activity that is already taking place in most parts of the United States completely legally. Having a cash pot for season-long fantasy sports leagues and paying entry fees to daily fantasy sports games is common practice for many baseball fans.
When such a fan doesn’t win the pot after the season or doesn’t finish in the money on DraftKings, such fans don’t blame MLB for their lightened wallets. They may shake their fists at the “baseball gods” or bemoan untimely injuries, but no campaign to make MLB pay for the heinous crime of having absolutely nothing to do with the choices that the fan made regarding its games exists.
Reading Ward’s comments is a quick reminder of a classic scene from “Billy Madison” in which Adam Sandler’s character gets a verbal lashing for a similar poor response to a question.
As the battle over the details of sports betting bills in many states is far from over, expect lawyers lobbying for MLB and the NBA to continue to invent new arguments for why the leagues should get a cut of the action. The sad thing is that they are apparently already scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Has MLB run out of logical arguments for why it should be paid a portion of sports betting revenue? Let us know in the comments below.
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