More than half of people in the US support legalizing sports gambling according to a recent study. This is in stark contrast to two decades ago when the opposite was true – in 1993, 56 percent of people were opposed to legalizing gambling.
Sports betting is a thriving business, with an estimated $4.2 billion spent on Super Bowl 50 alone and some 56.8 million people playing some form of Fantasy League last year, so given the amount invested and the amount of people doing it, should sports betting be legalized across the country in all states?
Sports Betting Regulation
It’s possible that growing support for the legalization of sports betting is partly due to the fact that legalization would allow for better regulation. People who have lost substantial amounts of money on sports betting understand better than most the need to regulate the process. Looking across the Atlantic, sports gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the government. Their laws specifically protect children and vulnerable adults, which is a potential benefit to the legalization of sports betting.
Illegal Sports Betting
Even though legalizing sports betting could eliminate the potential for criminal profits and improve regulation, there’s no guarantee that illegal sports betting would disappear completely. It’s likely illegal vendors would offer better lines of credit and rates and wouldn’t stop taking bets any time soon.
Legalizing sports betting could potentially change the way players act on the field. It might also change the way that sports fans act entirely. "… fan loyalty would diminish," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in an interview with sportsonearth.com, "as many fans would focus less on their allegiance to certain teams, players, or cities and instead focus more on the outcomes of individual bets. The inevitable shifting 'loyalties' that would result from sports gambling could forever alter the relationship between teams and their fans."
Gambling Addictions Will Still Exist
The underlying theme of any sports legalization debate is the question of how we protect those addicted to gambling and prevent these addictions wherever possible. In America, around 2.5 million adults suffer from compulsive gambling. For many people, recognizing that they may have an addiction is the first step since when left untreated, there can be very serious circumstances. The average debt generated by a man addicted to gambling is between $55,000 and $90,000 while women gamblers average $15,000 of debt. Gambling has also been linked to depression, high suicide rates, and scores of mental health issues.
Get the Help You Need
If you suspect a loved one is addicted to sports betting you can reach out for support. If you have difficulty controlling your gambling cravings, the best thing to do is to take a step back from it and shut down your accounts. At Algamus, we understand what you’re going through. Many of our staff are in recovery from gambling addictions themselves. Symptoms of a sports gambling could include:
- An inability to stop or sign off at the end of the night
- Gambling with money you can’t afford to lose
- Attempting to “win back” money already lost creating a cycle
- Putting sports betting ahead of everything else
- Feeling that sports betting is negatively impacting your emotional wellbeing
Help is here if you experience an addiction to sports betting or to other forms of gambling.