How to Get on the Road to Legalizing Sports in America

Legal Betting USA

Executives, owners and high ranking officials have rallied to Silver’s cause, but the National Football League (NFL) and NCAA have shown opposition to changing U.S gambling laws. The NCAA stated that it “opposes all forms of gambling legal or illegal on college sports. The spread of legalized sports wagering is a threat to student-athlete well-being and the integrity of athletic competition.”

Roger Goodell

Roger Goodell (Photo: AP/Seth Wenig, File)

Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner said “we think the integrity of the game is the most important thing, and we believe that our current position is the right way to be able to admit that, but on the other hand, if changes happen, we’ll be prepared for those.” We will look into how the preparation for legalizing sports betting will come about while maintain the “integrity” of American sports.

The plight of the European gambling experience

Although the sports betting industry is under-regulated in the U.S, the information gathering systems in place in Europe aren’t as formidable is one would think. International Center for Sports Security estimates have shown that 15 percent of global sports betting is legal and is detectable by regulators. The difference in the U.S is that USD 3.9 billion is waged on sports legally through licensed bookmakers in Las Vegas.

• The NCAA opposes all forms of gambling legal or illegal on college sports
• Delaware’s licensed parlay system was waged USD 37.8 million this fiscal year
• NFL commissioner Goodell said betting will add suspicion and cynicism

In addition, USD 37.8 million waged this fiscal year in Delaware’s licensed parlay system for football alone. Online sportbooks in the U.S account for only a fraction of the market. Unfortunately these channels make-up under three percent of the hundreds of billions bet in the total market. The ever growing fantasy sports market and is also under-regulated and is fueling additional corruption internationally.

Creating transparency in the U.S betting market is complicated and involves not only regulating the punters but also the multi-billion dollar sports leagues as well. Sports leagues, who could be amassing illicit revenue through non-legalized avenues, must put greed aside for the sake of the overall market by taking a cut of the revenue. This revenue lost by sports leagues would ensure illegal bookmakers from offering their services at a lower rate than the legal market.

Gamblers and the gaming companies that thrive from them will have to pledge to be transparent to protect the integrity of the games and the market in which they work. Since Professional sports leagues thrive to give consumers high entertainment value, it’s wise to cater to their needs and provide them with simple, “user friendly” gambling options creating less inclination to go abroad.

What should the U.S do without disturbing “integrity”

Jake Williams of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football made a similar statement. “The government wants to tax revenue. The leagues need to focus on fan engagement and not tax bookmakers. They focus on engagement, they will see huge ancillary benefits like sponsorship, much higher TV broadcast rights and so on.”


Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Photo: CONCACAF)

Williams continued to mention the desires of betters. “Casual bettors need access to legal online betting, and pro bettors and syndicates need large and liquid legal markets. If they aren’t available, they will look offshore.” The money that can be made from the newbies and “regular folk” could make U.S gambling news if those more seasoned betters especially if the legal channels were incentive based.

One warranted concern involving the aftermath of sports legalization is that fans will be wearier of certain outcomes and question their authenticity. The NCAA reports that gambler routinely call the head office in Indianapolis to voice their dissatisfaction with the outcome of certain games. These complaints include suggestions of investigating particular coaches, teams or officials with constant beliefs the games involved “wrongdoing.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell once wrote Delaware Governor Jack Markell saying “professional sports involve athletic contests that must not only be honest, but be perceived by the American public to be honest.” Goodell also went on to say his stance on not legalizing gambling remains because it “not only adds to the pressure on our coaches and players, but creates suspicion and cynicism towards every on-the-field mistake that affects the betting line.”

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