When you think of what is legal and what is not in the United States, sports betting typically is not one of the first things to come to mind. In fact, the organized betting on sports games is currently illegal in 49 of the 50 states in the country, with the only exception being Nevada. However, that may all soon change, in fact it may change as early as next week as the United States Supreme Court could issue a ruling allowing sports betting in New Jersey as early as March 5th.
If the Supreme Court decides in favor of New Jersey and allows sports gambling outside of the state of Nevada, that could be the opening of floodgates. According to ESPN, many other states like Delaware, Pennsylvania and states near to the area such as New York and Connecticut would then file for legal sports betting. If the Supreme Court allows sports betting in New Jersey, there would be no legal reason it would not be allowed in any other state that wants it.
It may seem that if something as harmless as sports betting is legal in one state, it should be legal in all states. However, there are some major corporations who are not in favor of legalized sports betting. Some of those include the MLB, NFL, NHL and NCAA.
Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, told an ESPN radio show that, “You want to be certain that there are no outside influences on our game, and that fans don’t even have any issue with that; they understand, whether it’s a perception or not, that there is no influence on our game. And that’s something we stand firmly behind on the integrity of our game.”
While it would be easy to see that widespread sports gambling could corrupt players and coaches and lead to fixing games and points shaving, it is more probable in my opinion that the leagues are standing in the way because there is no way for them to make any money from the system. If it was possible for the leagues to make money off of betting without having a serious conflict of interests, they would jump on that.
With one of the biggest sports betting events of the year coming up, the NCAA basketball tournament, or more commonly known as March Madness, it would be the perfect time for more legalized sports betting in the United States. According to Marketwatch.com there is approximately 9.2 billion dollars wagered on the games, with the majority of it currently being illegal.
If the bets were legal, the government would be able to tax the winnings and make more money, instead of receiving tax dollars through other means. This would be a benefit to almost all Americans and not just sports fans that are looking to make money off of their favorite teams.