When ideas point in different directions

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Editors read a lot of stuff. Some is good; some isn’t. From time to time, some of it triggers some further thoughts. Such was the case twice this week, but with inconsistent results.

I’m sure the poet Emerson would understand.


As Chris Sieroty reports in this issue, the regulation of fantasy sports was a frequent topic at last week’s Global Gaming Expo.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Act is the governing piece of federal legislation. It draws a hard line on the spread of sports betting, an unpleasant truth that New Jersey so far has been unable to shake in court. But the same act sets fantasy sports apart as a game of skill, not a game of chance.

Now, the distinction eludes me. I’ve won and lost money in both arenas and it feels about the same. Matching wits with professional handicappers who set the line feels like a game of skill. Watching your fantasy team crater when the quarterback gets injured feels like a game of chance.

Lawyers can, have and will argue both sides to a draw. But the most persuasive case is that both need to be treated the same.

And that’s where much of the chatter at G2E seems to have lost its way.

Who is served by cracking down on fantasy sports? The huge popularity – and profitability – of Fan Duel and Draft Kings assures that fans will follow the games offshore if necessary. That’s not productive.

Instead, why shouldn’t Nevada embrace fantasy sports and fold it into the mix of betting products? Challenging the feds to open a conversation against that backdrop would seem a better way to make the argument that all of the sports betting should be legal.

Naturally, there’s a downside. The feds will want a cut and, as race tracks can attest, the takeout can be lethal to the whole game. But if we all take a breath and recognize the size of the illegal betting pie, there’s plenty to go around.

Just get out of the way and let the marketplace work.


At the tail end of Rodric Hurdle-Bradford’s look at the economic power of Halloween is a passage putting in perspective the modest demand for hotel rooms for Halloween.

The argument is that arrangement of a three-day holiday weekend, the Life is Beautiful event and Halloween is creating a sort of tourism fatigue, particularly among Millennials.

That seems to have a ring of truth. But what’s the remedy?

The calendaring of Halloween and Veterans Day are outside the reach of the most powerful promoter. And the folks staging major festivals know their business.

Trade shows and conventions have the same problem. Do you stage an event at either end of CES or SEMA in the hope of getting some guests to stay over a few days? Or do you run the other way and get as far away from the elephant?

In the case of fun events, the deciding vote likely belongs to a significant other or whoever is babysitting the kids or perhaps the credit card statement. Those seem manageable obstacles.

In the case of business events, the boss and his budget may prove less malleable.

The larger question is whether Las Vegas is willing to put its economic interests in the hands of event promoters whose motives just don’t align with ours.

If you follow that line of thinking, it leads toward a scheduling czar who could use the power of permits to avoid potential clashes that could shrink the total pot.

Want to stage festival events that draw scads of Millennials four weekends in a row? Sorry.

Need to close the Strip three weekends this month? No sale.

Back-to-back title fights? Try again.

OK, call it socialism if you must. Reject it out of hand if you want. But a level of planning could avoid the kind of conflicts that can shrink the overall flow of dollars into our tourist economy.


So what we have today is an argument for letting the market rule and another for centralized planning.

Inconsistent? You bet.

The common thread? More pie for everyone.

Welcome to my world.


Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are dead. — Aldous Huxley



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