Opinions

Sports betting should be allowed in the US

Gambling has been around for thousands of years, constantly changing and evolving with the times. Betting on sports is also a form of gambling — one that arises many mixed feelings.

Sports betting carries many negative connotations with it. There is a history of throwing games, of players betting on themselves, or worse, against themselves. When these things happen, people begin to doubt the teams and players they are rooting for, wondering if the whole season or game was thrown for a sports bet.

In 1992, the United States banned sports betting throughout most of the country through the Bradley Act. As years passed, most people were in agreement that sports betting should stay banned. However, that mindset has slowly started to change in the last decade. With the rise in popularity of fantasy sports, more people are in favor of sports betting. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, there are now 59.3 million people playing fantasy sports this year, up from last year’s figure of 57.4 million, which was higher than every year before it from 1988.

The greatest factor previously influencing people’s apprehension toward sports betting was that players often would accept bribes to throw a game. In today’s age of multimillion-dollar contracts, a player would be foolish to gamble for less money than most make annually. Especially in today’s social media climate and 24/7 news cycle, rumors and illegal activity are difficult to cover up. Throwing a game and getting caught would be throwing away a multimillion-dollar salary, millions of fans and reputation.

The sports betting industry could also assist the sluggish U.S. economy. The government already has in place heavy taxes for winning the lottery or winning big at a casino; those same regulations could be applied to sports betting, putting a heavy tax on winnings. Regulating the industry would also help eliminate a large section of the black market of sports betting that is currently proliferating.

Anyone who can legally participate in sports betting would be a consenting adult who is responsible for their well-being. There are age restrictions for playing the lottery or entering a casino, and the same can be applied to the sports betting industry. The argument that sports betting can lead to a gambling addiction is flawed, because many things can lead to a gambling addiction — even a crane machine addiction in search of one stuffed bear. Sports betting is just another form of gambling that should return nationwide and be accessible to those of age, as it can help the United States in more ways
than one.

April 17, 2018

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Katarzyna Borkowska


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