The legalization of sports wagering in the United States is gradually continuing. However, it faces several problems, which is why the process is constantly delayed. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sports betting, to compare the findings of three surveys regarding the topic, and to analyze the current situation and possible outcomes. Though there are many contradictions and challenges concerning sports gambling legalization, such policy may have a positive impact on the US economy.
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Online betting is becoming more and more a part of the life of modern America. In 2018 alone, more than ten states have legalized online betting. This is important news not only for those who like to bet but also for the sports industry in general. The NBA, for example, has already claimed its desire to cooperate with bookmakers and receive financial benefits from it. Buffalo Wild Wings, a chain of establishments (including sports bars), also plans to integrate betting into its restaurants across the country. Legalization will affect sports in the United States in one way or another.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University survey has found that the main reasons for approving sports gambling are “the lure of more money for the state (47%) and the practicality of allowing something that’s already being done (39%)” (para. 5). As for the Americans who are against the legalization of gambling, 44% of them are worried that it will promote gambling addiction, and 20% of respondents think that it will lead to cheating or the fixing of games.
The biggest concern is that with the spread of sports betting, the number of match-fixing will also increase, especially in collegiate sports. According to the National Research Group (2018), 41% of sports viewers believe that legalized sports gambling will hurt the integrity and fair play of collegiate sports. Besides, the financial issue remains unresolved, even though the legalization of sports betting can bring significant dividends to the leagues, it is not yet possible to agree with bookmakers about specific figures.
Teams that want a share of local bookmakers’ revenue also have their interests. Regarding respondents’ opinions on this matter, the vast majority of them (62%) disapproves of it (Fairleigh Dickinson University, 2018, para. 6). The situation is compounded by the fact that legalization may not affect all States, and therefore some clubs risk being at a disadvantage.
There is a problem in the world with betting among minors and match-fixing. These are the reasons why the US is so scrupulous about the process of legalizing betting. However, large companies know how to deal with this. For instance, online betting was legalized in the UK in 2005, and since then, there have been fewer than 10 match-fixing cases. In Europe, the percentage of that kind of event is also very low, except for a few leagues. The question is what methods to use to deal with this problem. With the right mechanisms for regulating online betting, most issues can be solved. It is essential to define advertising rules, a system of fines and liability for violations of any regulations, strict penalties for match-fixing, and the creation of funds to fight for integrity in sports.
The main advantage of legalizing sports gambling in the United States is a significant inflow of funds to the national treasury and the creation of new job vacancies. Moreover, the legalization of sports betting in the United States will lead to an increase in interest in sporting events. According to the Seton Hall Sports Poll (2018), “70% of Americans say they would be more likely to watch a game they bet on” (para. 1). More and more people will watch games and competitions; hence, the advertising appeal will grow.
The partnership between bookmakers and sports leagues is not just about money. Some large betting companies organize and sponsor competitions among young talents and schoolchildren. They are also interested in college sports, helping their development. In the past, bookmakers provided equipment and scholarships for talented children and young men who lacked funding. This would help to raise the overall number of gifted athletes in the country.
Moreover, bookmakers will help to make sports more accessible to children. Unlike other countries, in the United States, almost all youth sports organizations are private. That is why games such as hockey and football are not available to children from low-income families.
In general, despite the apparent obstacles, the future of the sports betting industry in the United States looks very bright. The survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University (2018) states that a significant majority of Americans (62%) favor the legalization of sports wagering. The US is one of the last countries among the developed ones that have not yet legalized online betting. However, this will change soon, as an increasing number of states have already authorized or are planning to legalize betting. Ultimately, this will have a positive impact on American sports.
National Research Group (2018). Place your bets: Inside the future of sports betting. Web.
Fairleigh Dickinson University (2018). Support for Supreme Court Ruling on Sports Betting. Web.
Seton Hall Sports (2018). Gambling. Web.