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Pain Meds As Public Nuisance? Oklahoma Tests A Legal Strategy For Opioid Addiction

Games and Odds NPR

The first civil trial against an opioid manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has ended in Oklahoma. The verdict could affect lawsuits filed by other local and state governments coping with addiction.
'The first civil trial against an opioid manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, has ended in Oklahoma. The verdict could affect lawsuits filed by other local and state governments coping with addiction. (Image credit: Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman)'

Sanders: You bet I’ll be breaking up the tech giants

Games and Odds Hot Air

'I’m not sure if this is a reaction to the fact that he’s fallen to fourth place in a number of recent polls or just a reflection of his previous positions, but Bernie Sanders is going all in on stronger anti-trust policies.He told the Washington Post this week that if he’s elected president he would absolutely look to break up the tech giants . That’s going to go over well with his more socialist followers who are basically against capitalism in general, but the rest of the country may still be a bit more skeptical. (Politico) Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today said that if elected president he would “absolutely” look to break up online giants Facebook, Google and Amazon, offering his strongest pledge to date to pursue antitrust enforcement against the tech industry.Asked at a Washington Post event if his administration would try to split apart those three tech titans, Sanders said, “Absolutely.” He singled out Facebook in particular as having “incredible power over the economy, over the political life of this country in a very dangerous sense.” His comments followed an assertion that Amazon is “moving very rapidly to be a monopoly.” Sanders didn’t stop there, however.He also suggested a laundry list of other sectors in need of Big Brother’s ruler across the knuckles.He included Big Pharma, Wall Street and basically any corporations that appear to be “too large.” I’m sure somebody on Sanders’ team has informed him that this remains a fringe position in the general population.We have some very recent polling showing that solid majorities say it is unnecessary to break up large companies just for being “too big.” The support for such anti-trust action is generally in the low thirties and is found primarily in Democrats and self-described liberals under the age of 40.This is a touchy subject for a lot of people, and understandably so.It’s easy to be upset at any of the tech giants at any given time.Between either selling off our data or failing to prevent hacking, censoring (primarily conservative) opinions and all the rest, there’s plenty to complain about.But at the same time, particularly for small-government conservatives, trust-busting action is thin ice to tread upon.I don’t advocate abandoning all anti-trust laws.There have been cases where companies have used total dominance of physical infrastructure and the resultant huge monetary advantage they gained to stomp out all competition.This results in the stifling of innovation and higher costs. (Think of Ma Bell back in the bad old days.) But the internet is still largely a free-range battleground.The advantages that Facebook and Twitter have (just for two examples) don’t come from ownership of the data pipelines into everyone’s homes.They were in the right place at the right time and delivered something most everyone both wanted and shared.Should they be punished for that?My heart wants to say yes, but the capitalist in me insists I say no.There are alternatives to all these services, most of which can be had for free with the click of a button.If they tick off enough users for whatever reason, people will vote with their feet.Handing that unfettered power to the federal government to use at their discretion would likely “solve” one problem while introducing a much larger one to replace it. . The post Sanders: You bet I’ll be breaking up the tech giants appeared first on Hot Air .'

The DC Sports Betting Contract Fiasco Is Nothing New For The District Council

Games and Odds Legal Sports Report

There appears to be a lot of smoke generated when the Washington DC Council and Intralot link up, even if there's not an obvious fire for DC sports betting.
'This past week the Washington, D.C.Council voted to approve a sole-source, no-bid DC sports betting contract with Greek gaming company Intralot . The deal finally received approval more than six months after the DC council passed a sports betting law and decided Intralot would be the only provider . The award of the contract to Intralot appears to have been given a kick forward by a report from market research company  Spectrum Gaming Group . Called into question by some , the Spectrum report suggests that if Washington DC were to launch sports betting in 2019 as opposed to 2022, in three years the district would generate: Roughly twice as many jobs; Almost twice as much business revenue; Just under half of the estimated net new economic activity projected over the next 10-year period.Hold the phone The crushing impetus for D.C. to move forward with such urgency stems from a purported first-mover advantage.West Virginia launched sports betting, and Maryland and Virginia discussed it, but never advanced bills to a point where it was likely to pass.Umm, what?The urgency to pass the bill and not going through the normal Request For Proposal (RFP) process was two-fold, according to the Spectrum report.The lottery provider “cannot be expected to make a substantial investment,” if they are limited to the duration of the existing contract.The RFP process can take up to three years.Based at least partially on these suggestions, the D.C. council moved forward without allowing competitors IGT and Scientific Games to bid.As what happened in D.C. settled in, and there was time to digest the absurdity of a no-bid contract being awarded in a hyper-competitive market, the situation gained more attention.DC sports betting contract becomes national news Back in June, the Washington Post ran a story with the headline: “Most of the District’s $215 million sports gambling contract to benefit companies with ties to city hall” In fact, the report revealed that the beneficiaries included : A former D.C.State Board of Education official; A former worker and her associate on Mayor Muriel Bowser ‘s political campaigns; Councilmember Brandon T.Todd ; and An executive who allegedly previously falsified documents related to bidding on a contract.Councilmember David Grosso was quoted in the story as saying, “You don’t give a contract to your friends.” Chairman Phil Mendelson argued that the awarding of subcontracts to politically connected groups was just the nature of D.C. business, as a result of a requirement that a certain amount of contracted work was to be performed by local entities.Flashback to earlier years This is not the first time that the D.C. council’s awarding of a contract with Intralot has come under fire.Indeed, an even bigger contract (without adjusting for inflation) caught the attention of federal authorities less than a decade ago.The original D.C.-Intralot deal came about after a contractor with another provider was rejected as a result of connected parties being too close to the then-mayor.After the initial deal was rejected, the contract was sent out for a second round of bids, this time with Intralot as the sole bidder.The 2009 Intralot contract generated significant federal law enforcement attention, including FBI investigation, a possible grand jury investigation, and the commissioning of a report by the Office of the Inspector General . The Inspector General report The DC Office of the Inspector General released its report of an investigation into the “Chief Financial Officer’s Lottery Contract Award on January 20, 2012 The request for the Inspector General to investigate the awarded contract originated from the D.C.Attorney General and the District’s then-Chief Procurement Officer.What was the IG looking into?The Inspector General’s office was looking into four related issues: Should the lottery contract have been returned to the Contracting Officer after the Council became aware that Intralot was “adding major players to the team?” Whether there was a sufficient “responsibility assessment of Intralot,” and their subcontractor partners, Emmanuel Bailey’s Veterans Service Corporation (VSC), and DC09, LLC.Whether allegations of misrepresentations by VSC, reported in the Washington Times, relating to their business status and references are supported by evidence.Whether councilmembers acted properly in reviewing and considering the awarding of “lottery contracts or drafting and enacting online gambling.” The IG’s findings In regard to the first question for inquiry, the Inspector General found that when major players were added to the team, that “changed the contract requirements in a material fashion.” This should have caused the issuing of an amended RFP and “allowed the three bidders to resubmit a best and final offer.” These should have then been resent to the council for review.The second route of inquiry was regarding a sufficient review of a “responsibility assessment” by the Contracting Officer.The Inspector General found that the conduct was within the requirements of the D.C.Code.In respect to the allegations mentioned in the article, the Office of the Inspector General determined: “even though the purported misrepresentations largely were substantiated, there was insufficient evidence that [the Chief Financial Officer] was aware of the misrepresentations let alone considered them.” The big question Did D.C. councilmembers act improperly in the eyes of the Office of the Inspector General?No, or at least there was insufficient evidence that the councilmembers had: “violated standards of conduct in the Council’s review and consideration of either awarding of the lottery contracts or drafting and enacting of online gambling.” The song remains the same The 2012 report, which concluded that councilmembers had not acted improperly, ruffled some feathers but ultimately resulted in the Intralot deal remaining in place.The circumstances are different this time around for DC sports betting.No longer are we talking lottery contract and iGaming.Now we are looking at sports betting, but many of the same characters are involved in yet another questionable contract.That  includes Intralot and Bailey . There is one cast member that has not been confirmed for the DC sports betting sequel: the Office of the Inspector General.Whether the Inspector General will take a look at this contract — let alone reach a different conclusion than the one reached in 2012 — is unknown.There certainly appears to be a lot of smoke generated any time the D.C.Council and Intralot get together, even if there is not an obvious fire. . The post The DC Sports Betting Contract Fiasco Is Nothing New For The District Council appeared first on Legal Sports Report .'

Without Mobile, NY Sports Betting Finally Launches Upstate At Rivers

Games and Odds Legal Sports Report

Six years after becoming legal, NY sports betting launches at Rivers Casino in Schenectady, but no mobile sports wagering is available.
'Almost six years after first becoming legal, New York sports betting became reality Tuesday.Rivers Casino in Schenectady launched its sportsbook with a grand opening ceremony including athletes and politicians.Rivers Sportsbook becomes the first location for NY sports betting , though it likely will be joined by a number of others in the coming weeks.Sports betting in New York is authorized under a 2013 voter-approved referendum . That measure limits legal sports betting to four upstate casinos, and state regulations also permit tribal casinos to offer sports wagering as well.The catch for NY sports betting New York sports betting remains limited to in-person wagers at the upstate facilities.While neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania both legalized mobile sports betting and realized far greater revenue because of it, New York failed to modernize its law in this year’s legislature.That bill represents only the most recent stalled effort to clean up NY sports betting law.Expanded sports betting in New York faces opposition from Gov.Andrew Cuomo , as well as questions over the constitutionality of placing bets off casino grounds . Sen.Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow remain committed to clearing mobile sports betting at next year’s legislature.They might ultimately need to push for another referendum to go before voters in Cuomo maintains his opposition to a legislative solution.Rivers runs through it Rivers ranked atop the list of favorites to launch first in NY sports betting.The Rush Street Interactive property shares technology and infrastructure with SugarHouse   Sportsbook and BetRivers   Sportsbook in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.Rivers will have competition in the market before long.Tioga Downs appears close to launch as well, while three Oneida Nation properties operated by Caesars announced opening dates prior to the September 5 start of the NFL season as well.The sportsbooks will remain hamstrung in terms of revenue potential without mobile wagering though.Schenectady sits a three-hour drive from New York City , a similar distance to other upstate sportsbooks authorized under NY law.More than 80% of New Jersey sports wagers are placed on a mobile device, with many coming from New York residents making the short trip across the border to bet.FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey says a quarter of its registered accounts belong to NY residents.Rivers will offer in-person wagering both over the counter and via kiosk.While the sportsbook will not be open 24 hours, the kiosks will be available at all times.The casino plans to offer both pre-game and in-game betting options. . The post Without Mobile, NY Sports Betting Finally Launches Upstate At Rivers appeared first on Legal Sports Report .'