Sports Media

Is It Time To Legalize Sports Gambling?

Sports Gambling

(Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau via Getty Images)

Sports Gambling
It is time to legalize sports gambling across the United States (Photo by Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau via Getty Images)

“I’m not pro sports gambling. I’m just a realist.” Those are the words of NBA commissioner Adam Silver. When it pertains to the topic of sports gambling, it is only a matter of time before it is legalized. In this piece, I would like to discuss the potential advantages of sports gambling as well as disputing the negative claims we are all aware of. Let’s be honest people; Can any of you have a real conversation about sports without bringing up the point spread of the game?

Why Legalizing Sports Gambling Is The Logical Thing To Do:

Did you know you can walk into a William Hill in London and bet on Primer League Soccer game featuring Manchester United and Chelsea? There is evidence of this working in other countries folks. The sports gambling scandals in other countries involving players or referees simply don’t exist. Maybe this whole concept is much simpler than we all thought. For example despite the fact that pro-life voters often times vote Republican. The truth is there much less abortions when Democratic Presidents are in charge. The same can be said with our country’s abnormally high teen pregnancy rate. I tend to believe that our nonsense censorship laws and lack of sex exposure is a leading cause of this. Right now there is a huge black market for sports gambling. The same would be said if guns were illegal, there would be a huge black market. My point is sometimes making the thing we fear the most illegal can bring out the worst possible result. Maybe the right thing to do would be to legalize sports gambling with the intent of monitoring the activity.

Money talks. Let’s face it folks we are all being conned. The only reason sports gambling is illegal is because the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL hasn’t found a way to profit off of it (YET). The NBA is even going to be carrying advertisements on the teams jersey’s next season. Interestingly enough even though the NBA is going to profit from this transaction immensely, ticket prices for the fans are not expected to decrease. Across all of these sports leagues owners even often times collect millions of taxpayers money to finance new stadiums. Shouldn’t these billionaires pay for their own stadiums instead of relying on taxpayer money?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver seems to be ahead of the curve in regards to the legalization of sports gambling.

It’s good for business, I don’t want to hide from that,” he continued. “Putting aside whether or not we’re actually actively involved in any of the betting, it creates more engagement. We all know as fans if you have, even like a gentleman’s bet or a $5 bet with your friend on a game, all of a sudden you’re a lot more interested.

I did speak to all the other commissioners,” Silver said. “There was a range of reactions. Some were, ‘What are you doing?’ Others were, ‘Let’s study it, seems like an interesting idea.’ And that is not that we’re necessarily out there promoting sports betting, but the latest estimate is there’s somewhere between $300 and $400 billion a year being bet on sports in this country.

The only difference is he is trying to find a way to earn some of those profits. That $300-$400 billion profit when it comes to gambling wouldn’t go into the pockets of these leagues. Then again these sports leagues have no motivation of trying to pass gambling rights as long as it remains illegal in 46 of the 50 states. These sports leagues also know they need to pick their words carefully.

Dispelling The False Narrative Of Sports Gambling:

We all know the scandals regarding Pete Rose, the Black Socks, Tim Donaghy and so on. What people fail to realize is there are ways to monitor this. Sudden changes in the point spread often times cause stirs among the gambling community. However, if sports gambling was legal we would have a much better idea if that official was tinkering with the score for a reason. Of course, current players, coaches, and referees shouldn’t be allowed to gamble on the sport they participate. Then again there are relatively no scandals involving sports in other countries. Maybe that goes back to my point that it becomes much less tempting if it is legalized.

Sports Gambling
The Raiders could be moving to Las Vegas very soon (LVCVA)

Then again Las Vegas is a huge market. Pro sports leagues have been hesitant to stay out of Las Vegas for gambling reasons. The Oakland Raiders have even been considering a move to Las Vegas. The Raiders would thrive in Vegas for one reason, they are following the money trail. The gambling community alone would bring huge revenue to the Raiders games. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seems to be hesitant at the moment as the other NFL owners would subsequently have to approve the move as well. Convincing 32 white privileged owners that don’t understand how life really works outside of their bubble could be a difficult task but it isn’t impossible. The NHL will even have a franchise in Vegas starting next season. The NHL, in particular, knows they are falling behind the 8 ball compared to the other sports leagues. They realize the move to Vegas was the smart thing to do. Of course what makes LV so tempting is because they have legalized sports gambling that generates so much more interest in the particular sport. Dana White knows this, it’s why all of the big UFC events take place in the city of sin. Imagine the economic boom that would take place across the country if it were legalized. It goes beyond gambling, all of the sudden your buddy wants to go to the local bar or restaurant to watch the game you bet money on.

Sure the notion of addiction would certainly come into play. My response would be why are casino’s legal then? Why are news corporations allowed to advertise the power ball? The government holds 90 percent of the lottery profit only distributing roughly 10 percent back to the general public. When it comes to sports gambling your odds of winning that game between the Ravens and Steelers is 50 percent. It comes down to doing your homework and balancing out those tricky point spreads. Regardless your chances of winning are 50 percent. The casinos obviously don’t like those odds but, this is America we obviously can’t have nice things. Our government had a problem with the Draft kings and Fanduel ads for one reason. (They weren’t receiving a cut of the profit). Let’s face it these ridiculous laws don’t care if your buddy has an addiction problem, they only care about making money. Look at how much attention is given to fantasy sports. Fantasy Football has generated a ton of interest particular in the NFL even for people that could care less about the NFL. Legalizing gambling would have the same effect.

How Do We Get It Legalized:

Sports Gambling
Chris Christie may have paved the way for legalizing sports gambling (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Fortunately for us, the state of New Jersey has done a lot of the legwork. While Governor Chris Christie isn’t very intelligent and bled Jersey taxpayers dry fighting for this, it appears legalization could come sooner than anyone realizes. Christie, who is expected to be a part of new president Donald Trump’s cabinet, could fight for this to a further extent now. The incumbent law that prevents sports gambling is called the PASPA. As of now Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana are the only states that prohibit the use of sports gambling. New Jersey however tried to challenge this ruling through the courts by filling the following arguments.

(1) the Tenth Amendment’s “anti-commandeering” doctrine, which forbids Congress from commanding or dictating how a state regulates or governs its own citizens; and (2) the principle of “equal sovereignty,” which requires the federal government to respect the equal dignity of the states by regulating them on equal terms.

The courts, unfortunately, overruled New Jersey but it only a matter of time before more states join this cause. Currently, 40 states run commercialized casinos. It is only a matter of time before those states start to wonder whether the legalization of sports gambling would increase activity in the casinos. The economic impact this would have on the country could be enormous. Sports leagues across the country including the growing UFC could profit greatly by advertising this concept. Could you imagine the newfound excitement in the UFC if you could legally bet who would win the fight? The truth is a lot of the actual gambling that goes on takes place outside of the Las Vegas. In fact, it was recently found that 4 percent of NFL bets took place in Hoboken New Jersey. Only 3 percent of NFL bets took place in Las Vegas. It is only a matter of before sports gambling is legalized. Let’s hope it happens sooner rather than later.


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