31 Jan Sports Betting
Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a bet on the outcome. The Supreme Court has invalidated the ban on sports betting, enabling each state to choose whether to allow wagers to be placed on sports. Earlier sports betting was prohibited nationwide, except for four states – Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. Majority of American citizens have supported the legalization of sports betting. 55% believed that it is beneficial for the economy with only 35% against the cause. Even President Trump happens to be a previous owner of many casinos. Therefore, this drift in the administration’s approach is not surprising.
Proponents consider sports betting to be good for the economy. Opponents claim legalizing betting won’t reduce illegal betting and will negatively impact the outcome of sporting events.
Let us consider arguments of both sides.
Despite being forced to operate under shadows, the betting industry has flourished. Illegal sports betting was churning money with profits as high as $150 billion. Supreme Court’s verdict is likely to encourage states to legalize sports betting, enabling people to continue gambling in a safely regulated environment. Bookies might lose their advantage, and gambling addicts may feel inspired to come out in the open and seek help without the fear of stigma.
However, Legal betting cannot for certainty eliminate illegal betting or the role of the bookies. Most people prefer placing bets with the bookies due to the generous line of credit provided. That is the sole reason that gamblers often find themselves in deep debt troubles. Bettors never need to deposit any security with bookies. Even with the introduction of legalized betting, the shady problems associated with gambling will undoubtedly continue to exist. Bookies will always be able to provide better margins and rates as they can easily cook their books and avoid taxes.
There is also a popular theory that sports betting is like stock trading. However, that is not at all the case. Sports betting is like any other gambling activity based on a hunch rather than a rigorous study of market trending. The fact remains that the house always wins, and legalization of sports betting might lead to people losing a lot of money which is not ideal for any society.
There is no denying that sports betting is good for overall economic growth. It is undoubtedly going to increase state tax revenues and create employment opportunities. Researchers estimate that legalized betting can create around 125,000-152,000 jobs for the American citizens and bring in a total of $6 billion in annual revenue for states by 2023. Currently, because of online gambling, the financial benefits are mostly enjoyed by International companies, however, with legalization in place this can change, and American tech companies can take over this monopoly.
Legalized sports betting can make fixing games tough. With authorities regulating the transactions and transparent accounting in place, we can bid goodbye to fears of corruption in sports. But, if we study history carefully, we will find enough examples wherein introduction of money has changed the overall outlook of people involved in a domain. It might take some time but eventually betting is more likely to corrupt sports than revive the excitement. The moment bets are placed on any activity there is a gradual shift in the focus. Money becomes the essence of the game, not the game itself. And if sports became all about money, it will defeat the purpose.
The Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the federal ban on sports betting is plausible, however, legalizing betting might not eliminate illegal betting and is likely to change the nature of sporting events negatively.