Gambling on sports is just gaining steam in the US.
All around the world, you can bet on just about anything, from soccer matches to whether or not the United States will leave NATO. After all, they say that politics is a sport.
Whether you’re a new punter (that means bettor) or a seasoned veteran, you’ll be astounded when you see the statistics that drive sports gambling in the United States and around the world.
Read on to find out how much is really spent on sports betting – legally and illegally.
How Much Do People Wager on Sports?
In the US, gambling on sports is in its infancy. Only a few states allow sports gambling right now: Nevada, West Virginia, Mississippi, Delaware, and New Jersey.
New Jersey just legalized sports gambling at the end of June. Only a few places in New Jersey were ready to take sports bets.
Historic racetrack Monmouth Park opened up for sports betting on the first day, with Governor Phil Murphy placing the first bet. That first 17 days, Monmouth Park took in over $16 million in sports bets.
The actual amount of money spent on sports bets is hard to pin down because a lot of betting still takes place illegally. Illegal sports betting is harder to pin down. Numbers range from $150 billion to $400 billion.
Just on the Super Bowl alone, it’s estimated that $4.76 billion is bet on the game illegally.
Why is Gambling on Sports Illegal in America?
You can bet on horses. You can go to a casino in many states. The lottery is played everywhere. You’d think that you’d be able to bet on sports.
The thing about sports betting is that you used to be able to gamble on sports. Gangsters were known to place bets and use their power to “influence” the outcomes of games.
You might have heard about the story where the Chicago White Sox fixed the 1919 World Series. Sports betting developed a bad reputation and it was largely seen as a mob-ruled industry that took the integrity out of sports.
Professional sports leagues held this view and laws were passed to outlaw sports betting on and off during the 20th Century.
In the late 1970s, legislators and gaming commissions felt that gambling on sports is inevitable, so they loosened the laws to allow sports gambling.
Sports leagues weren’t happy with this and strongly believed that sports betting damaged the credibility of their leagues.
In 1992, Congress enacted PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. It’s also known as the Bradley Act. It’s named for its key sponsor, former New Jersey Senator and New York Knick Bill Bradley.
This law essentially kept states from regulating sports betting. If states can’t regulate sports betting laws, then it has to remain illegal.
Some states that had laws on the books were technically grandfathered in under the law. Oregon was one of them but was pressured to reverse course when the NFL said it would never give the state a franchise. The NCAA would also prevent tournaments from being played in the state.
What Does the Supreme Court Have to do with Sports Gambling?
Believe it or not, the US supreme court has a lot to do with the fact that sports gambling is about to break wide open in the US.
New Jersey voters were committed to making sports betting happen, mostly to save the dying casino industry in Atlantic City. In 2012, the voters approved a referendum to give legislators the green light to make sports gambling legal in the state.
It was signed into law, but the NCAA quickly filed a lawsuit against the state, saying that it was in violation of PAPSA. The case slowly made its way through the court system, all the way to the Supreme Court.
The court heard the case in 2017. On May 14, 2018, it ruled in favor of New Jersey. The PAPSA law was declared to be unconstitutional and that cleared the path for sports betting in the United States.
While there are a few states where gambling on sports is legal, that will change quickly. Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island passed legislation to legalize sports betting. Expect more states to follow soon.
How Can You Gamble on Sports?
If sports betting is legal in certain states, how can you place your bets? Right now, you have to be in the state where it’s legal.
You can expect online sports betting to take off in the near future, too. Unfortunately, you have to have an account with a place like William Hill or Draft Kings.
Globally, the rules are a little more lenient. In Asia, there are perhaps the most lenient laws, though it will vary by country. Online sports betting sites are starting to target European markets more and more. That’s why the Asian sports betting market continues to grow year after year. View here for more information.
In Europe, there are more opportunities for sports betting. You can go online, but there are thousands of retail locations across the continent. You can have a drink, place your bets, and watch the matches you bet on.
The tax laws are a little more demanding for punters and operators. These outlets and online betting sites are also heavily regulated. That’s why the Asian sports betting market is attractive for Europeans.
As an American, you might be tempted to try a VPN to circumvent your location and try to place your bets. Online technology is a step ahead of you, and you can’t make it happen.
Future of Gambling on Sports in the US
The future of sports gambling is very bright in America. With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling, the industry is set to explode both online and at retail locations.
Gambling on sports is already big business, with billions already being spent on March Madness, the Super Bowl, and other big events.