By: Jeremy Brandspiegel
Since sports betting became eligible in all 50 states, Americans have legally bet over $220 billion over the past 5 years, according to PBS News Hour. While states such as California, Texas, and Florida still do not allow sports betting, the two-thirds of the country that do offer legal sports betting highlight why the industry is showing no signs of slowing down. With constant advertisements being shown during broadcasts and in stadiums, the gambling industry has become an integral part of the sport industry.
Sports betting expanded from Las Vegas to all 50 states on May 14, 2018 when the Supreme Court decided to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The legalization has opened unthinkable opportunities as stadiums have partnered with gambling companies to advertise betting at games, and some stadiums have opened betting outlets in their buildings.
When it comes to the huge financial impact betting has had in America, the numbers do not lie. Sports books have kept $17 billion from bets over the past 5 years, while states and local governments have been able to make over $3 billion by taxing betting operators according to PBS News Hour.
While gambling has grown rapidly and become an integral part of the sports experience, many problems have also risen. According to Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, calls to the 800-GAMBLER help line have increased by 15% over the last five years.
The biggest headlines surrounding gambling recently have been the suspensions involving NFL players. Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended all of last season after betting on an NFL game, and multiple Detroit Lions players received suspensions over the past few months for placing bets in their own facility.
The sports betting industry is growing rapidly in America as more states are legalizing betting, but there are many challenges that still need to be conquered. An issue that must be navigated is the role professional athletes play in the betting industry. Despite the suspensions that have been handed out over the past year, athletes still continue to bet, whether or not it is legal for them.
As five years have passed since betting became eligible in all 50 states, there is still more growth to come. While Americans have spent a lot of money and some have certainly profited from the betting industry, there is still a lot of uncertainty for the future.