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Popularity of Sports Betting Surges After Legalization, But Concerns Persist

Popularity of Sports Betting Surges After Legalization, But Concerns Persist

Popularity of Sports Betting Surges After Legalization, But Concerns Persist


Contributing Writer

February 16, 2023

Dylan Ah Now '25 and Rayeef Rahman '24

Sports betting has been a popular pastime for decades, and its popularity is only increasing. In the past, individuals who wanted to place a bet on a sporting event had to visit a casino or sports betting establishment in one of the few states where sports betting is legal. Now, due to Murphy v. NCAA, and sports betting advertisements, sports betting has risen in popularity and bets can be placed anytime and anywhere with the click of a button online.

Mobile apps have streamlined organizing one’s bets. Apps offer real-time updates on the status of bets and live odds as games go on. Through the easy access provided by these apps, people may be introduced to these games earlier in life, which could create a culture of gambling among young people.

The recent spur in popularity of sports betting is due to increased access and the right for states to legalize sports betting. In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection (PASPA) Act banned sports betting in all states except for Nevada, Montana, Delaware, and Oregon. The 2018 Murphy v. NCAA court case ruled the PASPA sports ban unconstitutional, because it violated the 10th Amendment. As a result, each state was allowed to regulate its own sports betting. Thirty-six states now offer some form of sports betting and many others are considering legalization.

Due to the increased accessibility of sports betting, sites have also devised new tactics to incentivize gambling. For example, many sites offer “free bets.” Bettors are lured in as they initially aren’t playing with their own money and may even profit. Another reason for the rise in popularity is the recent emergence in advertising and sponsorships. The live sports industry is the main area where the sports betting industry gets sponsors. Advertisements and logos are often seen on fields, on uniforms, and TV commercials, encouraging viewers to take advantage of new deals and promotions. This visual exposure to sports betting advertisements allows for the popularity to increase.

According to the American Gaming Association, the total amount of money wagered on sports in the U.S. is expected to reach $13 billion in 2020, a significant increase from the $4.5 billion wagered in 2018. A recent survey conducted by the Morning Consult, a business intelligence company, found that around 15% of adults in the U.S. have bet on sports in the past year, up from 11% in 2018. The legalization of sports betting hasn’t just affected adults,, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the issues in youth gambling, reported that 5% of high schoolers have some sort of addiction to gambling despite the fact that the legal gambling age in every state is 21.

The potential downsides of sports betting, such as gambling addiction and concerns about corruption and undue influence, must be acknowledged and addressed in order to ensure responsible and ethical betting practices. Gambling addictions can have devastating consequences for both individuals and their families. A study conducted by the National Council on Problem Gambling found that approximately 2 million Americans meet the criteria for gambling addiction and suffer from an array of its problems. Moreover, there are also concerns about corruption in the sports betting industry. With so much money at stake, there have been instances of athletes and teams being accused of engaging in illegal activities, such as throwing games or fixing outcomes, to benefit from the betting market. This undermines the integrity of the sport and raises serious questions about the reliability of the betting odds. Furthermore, there have also been reports of bookmakers and organized crime groups attempting to manipulate the betting market through insider information and illegal activities, which is a cause for concern.

The rise in popularity of sports betting can be attributed to a number of factors, including the legalization and regulation of the activity in many states, the increased accessibility and convenience of mobile betting apps, and the rise of live betting. It’s crucial for the industry to promote responsible gambling and for individuals to be aware of the risks associated with sports betting. Overall, the sports betting industry has grown significantly in recent years and is expected to continue to do so, but it’s essential that it’s done in a responsible and regulated manner.

Rayeef Rahman is a contributing writer for The Record.

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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