Should the U.S Legalize Sports Gambling?

Posted: February 6, 2015

Updated: February 6, 2015

Since the Super Bowl created $76 million in gambling revenue for Nevada, there is new discussion about repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Ever since the enactment of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on January 1, 1993, there has been debate in the United States over legalizing sports gambling. The PASPA Act restricts almost every state in the U.S. from wagering on college and professional athletics. Fortunately or Unfortunately (depending on who you’re talking to) today technology of debit cards, internet connections, virtual private networks and more advanced mobile device platforms makes sports gambling a bit more challenging to regulate. Legalizing sports betting may prove more cost effective and trying to control it. Regardless it’s definitely causing a stir in U.S. gambling news.

• Should the PASPA act by repealed?
Legal sports betting could help transparency
• Saving the integrity of the sport is outdated.

Much frustration, particularly by state and local governments, stems from the amount of revenue that is produced from sports betting. Nevada is one of the few states that authorizes legal sports gambling. In 1999, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported that gamblers in the state of Nevada waged $2.47 billion across all sports. At that time, the Super Bowl produced $75 million. This figure has grown exponentially throughout the years. In 2013, the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported $3.62 billion. The Super Bowl then generated $119 million for the state of Nevada. Nowadays illegal sports gambling throughout the U.S produced between $380 and $500 billion.

Today’s ban on sports gambling in the U.S could easily be seen as a modern day form of prohibition. In this case, history has definitely repeated itself because just as the public long ago found ways to illegally purchase alcohol, the public are finding ways to illegally gamble on sports such as mobile betting. State and Local authorities realize how much revenue sports gambling could produce if the PASPA act were repealed. Sports betting, once seen as an act of low repute, is starting to have different connotations by the U.S. public. This could easily be due to fact to the widespread growth of casinos and legalized gambling in states other than Nevada and New Jersey.

Government Involvement Could Help the Sports Gambling Industry

U.S Senator John McCain recently made comments concerning the legalization of sports gambling. “We need a debate in Congress. We need to have a talk with the American people, and we need to probably have hearings in congress on the whole issue so we can build a consensus.” Apart from the fact that McCain is an avid sports fan, he’s also considering the amount of revenue that sports gambling can bring to states as well as the greater transparency that will exist between gambling institution and their patrons. The old PASPA law was instilled to regulate sports gambling in the U.S. A new act would not only regulate gambler activity outside the industry, but inside as well.

A new modern bill that could effectively regulate college and profession sports gambling would be able to bring consumer protection and transparency that will benefit both authorities and players. We have seen this already in other forms of gambling. State lotteries, blackjack, keno and even betting on horse racing have minimal amount of internal control standards.

Regulating sports gambling according to U.S gambling laws would definitely that this arena, likened to the Wild, Wild West, down a notch. Such regulation would legalize bookmaker to track all wagers places by gamblers whether they are wagering online, through the phone or at any counter in a shop. Such laws would make sure that all wager had proper identification which would limit minor age gambling. The rich collection of data would bring further developments for all gamblers such as real times stats before kick or tip-off. It would also allow security to more closely monitor games that could be in question. Such transparency would allow the path of the wage plus the wager.

Would Legalized Sports Betting Affect the Integrity of the Sport?

Many people have always made the claim that gambling ruins the integrity of the sport. Anyone familiar with the ins and outs of the sports industry already knows if the sport ever had such integrity, it has already been violated. The thriving illegalized gambling industry in the U.S is only one such example. Consider college athletics, thought to be the echelons of sports purity in the U.S, and the systems of illegal funds and gifts that are channeled to individual players through “booster clubs.” These financial sponsors have such an artery of channeled networks, regulators still find it a challenge to track illegal transactions. Unfortunately they rarely bother.

Even on the high school level, schools will make a number of “back-alley” deals to the parents and guardians of young, gifted athletes. Special incentives are given to high performing athletes that make it more possible for them to get through high school with higher grade point averages and even test scores. Eventually such assistance allows them to skim by the entrance qualifications of colleges with more prestigious sports programs.
There have even been cases where small, church-based private schools were created for a few top athletes in order to reap the benefits of their future success. Illegal performance enhancing drugs are just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to integrity of the sport.

NBA Commisioner Adam Silver recently made comments about legalized gambling. “I have talked to the commissioners in the other leagues about this issue. I will say that certainly all of them are interested in having a better understanding of the issue, and I now have assigned people in their organizations to study intensively the issue as well.” New York, Indiana and South Carolina have already introduced bills to legalize sports betting this year. Silver also mentioned what he felt could be a drawback to federal regulation. “My greatest concern is that there will be a hodgepodge of regulations controlling sports betting that will vary from state to state making it harder to monitor betting.”

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