The US strict stance on sports betting does seem justified at first glance but a closer look is needed to get the full picture. The first thing that needs to be kept in mind is that though illegal inmost states, sports betting is very much alive and well. Research by American Gaming Association(AGA) indicatesthat this season Americans are about to bet an estimated sum of $95 billion on NCAA and NFL games. What’s even more shocking is that 96 percent of that money will be placed on illegal gambling platforms. The strict regulations against sports betting combined with America’s insatiable want for wagering has encouraged the growth of a huge illegal and unregulated industry.
To understand the current situation it’s important to look at what happened back in 1992. Senator Bill Bradley supported by major sporting leagues including NCAA, launched a relentless attack against sports betting. Among other things, his argument was betting sent a wrong message to the country’s youth as it encourages them to believe that money supersedes the importance of sporting achievements. Bradley got support in Congress as representatives spoke up in favour of making sports betting illegal in the United States. The campaign was more or less a success as Congress passed the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in the same year. This act illegalized state-regulated sports betting with an exception of Nevada and few other states. As it stands today, Nevada is the only state to legally offer a wide range of sports betting options. The monopolization of Nevada as the sports betting destination and the restrictions imposed on every other state was all thanks to Bill Bradley’s crusade against sports wagering and the regulations set forth by PASPA.
Today, the illegal betting industry has nationwide reach and it’s estimated that Americans continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year wagering on different sporting events, NBA betting being widespread as well. In fact, illegal sports wagering has become the most popular form of gambling in the United States.Making it illegal encourages Americans to deal with underground criminal enterprises with limited integrity and absolutely no oversight. The illegal sports betting has strong ties with organized crime and the lack of oversight creates the perfect grounds for game fixing, money laundering, and scams.
One of the biggest arguments in favour of legalizing sports betting is it creates a healthy revenue stream for the government. According to many analysts, the sports betting market has tremendous potential to boost the nation’s revenue reserves. By legalizing it, the United States government could potentially collect an annual revenue of $12.4 billion. This move would almost instantly make the United States’ sports betting industry the biggest in the world. The industry could potentially grow to be five times bigger than Britain’s legalized sports betting market.
The British gambling industry serves as the perfect example of what sports betting could shape up to become in America. The entire map of Britain is peppered with legal and regulated gambling parlours.British citizens are also free to choose from hundreds of legal sports betting websites to put their money on anything from football to cricket. As is the case now in America, sports betting was once illegal in Britain. In 1961, amidst much debate sports betting was legalized and Britain’s gambling scene was changed forever. This nurtured to life a new industry and created thousands of jobs.
The US have a long way to go and plenty of hurdles to cross before it could create a legal gambling sports betting industry. New Jersey has been struggling for years to legalize betting within its borders. The legalization could potentially save the many bankruptcy-bound casinos and racetracks located in the state. However, the state has been sued thrice by sporting leagues such as NFL and NCAA. In fact, New Jersey recently lost a long-fought appeal to legalize sports betting in the federal appeals court. Even after facing multiple setbacks, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has launched a petition to reintroduce the arguments with the Third Circuit Court. New Jersey’s appeal is definitely a threat to PASPA. If the court rules in favour of New Jersey then there is a long line of states that would follow the same path to legalize sports betting.
The stance of NFL, NCAA, and other sporting bodies have been consistently in favour of PASPA. They have also been the primary enforcing agents in curbing states from legalizing sports betting. NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell have issues strong statements opposing the sports betting. He argues that nationwide legalization could potentially damage the game’s integrity.
Some experts concur that NFL’s approach against sports betting is hypocritical. This is because NFL games played in Britain can be betted on through legal sportsbooks and via British sports betting websites. Even though it’s a known practice, NFL is yet to issue an official statement opposing sports betting in Britain or the ‘integrity’ of the game being compromised. Furthermore, NFL actively promotes Daily Fantasy Sports, which some might argue is a form of sports betting. NFL’s Roger Goodell said that he does not consider DFS to be gambling. However, theNevada Gaming Control Board disagrees with Goodell’s as they have recently classified DFS under sports betting.
At this point, the future of America’s sports betting is up for speculation. However, it’s clear that the current federal regulations are definitely not stopping Americans from indulging in illegal wagering.