Cash-strapped communities routinely pay through the nose to keep a pro-sports franchise in town. The justification has always been that a pro team brings other business and economic development. Studies have shown that this argument is false. Places like Newark want a professional sports team because it offers them a source of civic pride. But can Newark afford sports?
Gambling has been big business in New Jersey for a long time, and the state is prepared to go to federal court in hopes of opening its first sports book. But the recent history of the Garden State's less-than-legal sports betting scene suggests that the criminals will always understand this game better than anyone else.