If a playing field is not level, one team plays uphill (harder) and another team plays downhill (easier). The term “level playing field” was used in a figurative sense in banking in the 1970s, describing the differences between savings & loans and commercial banks. The exact origin of the term is unknown, but the term continues to be used extensively by Texans.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
level, adj. and adv.
level playing field n. colloq. (orig. U.S.) a state or condition of parity or impartiality; a situation offering equality of opportunity or in which fairness to all parties is observed.
1979 Amer. Banker 8 Jan. 2 [He] said the Oregon BA welcomed ‘any and all competition, on a *level playing field’.
5 October 1976, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Banking machines ruled illegal” by Cheryl Hall, section B, pg. 6:
William C. Hatfield, executive vice-president of Republic of Texas Corp. of Dallas, told The News that the high court’s decision will place new emphasis on getting legislation passed to put all financial institutions on a more level playing field. And that, he said, would be more beneficial to banks in Texas in the long run.
5 January 1977, New Castle (PA) News, pg. 5, col. 2:
John Bolger, lobbyist for the bankers association, said bankers will challenge the regulations. He claimed savings banks will have an unfair competitive edge if they can offer services similar to checking accounts.
“Our philosophy is that we have no problem competing with the mutual savings banks if they start from the level playing field,” Bolger said.
Inside the Third House:
A Veteran Lobbyist Takes a 50-Year Frolic Through Texas Politics
by H. C. Pittman
Austin, TX: Eakin Press
Pg. 248 (Quotes/Sayings/Slogans):
Barnes, Ben: “Let’s have a level playing field.” (Re: speed train hearings.)
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, September 18, 2007 • Permalink