UK bookies William Hill may be relatively unfamiliar with American football, but its US division is keen to make up for lost time. William Hill US is ramping up for the imminent arrival of a new National Football League season with the rollout of Version 3.0 of its mobile sports betting app. The Nevada-only app now offers players access to a variety of parlay cards as well as full in-play wagers on every game in the 2013 NFL campaign. Hills US’ CEO Joe Asher said the additional features were further evidence that Hills’ mobile app was “the best wagering product” in the Nevada market.
COLBERT CALLING TO THE FARAWAY TOWNS
Hills’ crosstown rivals Cantor Gaming also have a popular Nevada-only mobile sports betting app. Unlike Hills, Cantor has a former VP under indictment by the Department of Justice for conspiracy, money laundering and other shenanigans. Former Cantor VP Mike Colbert was arrested last October over his alleged role as an agent for Curaçao-based online sportsbook Pinnacle. Colbert has pled not guilty, which didn’t stop Cantor from kicking Colbert to the curb, which didn’t stop Nevada officials from opening an investigation into how much knowledge – if any – Cantor had of Colbert’s illicit activities. Last week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s top cop Jerry Markling told Betting Talk’s David Purdum that he was still “actively pursuing” the investigation but hoped to have “some sort of resolution” to the betting brouhaha before the end of the year.
One would think, given the hefty sentences the DOJ has recently meted out to other individuals accused of illegal sports betting activity, that Colbert would be hell bent on maintaining a low profile. Instead, Colbert has begun appearing on ESPN Radio 1100’s First Preview program, which is produced in Las Vegas. As originally reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Howard Stutz, Colbert’s appearances on First Preview have featured the indicted bookie prognosticating on baseball and NFL exhibition matchups. Colbert has also apparently founded a sports consulting firm, suggesting he doesn’t intend to go quietly into that good night.
SPORTS BETTING = EVIL; MARIJUANA = MEH
The DOJ’s dogged pursuit of anyone making or accepting sports wagers outside of Nevada stands in stark contrast to Thursday’s announcement by US Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured far right, holding the Led Zeppelin) that the federal government won’t pursue legal action against the states of Colorado and Washington over last November’s legalization of possession and use of small amounts of marijuana. A statement on the DOJ’s website says that given “assurances that those states will impose an appropriately strict regulatory system, the Department has informed the governors of both states that it is deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time.”
The DOJ warns that it won’t hesitate to intervene if states prove incapable of preventing marijuana’s “harms” – such as minors gaining access, allowing the free flow of chronic across state lines or any blazing up on federal property – but barring any “PRINCIPAL HANDS OUT REEFERS AT RECESS” headlines, the DOJ intends to rely on state and local law enforcement agencies to monitor the activity.
Contrast this hands-off stance with the very hands-on approach the DOJ has taken with regard to New Jersey’s efforts to allow its residents to enjoy Nevada-style single-game sports betting within the confines of their state’s borders. Sports betting legislation has been approved by a majority of New Jersey voters, passed by legislators and signed into law by the governor, yet the DOJ has mounted an Alamo-worthy defense of Nevada’s separate but unequal status among America’s 50 states.
Perhaps there’s a middle ground here that both sides are overlooking. Perhaps New Jersey needs to launch a chain of medical marijuana dispensaries in which product names like Maui Wowie and Acapulco Gold are replaced by a menu of monikers like Jolly Blue Giants and Cheese Steak Eagles, with a sidebar grouping products in pairs of two, with the relative potencies of each displayed via a +/- figure. “Yeah, can I have a dime’s worth of the +3 Miami Flippers?” You’re welcome, America.