Sports betting is a billion-dollar industry with a lot of potential. The American public is clearly passionate about sports, with record-breaking sales of sports memorabilia and an explosion of daily fantasy sports contests. It’s not hard to understand why. There are just so many exciting games and contests to choose from, and then there’s the element of chance. You could win or lose thousands of dollars on a single wager. Those are the kind of odds that leave even the most diehard fans craving more.
What’s perhaps most tantalizing about sports betting is the fact that it can be so much fun! You can’t get that same thrill from the same game if you’re handicapped by boring odds or the whims of a rigged bookmaker. Just imagine, you could be making bets on games that you’re actually following and playing with friends. That’s the type of socializing that could prove invaluable in today’s ever-evolving world. It’s a game that children and adults alike can get into, and it provides a safe environment for them to do so. It would be a shame to deprive them of the fun that the bookies are so happy to provide.
When Will All-Sports Betting Be Legal?
It’s still early days for legal sports betting in Michigan, but already there are signs that the tide is turning. On October 24, 2018, the Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation that would regulate and legalize sports betting. This comes after similar bills were signed into law in West Virginia and Tennessee.
The new Michigan law would establish a framework for sports betting in the state and allow licensed sportsbooks to operate, providing a safe and convenient place for members of the public to play. Bookmakers would have to ensure that all games are properly posted, monitored and the payouts are verified before bets are settled. This would all happen under the watchful eye of the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Currently, only a small number of states – Florida, Nevada, and some parts of California – allow for full-blown legal sports betting. The remaining states – Tennessee, Alabama, and the District of Columbia – only allow for a form of legal sports betting known as ‘pari-mutuel wagering’. In the pari-mutuel wagering model, gambling on sports is allowed but the state regulates the activity and distributes the revenue derived from sports wagering to the states. In other words, the revenue from sports wagering is shared with the state. This is in contrast to other states, such as Nevada, which has a ‘take-it-all-or-nothing’ approach, where all gambling is legal and the revenue is kept by the sportsbooks alone.
What Will Be The Biggest Obstacle To Legalizing Sports Betting?
In November 2019, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) made it clear that it opposes any form of legalized sports betting, stating that it believes that federal legislation is needed to stop sports betting. The NCAA is worried that legalized sports betting could lead to more youth gambling and other related issues. The organization represents the country’s largest collegiate sports, including football, basketball, and baseball. It also boasts some of the biggest champions in sports history, including Joe Montana, Bob Cousy, and Henry L. “Pete” Rose.
The NCAA is not the only organization opposed to full-blown legalized sports betting. In fact, several professional sports leagues – including the NFL (National Football League), NBA (National Basketball Association), and MLB (Major League Baseball) – have also spoken out against the practice. The NFL, in particular, has a vested interest in preserving the integrity of the game. They don’t want to see soccer-style games – where players are running around the field freely and there are no restrictions on who can score – tarnish their otherwise clean game. They also don’t want fans sneaking outside to place bets during the game, due to the fact that the majority of NFL games take place in cold weather, which is easier for betting.
On the other side of the coin, several prominent figures in the sports betting world have spoken out in favor of legalization. Former New York Yankees pitcher, Phil “The Juice” Hinkle, and poker star, Phil Ivey, have both expressed support for sports betting, as have several members of Congress. In a 2018 interview with ESPN, Ivey said “I would love to see NFL games opened up to betting… Ivey went on to add, “I would put my money on the Raiders. I love the Raiders and always have.”
What’s Next For Legalizing Sports Betting In Michigan?
The Michigan House of Representatives has voted in favor of regulating and legalizing sports betting, which now moves to the state Senate. Once the Senate confirms the House’s changes, the new law will go into effect. At that point, sportsbooks in Michigan will be free to operate. They will only have to follow the same rules and regulations as land-based casinos, which are already in existence in the state.
Even before the Senate convenes to debate and possibly vote on the issue, bills to legalize sports betting have been filed in the Michigan state legislature. The most recent filing was on November 26, 2019, by state Rep. Stephanie A. Hansen. In a tweet announcing the bill, Rep. Hansen wrote, “With this new year, I’m excited to bring you #sportsbetting reform! I have filed legislation to regulate and legalize sports wagering in Michigan. It’s time for the state to step up and lead the way.”
According to the most recent tally, there are currently 55 bills filed in the Michigan legislature that pertain to legal sports betting. Among them are measures that would establish the framework for legal sports betting within the state and allow for the establishment of online sports books. A couple of these bills would also allow for bets on international sports events.
Legalizing sports betting is a practice that’s been allowed in other jurisdictions, such as the U.K. and India. It’s an attractive proposition for sports fans. Not only does it allow you to bet on your favorite sports, but it also provides a way to get your money back if you lose – something that can’t be said for many lotteries and online poker games. A 2012 study from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission found that “[sports betting] is a relatively new concept for many people which is proving to be very popular.” The same could be said for India, where sports betting is considered to be gambling’s next big thing. If you’re looking to place a wager on the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament, you’re out of luck if you’re in Illinois, as the state’s online betting laws don’t allow for bets to be placed outside of the state. In fact, the only form of legal sports betting that’s available in the state is the pari-mutuel wagering model – where bets are placed on the outcome of horse races and other forms of live racing. All-sports betting is not legal in Illinois.
What States Have Legalized Sports Betting?
In November 2019, the state of New York became the first in the nation to legalize sports betting. The legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, gives sportsbooks in the state the option of whether or not to take bets on professional and collegiate sporting events. The new law permits bets on:
- National Football League
- National Basketball Association
- Major League Baseball
- NHL (National Hockey League)
- College football
- College basketball
In 2017, the state of West Virginia passed a law legalizing sports betting, making it one of the first in the country to do so. Since then, several other states have followed suit.
Why Does New York’s New Law Permit Bets On Only A Small Selection Of Sports?
Even though New York’s new law permits bets on just a handful of sports, it does provide some of the most exciting opportunities for bettors. As previously stated, New York is the first state to legalize sports betting. Not only does this mean that books can operate freely, but it also means that the state is responsible for regulating and overseeing sports betting, rather than leaving the task to the federal government. That, in turn, means that the state has more control over the rules and regulations pertaining to sports betting, which gives the law’s proponents more leverage to shape the industry into a form that’s beneficial to citizens. For example, the law prevents sportsbooks from requiring customers to join loyalty programs or giving them free bets or discounts if they do so. It also prevents sportsbooks from requiring customers to make a minimum bet before they can place a wager or kicking them off their site if they don’t.