New Jersey sports betting: Gov. Chris Christie responds to suit

This is a transcript of an exchange New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had with a reporter regarding the NCAA, NFL and other major sports groups filing a legal complaint against the state’s push for legalized sports betting. Some questions were inaudible.

Governor Christie: Well, listen, there was a federal law that was passed that restricts the states that can participate in sports gambling to just four states. We believe that that law is unconstitutional. We have put the question before the voters of New Jersey. The voters of New Jersey said they wanted to allow sports gambling in New Jersey. We’re moving ahead. We issued regulations to allow for the issuance of licenses for sports gambling and once we did that, the sports leagues have now sued and the battle is engaged. I have a conference call at 5 o’clock this afternoon with the Attorney General to talk to him about the next steps and the direction of the division of law, talk about the next steps that we’ll take legally to defend our position.

Question: How do you think it’s going to play out?

Governor Christie: I think we’re going to win.

Question: Will you expand on that a little?

Governor Christie: No. Winning is winning, David. You know, I think we’re going to win. Because I don’t believe the federal government has the right to decide that only certain states can have sports gambling. On what basis? And it does not acknowledge that there is illegal sports gambling going on in every state in America as we speak. And so why is this more injurious somehow than illegal sports gambling to the operations of the league or the NCAA. Listen, I don’t believe it’s up to the federal government to decide what happens within the borders of a state on this issue especially when they permit other states to do it. If there was a grand nationwide prohibition there wouldn’t be an argument, but how is it sports gambling in New Jersey is going to affect the sports leagues more than it already affects the sports leagues in Nevada. It happens every day all over the state of Nevada and three other states. I don’t understand why New Jersey would make it so much worse. So I think, ultimately, I think this is going to be found to be unconstitutional. We’re going to have a long road ahead of us with the courts but we’re prepared for the fight.

Question:(N/A)

Governor Christie: I have no idea. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know. But if in fact it was found to be constructional. If the law was found to be unconstitutional they would have, I would think, a major hurdle to get over to pass a law that would restrict us to do it that would be constitutional. But who knows, you know if they try, I have no idea. Sports leagues have a lot of money. They spend a lot of money supporting Congress, so who knows what will happen. But my view is that it’s very difficult to make an argument that this is constitutional when you allow certain states to do it. I believe ultimately we’ll prevail but you know we’ll see what happens. That’s what the courts are for.

Question:(N/A)

Governor Christie: Are you concerned they’re going to pull the Superbowl? I’m not. We’re well along the way us and New York in terms of planning the Superbowl and I have no concerns. Have I gotten any direct assurances from Commissioner Goodell? No I haven’t. But I saw him last week or two weeks ago when I was in Idaho. He certainly didn’t raise the issues with me in our conversation about pulling the Superbowl so I think we’ll be fine. I think we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We’ll prepare for the Superbowl. We’ll do a great job with the Superbowl and we’ll have our separate legal fight over whether or not sports gambling should be legal in more than four states in the United States.

Question: Before the Superbowl did you know you were going to push sports gambling or did you sit on it until after…

Governor Christie: I think there was discussion well before that by Senator Lesniak and others about sports gambling and I think I always took the position that I thought it needed to go to referendum so we could hear from the public as to whether they supported it or not. So, you know, Terry, I can’t remember all the dates but it seems we’ve been talking about this issue since the gubernatorial campaign in 2009. No I don’t think there was any…you’ll have to find the bait and switch on this one but I don’t think there is.

Transcript courtesy of Michael Drewniak, Press Secretary to NJ Governor Chris Christie.

Court: Tim Donaghy owed $1.7 million from book publisher

By David Payne Purdum / dpurdum@sportsdirectinc.com

A rough week for ex-NBA ref Tim Donaghy ended on a high note Friday, a $1.7 million high note.

A Florida civil court awarded Donaghy $1,718, 375 in its final judgment against his former book publisher Shawna Vercher and her defunct company VTi Group Inc.

The ruling came four days after a New York court ruled that Donaghy must terminate his employment with a sports betting website and radio show due to the company frontman Danny T. Biancullo’s past felony convictions.

Donaghy has filed paperwork asking the court to terminate his probation and eliminate any employment restrictions. His probation is currently scheduled to end in November.

Meanwhile, Vercher, a political radio talk show host in Tampa, has 30 days to file an appeal and 45 days to provide all financial information.

Tim Donaghy asking to end probation, after court terminates sports betting employment

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

Tim Donaghy’s probation office wouldn’t allow him to take a job managing a chain of Florida-based ice cream shops, but signed off on the ex-NBA ref working for a sports betting radio show and website.

That changed Monday, when a New York court ordered Donaghy to end his employment with sports handicapper Daniel T. Biancullo, aka Danny B.

“My extreme disappointment in the outcome of the hearing in front of U.S. District Judge [Carol Bagley] Amon leaves me no choice but to file a formal appeal with her court this Friday, in order to restore my ability to earn a living,” Donaghy said in an emailed statement Thursday.

Donaghy’s attorney Nick Mooney later clarified that his client is not appealing the ruling, but instead asking for his probation to be terminated, ending his employment restrictions. His probation is currently scheduled to end in November.

Donaghy had been working as an analyst for Danny B. since Oct. 2010, roughly a  year after was released from prison after serving 13 months for being the centerpiece in an NBA gambling scandal.

He appeared on the radio show “The Sports Connection” and had been providing sports betting insights with Bianculla on Sportsconnectionwins.com. Donaghy’s picture was still on the front of the website early Thursday evening.

Before joining Sports Connection Wins, Donaghy went through a series of steps, including undergoing multiple mental evaluations, to get cleared by his probation officer to work with Bianculla, according to court documents.

But when it was uncovered that Biancullo, who also uses the alias Danny Berrelli, had a past felony conviction on gambling charges, an investigation was launched, resulting in a Monday hearing conducted by phone. As a part of his probation, Donaghy is not allowed to associate with felons.

During the investigation, Biancullo told probation officer Ms. Gerri Cotter that Donaghy did not know of his previous convictions and had done nothing wrong, court documents show.

Donaghy represented himself at the New York-based hearing that Mooney says was unnecessary and unusual. Most probation employment issues are handled directly by the probation office, which, according to Mooney, just “tell you to stop working there.”

“That’s an unfortunate situation that restricts Mr. Donaghy’s ability to earn a living and support he and his family,” said Mooney, who is representing Donaghy in his civil case against his former book publisher Shawna Vercher. “Mr. Donaghy looks forward to putting everything behind him about this case and move forward with his life, daughters and family.”

After his release from prison in November 2009, Donaghy submitted 150 resumes while looking for employment.. He had secured a job overseeing several ice cream shops, but his probation officer didn’t allow him to take the position due the travel required.

He worked for a licensed gambling treatment center, Firststep Inc., for brief period, but the the New Jersey-based center was unable to pay due to financial issues.

All this came on top of his book publisher failing to pay him royalties on his book, “Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal That Rocked the NBA.” Donaghy won a judgment against his former publisher, Tampa-area political radio host Shawna Vercher, and will be in civil court Friday, when the final ruling, including the exact settlement figures, will be announced. The initial ruling found Vercher to be liable for more than a million dollars in unpaid royalties.

Link

There was no “good job, good effort” at the end of a women’s doubles badminton match between world champion China and South Korea on Tuesday.

In fact, there was very little effort at all.

The Badminton World Federation released a statement Tuesday, accusing four teams—two from South Korea and one from China and Indonesia—with “not using one’s best efforts to win a match” and “conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport.”

Gambling didn’t appear to be behind the lack of effort. Instead, the teams threw the matches to get a better draw in the knockout round. All eight athletes were expelled from the tournament on Wednesday, hours before they were scheduled to compete in the quarterfinals, according to the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, the South Korean team of Jung Kyun-eun and Kim Ha-na upset the China’s world champion team of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang as 8/5 underdogs. The longest rally in the first game was only four strokes, and fans booed the teams as they left the court.

“We would try hard in every match if they were elimination games,” Yu told reporters after the match. “Because they are group stage that’s why we are conserving energy. If we’re not playing the best it’s because it doesn’t matter — if we’re the first or the second (in the group) we’re already through. The most important thing is the elimination match tomorrow.”

A second team from South Korea and Indonesia repeated the act in the following match, reportedly hitting serve after serve into the net or out of bounds.

“It’s not good when you create a tournament where the players are put in this situation,” Australia coach Lance Bundagaard told the Associated Press said. “If you can win a medal by losing, but not by winning, that’s not a good situation to be put in. I totally understand why they are doing it. Now the Indonesians are doing the same but it’s not a good situation to be put in.”

Wayne Root didn’t recall interview with Ga. Senator Chip Rogers

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

Politician and sports handicapper Wayne Root does so many interviews that he says it’s easy to forget who’s interviewing him – even if the interviewer is the majority leader of the Georgia Senate.

In May, Root said he had never met Ga. Senator Chip Rogers, who is under fire for his role as a TV tout and sports betting operation in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Root has been a sports betting prognosticator and pick seller for years and still owns WinningEdge.com. He has emerged in the political scene and was the 2008 Libertarian candidate for Vice President.

[Read the interview here].

But Root appeared on a radio show guest hosted by Rogers on Dec. 9. According to audio obtained by David Purdum Sports,  Rogers, who was guest hosting the Martha Zoller Show on 103.7 FM in Georgia, opened the interview by saying, “always good to hear from you” and closed it by saying, “Wayne’s a great guy.”

It certainly sounds like Rogers and Root had met before. Maybe their paths crossed in the sports betting world or in the political arena. But it also could have been just radio rhetoric. Or maybe Rogers was just pretending again, like he did when portraying a role of an expert sports handicapper Will “The Winner” Rogers.

Root maintained that he had never met Rogers in an email exchange this week, adding, “If I spoke to him one time on phone as guest host, who cares? I did not know it. It was just another guest host/voice on the radio. I don’t understand why you would care? I don’t think it’s a crime to have been a guest on a show one time with ANYONE!”

Meanwhile, Georgia voters are at the polls today to decide whether or not Rogers will win another term.

BetED sportsbook operator pleads guilty

By David Purdum / @DavidPurdum

Darren Wright, one of two men indicted on gambling charges last May for operating the now defunct online sportsbook BetED.com, pleaded guilty to conducting a gambling business charges Monday in Maryland District Court.

Wright was sentenced to two years probation and was required to pay a $100,000 assessment. According to court documents, he paid the amount in full.

Meanwhile, BetED customers, who had their accounts shut down without notice last May, have not been reimbursed.

Wright was facing a maximum punishment of five years of imprisonment without parole, followed by a term of supervised release not to exceed three years and a fine of $250,000. But Wright is likely looking at a much less severe punishment.

David Parchomchuk, the other man indicted in May 2011, also pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal gambling business and was sentenced to two years of probation on June 8.

Wright’s attorney Douglas Applegate did not return emails requesting comment about customer funds or Monday’s arraignment.

Parchomchuk’s lawyer Jeff Ifrah told David Purdum Sports in June that his client was never in charge of nor had access to client funds. “He is very concerned about customers who cannot access their funds,” Ifrah added in an email.

In his plea agreement, Wright admitted to operating BetED.com from at least October 2009 to April 22, 2011. BetED was located in Costa Rica and had at least 20 employees.

He was caught after signing an agreement with Linwood Payment Solutions, a processor set up by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

From the plea agreement:

New Jersey sports betting: Odds are against it

New Jersey is attempting to defy the odds–and the federal government–by offering sports betting as early as September.

By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum

Few believe New Jersey gamblers will be betting on the NFL in September, but that doesn’t appear to be slowing down the state’s efforts.

A day after New Jersey gaming enforcement posted proposals for sports betting regulations, Monmouth Park said it would be the first track or casino in the state to take bets on sports.

“We’re the only ones who appear willing to go forward right now,” Monmouth Park operator Dennis Drazin told NorthJersey.com’s John Brennan on Tuesday. “Everyone else wants to wait and see how it plays out.”

Meanwhile, count the oddsmakers at prominent online sportsbook Betonline.ag among those who don’t believe it’s going to happen. The book posted odds on whether or not New Jersey gamblers will be able to place a  wager on an NFL football game in Week 1.

“No” is an overwhelming 1/9 (-900) favorite, with “Yes” paying 11/2.

Dave Mason, brand manager for BetOnline.com, said his company isn’t overly concerned about a big drop in business, if and when New Jersey does get up and running.

“Sure, it will take some business away, but we don’t feel it will be “significant” by any means,” Mason said in an email Tuesday. “If I’m not mistaken, folks still have to get in their cars and go to the casinos/tracks to get-down. And there are other conveniences when you bet online like bonuses, way more options, better odds. Also when you win big at the casino, I’m sure they’ll be handing you a tax form.”

Multiple Las Vegas sportsbook managers have said they strongly doubt New Jersey will be up and running in time for this NFL season.

“It’s not happening until 2014 at the earliest,” a Vegas bookmaker told David Purdum Sports last week.

Here’s a quick look at some of the notable regulations proposed Monday and posted on the New Jersey Register:

13:69N-2.1 Betting on behalf of another prohibited

Persons shall place a wager at a sports wagering operation only on their own behalf and shall not wager on the account of or for any other person. Any person wagering or attempting to wager on behalf of another person shall be subject to the civil penalties set forth in the Casino Control Act. No licensee shall accept a wager from a person on the account of or for any other person.

13:69N-2.3 Patron wagers

(a) A wagering operator shall not accept any wager pursuant to this chapter unless it has provided written notification to the Division of the first time that wagering on an event is offered to the public at least two business days prior to accepting a wager on such event, provided that notice is not required whenever the odds change on a previously offered event. The Division reserves the right to prohibit the acceptance of wagers, and may order the cancellation of wagers and require refunds on any event for which wagering would be contrary to the public policies of the State.

(b) A wagering operator shall only accept wagers on events for which:

1. The outcome can be verified;

2. The outcome can be generated by a reliable and independent process;

3. The outcome would not be affected by any wager placed; and

4. The event is conducted in conformity with all applicable laws.

13:69N-2.4 Layoff wagers

A wagering operator may, in its discretion, accept a layoff wager from another New Jersey wagering operator. A wagering operator placing a layoff wager shall disclose its identity to the wagering operator accepting the wager. A layoff wager and, if applicable, a resultant payout shall not be included in the calculation of gross revenue.