For as long as we can remember, gambling has played some sort of role in sports. While viewed negatively historically, in America, the relationship between sports and gambling is now evolving at a rapid pace. We have come a long way from infamous controversial incidents of the past. From Pete Rose in the 80’s gambling on his own sport of baseball as a player and manager to former NBA referee Tim Donaghy doing the same on the sport he officiated in the late 90’s and early 00’s, these types of issues – issues that cause viewers to question the authenticity of sports events – appear to be in the rear view mirror.
The commissioners and executives alike throughout sports are now much more friendly with the idea of sports gambling now that more focus has been placed on allowing it under conditions that will maintain the authenticity of games, matches and other events. But that is not the only factor at play. The league executives are also now more aware than ever before of the great financial impact that can come with the legalization of sports gambling. As more people have more access to recreationally wager on sports outcomes, there will be more interest, which will ultimately result in greater earnings potential for sports leagues. In different ways, this trend will be vital to the popularity of each sport going forward.
The fact of the matter is that many of the top leagues have always tolerated a form of sports gambling by way of fantasy sports. The NFL, for example, is the most popular league in America, and would be ignorant to say that gambling and fantasy football do not play a fairly big role in that success. Fantasy sports has become a way for all levels of fans of the game to come together and have fun while learning more about the game itself in the process. Many leagues organized amongst friends or at work, which usually use fantasy platforms hosted by Yahoo! Sports or ESPN, happen to contain a cash prize for the winner (i.e. “office pools”), thus making it an example of gambling.
Popular fantasy websites such as “Fanduel” and “DraftKings” have now opened up ways to bet on each game along with the already popular daily fantasy games they have been offering for years on a cell phone app. In addition, sports books and betting kiosks are now opening up across the four states that have followed in the footsteps of Nevada by completely legalized sports gambling as of October 2018 (Delaware, New Jersey, Missouri and, West Virginia), and are seemingly a big hit so far. You no longer have to be in Las Vegas to place these types of wagers.
Here is a good place to check if your state has legalized sports gambling, as well as how close those states that haven’t yet are to doing so themselves. How far can this all go? I have a good feeling we will find this out sooner rather than later.
Written by Carmine