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Should Sports Betting Be Legalized in the US?

Sports Betting in America

Within the past five years, the sports market in the United States has risen to over ten billion dollars and accumulating for a total of more than seventy billion dollars (Heitner paragraph 3). Not only are Americans in love with playing sports, but also watching them and even gambling on them. The one problem surrounding that statement is that betting on sports is only legal in seven out of the fifty states in America. That leads to the highly debated topic, should sports betting be legalized throughout the country?

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Now with the Supreme Court opening the door to legalizing sports betting last May, any state is free to pass a law allowing states to bet on sporting events (Helsel paragraph 5). All state legislators in America, would be smart to move towards allowing the legalization of sports betting. Legalizing sports betting will lead to an improved economy, with the addition of jobs being created. Also, sport betting’s legalization can reduce the illegal activity taking place around America of citizens betting illegally, which has led to many problems. While the argument of how sports betting can lead to people adopting gambling addictions, then casinos and all of the other avenues of gambling should be outlawed as well. The legalization of sports betting can put an end to the unsafe ways of illegal betting while also helping boost the economy.

Patrick Hauf argues here that sports betting will benefit the economy, “While the idea of state-sanctioned sports betting may worry some conservatives, they’d be surprised to know just how frequently it was already happening under the table. Americans bet an estimated $4.76 billion on Super Bowl 52 in February, with only three percent of that fortune gambled legally. The other 97 percent is mostly wagered using international betting applications”. With the legalization of sports betting, the money can be kept in the U.S. economy, which would benefit casinos going bankrupt in the nation. “In fact, regulated sports betting market could potentially add $2.9 billion to the annual profit of casinos nationwide—and that’s only the beginning of the economic benefits” (Hauf paragraph 5). America right now is missing out on an opportunity to not only strengthen their economy, but to also help save casino’s that are going into debt, and also saving people’s jobs.

Chris Grove proves how New Jersey is showcasing the benefits of sports betting to the economy, “Nevada provides a sense of where New Jersey might land. Historically, sports betting activity in Nevada jumps about 150% from August to September, suggesting that New Jersey should approach $250 million in wagers during September after totaling just under $100 million in August”. New Jersey is helping showcase the benefits of sports betting to the economy. Not to forget that the numbers will most likely increase in New Jersey due to the openings of more and more sports books. In New Jersey, you can now not only have to go in person to a sportsbook, but you can also place wagers online through mobile apps. The mobile apps have provided most of the income, since it is more convenient to place a bet right at the touch of your fingers instantly.

With the increase of the new sportsbooks taking place throughout New Jersey there is now an uptick in the amount of jobs being created. Many sports betting websites are being created associated with their sportsbook, looking for writers and content creators for the sole purpose of sports betting. Now when watching TV channels such as ESPN, there are segments dedicated strictly to discuss just sports betting. Even with only seven states having legalized sports betting, it goes to show that the average sports fan is particularly interested in the gambling aspect of sports. This will create a whole new section for the entire sports media world, which will now demand for a whole new area to be covered. “The legalization of sports betting would contribute between $11.6 billion and $14.2 billion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) annually, depending on which states legalize it and their specific tax rates. Additionally, a legal sports gambling system would create 125,000 to 152,000 jobs paying between $6 billion and $7.5 billion in total wages.” (Hauf paragraph 6).

The installment of a legalized sports betting alternative would help eliminate most of the illegal betting activity. Many people to this day have found alternatives to betting on sports such as bookies or even offshore sports betting websites. A bookie, someone who takes your bets illegally who can also make unfair betting lines, giving himself better odds. Not to forget the fact that still remains, all transactions made illegally through a bookie are unaccounted for and cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue (Singh paragraph 27). Also, there is the dangerous side to what can happen to the gambler who placed a bet that he can’t actually pay if he loses. In this case the one gambling will obviously not attempt to take it to the police because he is partaking in illegal activity. Not to forget, for those gambling on offshore websites they have your information, access to debit cards, and they can even not pay you out. Legalization of sports betting would largely eliminate the illegal and unsafe ways of gambling on sports.

One of the counter arguments to the legalization of sports betting is that it can lead to people becoming addicted to gambling. While this is a true point made about the legalization of sports betting, it is not a strong one. If sports betting shouldn’t be legalized, then what gives the right for casinos to be? Sports betting and gambling at a casino are just two different forms of betting money. When you’re playing cards your betting on that hand to win over the others, and when your betting on sports your betting on one team over another. In both of these categories it’s all about the odds and percentages of different outcomes, which usually ends up with most of the time, the house winning. If anything, you have a higher chance of winning money on sports betting than the casinos, because you have more options to choose from and different types of odds. In the end, a casino is no different from sports betting, and if sports betting should be outlawed due to the cause of addiction, then so should all casinos.

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The adoption of sports betting has many people fear that it can ruin the integrity of the game, although legalizing sports betting will actually make the game stronger than ever. “Sports wagering is going to have a dramatic impact on everything we do in college sports,” Emmert said. “It’s going to threaten the integrity of college sports in many ways unless we are willing to act boldly and strongly” (Gouker paragraph 1). NCAA President, Mark Emmert was actively trying to disrupt the legalization of sports betting. His points about how sports betting can create an unsafe culture for the integrity of college sports is absurd. Betting on sports has be going on for years and especially on college games through offshore bookmakers, local bookies, and wagering elsewhere. “All of this activity translates to hundreds of millions of dollars being bet on college athletics already. So, it’s curious when an organization like the NCAA talks about sports betting like some sort of new activity” (Gouker paragraph 8).

Now that sports betting has become legalized in a few states the American Gaming Association has been created to help protect and promote the industry interests on different gaming policy and other relevant issues. Sarah Slane, the American Gaming Association’s Senior Vice President states the positive effects on the legalization of sports betting, “The AGA continues to support the expansion of legal, regulated sports wagering. In the eight states where sports betting is now legal, consumers have a viable, safe alternative to place bets and benefit from the protection of stringent oversight by experienced gaming regulators. Without legalization, none of these protections exist and we leave game and bet integrity, consumers and athletes vulnerable.” Therefore, this means if you try to place an overwhelming wager on a game, the sports books are going to know who you are. Not to forget, it is just as much in their interest that the games are being played fairly as the leagues do. Sports betting scandals are bad business for both the industry as well as they are for leagues and teams (Gouker paragraph 17). The question then becomes, would you rather have hundreds of millions bet through offshore websites and bookies, or with the gaming companies regulated through US entities?

To conclude, there should be no question on whether or not sports betting should be legalized nationwide. Sports betting has shown in states where it’s legal, that it can help save casinos heading towards bankruptcy, which is saving people their jobs. The legalization throughout the nation can positively effect states economy, with the new legalized revenue. Not to forget, that with the legalization of sports betting could lead up to 125,000 to 152,000 jobs. A safer and more secure environment for sports bettors will be created due to the legalization of sports betting. Lastly, the integrity of all leagues and teams will now have a strengthened secure system to eliminate any possible scandals occurring. The sports betting market has just been tapped, but with a nationwide movement can help enlarge the economy and jobs, while ensuring a safer way to make wagers.

Works Cited


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