In July, the first sportsbook to open in the state of New Jersey, alongside a casino, was the Borgata, which bills itself as “New Jersey’s gaming destination.”
Despite not yet having legal sports betting at their disposal, it is perhaps the most notorious of the current crop of state-based casinos, on account of the darkly villainous history of its parent company.
In 2004, the Justice Department brought charges against the former parent company, the department of justice called Boyd Gaming, and former executives the “Gambling Lord,” David Dixon and Warren Gould, and its directors and principals, James Murren and Thomas Winkel, for illegally betting on games.
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Boyd Gaming settled out of court, paid a fine of $5 million, and pleaded guilty to three counts of betting on games.
In a similar fashion, the Roth Gaming conglomerate – founded in 1982, and still owned by MGM Resorts International – were hit with similar charges in 1994, the government accused the company of setting up a system to illegally operate fantasy sports betting, through its Draft-Kings and FanDuel, websites, respectively.
Although MGM has in recent years spent $500m to acquire the operator of the Sugarhouse Casino, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and bought out the landowner of the Hard Rock Casino in Philadelphia, both the Borgata and Sugarhouse are now entirely owned by MGM.
Though it is difficult to say how much profit the pair would have generated if they were able to operate legally, with the breadth of gambling on offer in the US, it is likely to be substantial.
However, having ruled against sports betting a second time in 2014, the Justice Department has not taken a position on whether gambling on the outcome of sports should be legal.
Recent research, however, suggests that in order to gain a competitive advantage, states are more than willing to embrace sports betting, at least with the current of technological developments. This, and the looming possibility of federal legalization, has led many commentators to suggest that there is a major grey area in which the US sports leagues are heading.