Why Sports Gambling Should Be Legalized in All 50 States


(Photo: TimeMagazine.com)

Ben Dawson

Every night of the year, there will be a sports game on television.  Every night of the year, anyone can sit down and enjoy the sport of their choosing, whether it be baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, tennis, golf, or even bowling (nobody really watches bowling, but it still manages to be on ESPN all the time). Now imagine there was a way to enjoy all of these sports even more than people already do! That is where sports gambling comes in. Legalizing betting on sports would be a fantastic way to spark even more interest in sports events, and would not only improve the quality of the sports being bet on, but also the communities surrounding them.

Currently, sports gambling is legal in just eight American states: Delaware, Montana, Oregon, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Nevada.  Even with 42 states being in the dark, the industry still brings in billions of dollars a year. Now imagine if the rest of the country was opened up to the market! If state governments allowed people to place money on sports events, a share of money put in by the customer would be circulated back into the state. This would allow the respective state governments to use the earnings to improve community roads, school systems, and other important state projects.  

(Photo: WashingtonPost.com)

An article taken from the Las Vegas Review Journal takes an in-depth look at how the complete legalization of sports gambling would greatly benefit the common American. Any sports fanatic knows about daily fantasy sports, and may already put money into it. The author claims that making sports gambling legal would “wholeheartedly stimulate the economy.”

In addition to traditional casino betting, there have recently been new ways for people to gamble on sports events. The most recent, and currently the most popular, has been “daily fantasy sports.” Being able to gamble small sums of money each and every day makes the option very attractive in the gambling world, to the tune of million of dollars for a single year of revenue! You would think that this is a lot of money, which it is, but the number could easily be even larger. Outside of the eight states where sports gambling is legal, anyone who enjoys traditional betting is forced to use offshore booking accounts in places like the Cayman Islands. Legalizing sports gambling in all 50 states would bring all of the money spent offshore back into the States.

Should the Supreme Court completely and fully lift the ban on gambling, the market that comes synonymous with placing bets on the sports world would be opened up to every United States citizen. Due to the fact that most people are currently betting illegally, the vast majority of bets placed go down in very unenviable conditions. Both parties involved in the deals and gambles certainly can not be confident in their doings, knowing that what they are taking place in is illegal and could get them into serious trouble. With that market no longer being an illegal activity, the physical gambling process itself could be completely revolutionized. “Through smart, efficient regulation, we also can finally create a betting market that protects consumers,” says Geoff Freeman, the President and CEO of the American Sports Gaming Association. The ability for the American economy to contribute and regulate an environment for gamblers to place their bets would guarantee a significant uptick in revenue, because those gamblers would feel more comfortable and confident that their money is being protected. They know that receiving their payout would be a pain-free process, if they were to win the bets they had placed.

Not only would the legalization of sports gambling positively affect the states communities and governments, but it would also make sports themselves more enjoyable. It could take a less popular game, or one that would otherwise get less attention, and make it much more interesting and intriguing to fans. If a gambler decided to bet on a game that he/she normally would not watch, or a less popular team becomes an popular “underdog” pick, television ratings for that event would skyrocket. Also, the hope would be that if players and coaches of teams knew that there was a good chance of bets being placed on their sporting events, they would make sure that to give a 100 percent effort. Coaches would also be swayed away from resting star players, which happens often in today’s sports world.


Mark Cuban, wealthy entrepreneur and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, recently said in an interview that “legalized sports gambling will double the value of professional sports franchises.”

The changes that could be made to arenas and stadiums across the country would only be limited by the human imagination. You could set up gambling stations outside of the arena or in the concourse area. Down the road, or sometime in the future, you could implant stadium seats with touch pads that allow fans to gamble from their seats on everything from the score at halftime to whether or not the kicker will make his next field goal. “Of course it also makes sense for teams to make cell phone apps available to gamble remotely on everything people want to gamble on,” Cuban continued.

Currently, the biggest roadblock to this process is the fact that professional sports franchises view sports betting world as their enemy. This needs to change, as the relationship that the two parties could have would be rather symbiotic. The two should work together to draft legislation to propose to Congress that would put the necessary legal guidelines into place, so that the gambling world would be one that is civilized and controlled. They can work together and make any specific regulations or necessary rules that would enable them to stay in full control, but that also keep the wants and requests of the gamblers in their minds. Gambling is one hundred percent legal in Nevada, and the state took in a record $4.5 billion dollars in wagers alone last year. If all 50 states were contributing to that number, the overall total would be unimaginable. Both parties would be cut in on their share of that money, so the overall possibilities are endless.

In conclusion, sports gambling should be legalized in all 50 American states.  The complete legalization of gambling would greatly stimulate our economy, due to the massive influx of money that the government would receive. Sports gambling being legalized would also help improve the sporting events themselves. The customer fanbase is already extremely large, and has the potential to reach extreme heights if sports betting is encouraged. So, whether you are feeling lucky or not, take a chance on your favorite team.  You could make that regular night watching sports a lot more interesting.