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Is legal sports betting a risky bet for Americans?

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“The 360” gives you a different perspective on the day’s top stories and debates.

what’s happening

Sports betting, a practice that has been illegal in nearly every part of the United States for decades, has exploded into the mainstream in the last four years.

Until recently, sports betting was effectively banned in every state except Nevada. Of course, that still happened, but bets were made through friends, bookmakers, or offshore betting sites. made a verdict. The decision allowed states to make their own decisions on whether to allow gambling in sports.

It took less than a month for the first state to begin allowing sports betting, and many others soon followed. Today, more than 30 states and Washington DC allow some form of sports gambling, but the details regarding how and where these bets are made vary dramatically. For example, some allow online betting, while others only allow face-to-face gambling.

With this new legal basis, sports gambling has grown into a large industry in just a few short years. In total, Americans have bet more than $150 billion on sporting events since the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide ban, according to a tally compiled by Legal Sports Reports. (Disclosure: Yahoo Sports has ties to his BetMGM.)

The US sports betting industry still has room to grow. California voters will join his two separate initiatives to lift the state’s sports betting ban in the November election.

why the debate

The rapid expansion of sports betting is a boon to sportsbooks, leagues and states that tax the burgeoning industry heavily. But not everyone is celebrating gambling’s newfound legitimacy.

Critics argue that the rapid expansion of sports betting will inevitably lead to an explosion of gambling addiction across the country. It points to research that This is because bettors connect emotionally with their team. While very few bettors develop gambling problems, opponents of the trend point out that there are too many available now.

Proponents of legal sports betting counter that these new laws simply legitimize practices already under the table. By doing so, states and businesses will be able to impose guardrails against problem gambling and provide support to those who develop addictions. It is also said to be of great benefit to About $1.7 billion in gambling taxes have been collected over the past four years, according to Legal Sports Report. The funds can be used to fund anything from schools to youth sports to addiction control programs. One initiative on the ballot in California, if passed, could generate $500 million a year to combat homelessness, according to a state government analysis.

Others argue that the decision to gamble or not, whatever the pros and cons, is a matter of fundamental freedom that should be left to individuals rather than governments.

what’s next

Despite as much as $500 million in spending from groups in favor of legalizing sports betting in California, polls show voters may reject both initiatives to do so in November. suggesting. Even if that happens, the push to expand sports betting into the Golden State and beyond is likely to continue at full force.



Everyone would be better off if sports betting was open.

“Gambling has always been a part of sport, and black market bookies have been implicated in some of the worst scandals in sports history. , which may help ensure the integrity of the game.” — Eric Boehm, Reason

States that ban gambling are giving away vast amounts of much-needed tax revenue

“There is an opportunity here that can provide the state with new income to address a major currently unmet need …or we will be left behind and tens of millions of dollars on the table.” — Editorial, Tulsa World

Legalizing sports betting may not really change the number of people betting on the game

“Before we imagine a country where addicts in decline sell baby formula and put the last parley on their phones, we have to consider that sports gambling was prevalent even before apps came along. Billions of dollars have been wagered on the bowl.…The point is, people have always bet on sports, legal or not, and they probably always will.” — Jay Caspian Kang, The New York Times

With the right controls in place, sports betting can be a positive force

“Obviously there are many fans who enjoy betting on their team. They should be allowed to do so. , and the creation of basic affordable checks can eliminate most of the problems that too often turn pleasure into tragedy and despair.”—Richard A. Daynard, Mark A. Gottlieb, Harry Levant, boston globe

Gambling freedom is a right every American should have

“While it can lead to financial problems for some, sports betting should be legal because people should have the choice to bet if they want. It’s a great country because it’s free.People are already guaranteed many individual liberties, and the freedom to gamble with their hard-earned money should be the right of every citizen.”—Samuel Freeman, Arkansas Traveler

Legal sports betting is inevitable, but that’s no reason to let rich special interest groups design the system

“The goal is to create the fairest system possible. Instead of allowing game companies and Native American tribes to rewrite state constitutions to their liking, protect us from such hoaxes.” The people we have chosen to do will quietly watch from the sidelines. — Marek Warszawski, Fresno Bee


America’s gambling addiction problem is becoming super-large

“Compulsive and problem gamblers have historically not attracted the kind of attention and support that society has given alcoholics and substance abusers, but as the sports betting boom continues, their numbers are sure to rise. Money is a substance abused by problem gamblers, and more dealers than ever before are pitching their chances of winning.” — Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

The sports betting industry reaps all the benefits, but the harm falls on the general public

“Beneficiaries are not gambling political funds out of altruism. They want big wins at great social costs. It’s a secret state legislators don’t want to face: gambling addiction is already a serious problem nationwide.” — Editor, Mercury News

Not worth abandoning principles for money

“For the proper use of the term mafia, I don’t care who wets their beak in state-sponsored sports betting. Legalized gambling tempts players to cheat, entice more people to bet money they don’t have, and lowers fan confidence in the game. dealer

The legal gambling industry puts exponentially more people at risk than the black market has ever done

“A small portion of the population engaged in behavior that was once thought to be immoral (or, as many now like to say, ‘harmful’) should be treated as the worst of their behavior. To protect against consequences, we have put millions of people at risk, apparently mitigating versions of the same risks and increasing profits for powerful corporations in negotiations. — Matthew Walther, The Atlantic

There is no way to know how the sudden explosion of sports betting will affect younger generations

“Until recently, every generation has grown up with some form of delayed gratification when it comes to making legitimate bets. You can bet on the game faster than you get it.” — Eric Adelson, Washington Post

Huge tax bills may not come true

“Continued activity in the black market could mean that the taxes generated by sports betting will trickle down rather than explode. , promised that taxing weed would provide much new funding for programs to help youth and prevent substance abuse. We just lowered it because the legal market is so confused.” — Editorial, Los Angeles Times

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