Many Athletes favor widespread legalized sports gambling
A recent poll given by the U.S paid television channel ESPN showed that 63% of athletes polled are in support of widespread legalized sports betting in the U.S. The poll consisted of players from four different professional sports; American football, basketball, ice hockey and baseball. The National football league (NFL), National basketball association (NBA), National hockey league (NHL) and Major league baseball provided 73 players for this poll.
The poll indicates that 58% of the athletes have had some direct personal experience with gambling activity in the past. That could easily include not only sports betting, but casino gambling which is well within the confines of US gambling laws. Out of that group though, 34% did own up to wagering on sports. Gambling is frowned upon and definitely not encouraged by any of the Professional sports leagues. Even notable examples, such as Michael Jordan excessive gambling, have only left most critics turning a blind eye.
Some Athletes Fear Possible Blowback
There was though some concern shown for possible blowback that the professional sports industry could face if sports betting were legalized. About 37% of the athletes polled suspected at a least one current or former teammate of having a gambling problem. Also, 41% felt that sports betting could also cause a threat to the integrity of U.S. sports. The integrity of the sport has been a major reason constantly given by lawmakers and their refusal to legalized professional and collegiate sports betting.
In the past, media exposure has been kind to athletes involved in sports betting. Often considered their own personal business, athletes have had the freedom to feed their gambling thirst. When the sport that’s gambled upon is bad, then problems can occur. An example is when NFL star Michael Vick went to prison for his involvement in illegal dog fighting. Also, when athletes make wagers on their own team it is looked down upon. Baseball legend Pete Rose was exonerated for his involvement with betting on his own team. In the poll, 10% admitted to being approached for info about their team.