Calls For Cautious Approach To Legalizing U.S. Sports Betting
The debate over legalizing sports betting in the U.S. has taken a dramatic turn in the last six months. While traditionally all the major sporting bodies including the NBA, NHL, MLB etc. have opposed legalizing sports betting as they believe it would affect the integrity of professional sports. The turnabout of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in his much talked about op/ed piece in the New York Times has resulted in a major boost for the pro legalization group.
Silver pointed out the obvious in that outside of the U.S. sport fans can gamble via their smartphone without legal hassles. Congress need to get in touch with the times and legalize sports betting subject to “strict regulatory requirement and technological safeguards.”
An interesting piece by Dwight Jaynes on Comcast Sportsnet gave some food for thought to the cautious approach of legalizing sports betting. He pointed out that while it is obvious that the leagues see sports betting as a major cash cow they may well be underestimating the possible negative ramifications legalized sports betting could have.
This include an increase in gambling addition and more worrying to the game itself, the possibility of professional players betting against themselves. The resources to monitor this and prevent any insider gambling could cost millions and it is doubtful if they would be totally effective.
These questions are important to consider in the debate but it is hard to argue that real money sports betting is not already in place with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel offering hundreds of millions of dollars annually in prize money on fantasy sports.