In October 2018, Michigan became the 26th state to allow some form of sports wagering. However, it did not come without significant pushback from residents – particularly teachers – who were against making education about sports wagering, especially as many other states had already moved in that direction.
The new sports wagering law in Michigan caps the maximum payout at 100 percent of the winnings, with a 30-percent state tax taken out. If a casino or racetrack operator pays out more than the cap, it’s subject to a 10-percent surcharge.
Traditional Sports and the Rise of the Multi-Sports Bettors
While some individuals may still follow traditional sports such as football and baseball, many more watch games and bet on them regularly these days. This is even truer for major collegiate sports, as fans have grown to love betting on their favorite teams, players, and upcoming games. There are now more individuals who bet on sports than there are who follow them. And in many cases, these individuals are much more likely to follow a sport than they are to participate in it.
As more states have legalized sports wagering and allowed it to grow, so too has the number of major collegiate sporting events increased. This, in turn, has increased the appeal of betting on sports to a larger audience. After all, who doesn’t love an epic football game or basketball matchup?
But whether you agree with legalizing sports wagering or not, you cannot argue that it hasn’t increased the popularity of sports in general. This is evidenced by the fact that many individuals now root for teams they’ve never heard of simply because they’re in the opposite conference from their favorite team. Or, they follow a player on a team they don’t care much for simply because they think he’ll be worth betting on.
Why Is Education Important?
Although legal sports wagering may have increased the popularity of sports in general, it has not eliminated the fact that some people simply love teaching others about them. After all, many coaches and players still consider themselves to be children of the sport, especially when it comes to matters regarding competition and winning. For this reason, some teachers are still opposed to teaching sports in schools because they feel that it will encourage students to participate in sports and put too much focus on performance rather than education.
To be clear, this is not a criticism of sports themselves – far from it. The fact that some individuals feel this way simply proves how much these games mean to them. And, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. However, when deciding whether or not to include sports in the curriculum, educators need to consider the opinions of these dedicated teachers.
The Battle for Wisconsin
Prior to the legalization of sports wagering in Michigan, Wisconsin was the only other state that had considered following suit. Ultimately, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that schools could, in fact, teach about sports wagering, but only if they followed certain guidelines. First and foremost, all sports mentioned had to be traditionally popular in Wisconsin – that is, football, basketball, and hockey. In addition, they had to be played outside, so that students could actually participate in the games. Finally, they had to be taught with integrity, as the state’s highest court ruled that any lessons involving probability and chance must be accompanied by proper context.
Given that the majority of educators in Wisconsin are, in fact, traditionalists, this may have been the ultimate battle that they were fighting all along. In other words, although they welcomed the opportunity to educate about sports wagering, they did not want the decision to be made for them. In the end, the court’s ruling left Wisconsin with one of the most restrictive education statutes in the country when it comes to matters involving sports. The fact that the state became a breeding ground for sports wagering lawyers cannot have helped.
It’s clear that the tides have shifted in regards to sports wagering in America. After all, there are now more than 30 states where it’s legal and it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Moreover, many major American universities now offer online degrees in sports management, so that graduates can gain in-demand jobs in the field. In fact, as the popularity of esports grows, there’ll be even more opportunities for those specializing in gaming and betting on the outcomes.
For those interested in the topic, there’s never been a better time to become educated about sports wagering than now. Moreover, given the recent wave of reform that’s hit higher education in America, particularly regarding sports, there’s never been a better time to be a part of the education. For those without a college background, there are now more than 20 million opportunities to specialize in one area or another, from healthcare administration to veterinary medicine. Moreover, those with a teaching background can also find opportunities in education, becoming a school principal or coach.