Why Sports Betting Should Be Legalized

Although many people believe that sports betting should never be legalized, the truth is that it has been done for centuries. The United Kingdom has been known for approving certain forms of betting—such as horse races—for hundreds of years. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that regular sports betting truly took off in Europe. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, but most importantly to the invention of the radio. Before the era of mass communication, sports fans mostly had to rely on newspapers to keep up with the scores of the games they followed. This often meant late nights and early mornings spent reading the scores of games that were already finished. With the invention of the radio, however, fans could listen to live broadcasts of games in their local area. This, in turn, led to an increase in the popularity of sports betting among its audience. It was at this point that regular sports betting was legalized in the UK. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the 1950s that organized sports betting arrived in the United States. It was during this time that sportsbooks were opened and began taking wagers from American citizens. The early years of legalized sports betting in the U.S. were plagued by corruption scandals.

The first of these was the Blackmores Scandal, named after the Dublin-based sports betting company that got caught up in it. Thirteen executives of the company were arrested in October 1973 and later charged with operating an illegal bookmaking operation. During this time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was called in and conducted more than 100 interviews. The scandal broke out after the FBI obtained evidence that one of the company’s executives, Edward Malloy, had placed bets on several football matches involving the Irish national team. These were the days when Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) like the NCAA and the Olympics were organized enough to have their own governing bodies. As a result of the Blackmores Scandal, Congress passed the Interstate Horseracing Act in 1978, which made it illegal to accept wagers on horseraces taking place across state lines. This act was, in effect, a ban on sports betting for American citizens.

The Need For Regulation

After the Blackmores Scandal, the United States government stepped in to regulate sports betting. This was mainly because of the large number of illegal bookmakers that ran rampant during the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, the U.S. has seen an ongoing battle against illegal sports betting, with the federal government constantly having to tweak the legislation to keep up with changing technology and the ever-evolving ways in which people try to exploit loopholes in the system.

One of the major reasons why sports betting scandals always erupt in the U.S. is because of the lack of enforcement. For the most part, states have turned a blind eye to the issue, allowing for almost complete autonomy in the creation and enforcement of their own sports betting laws. As a result, American bookmakers have had endless opportunities to bend the rules in their favor. In 2010, for example, the New York Attorney General’s office prosecuted 305 people for participating in an illegal sports betting operation that ran for 5 years. The following year, more than 300 people were charged with participating in an illegal sports betting operation, although it is not known how many of them actually pleaded guilty.

This is not to say that all of this corruption is caused by a poor system of regulation. On the contrary, it is quite possible that these scandals would never have happened if sports betting were legal and subject to stringent regulations. In other words, it is quite possible that the public outcry over “sport corruption” would have been much smaller had the U.S. simply allowed the market to develop organically.

The Economic Impact

Another important aspect to consider when evaluating the pros and cons of legalizing sports betting is its economic impact. It is, after all, one thing to be in favor of a system that enables corruption but, at the same time, hurts the economy. These are, generally speaking, two conflicting objectives, and just as with most things in life, there is no easy answer. To begin with, legal sports betting would create an important market for professional sports organizations. This, in turn, would lead to an increase in membership and, ultimately, support for those organizations.

What is more, legal sports betting would provide a safe and transparent environment in which to trade. This, in turn, would lead to more investors getting involved and, thus, a boost to the entire economy.

The Social Impact

Another major area of concern that lawmakers and moralists have when discussing the pros and cons of legalizing sports betting is its impact on society. Is sports betting an inherently good or bad influence? To begin with, it is important to remember that this is a game that humans have been playing for thousands of years. It is also, as we have discussed, a game that was originally played for important political and social reasons. Naturally, this created the opportunity for unscrupulous individuals and organizations to abuse the system for their own benefit. As a result, many people believe that legalizing sports betting would be an important step toward eliminating corruption.

On the other hand, there is also a case to be made that legal sports betting would be a positive influence. After all, what is an important part of growing up in today’s world is being exposed to as many different ways of thinking and believing as possible. In a society where sports betting is illegal, people with certain political and social viewpoints are often forced to keep their opinions to themselves, depriving themselves of the opportunity to learn more about alternative ways of looking at things.

On the whole, then, it seems that sports betting, while certainly something that has benefits, also has a number of disadvantages. This is not to say that it is definitely bad. It just means that, like most other controversial issues, there is no simple answer to the question of whether or not legalized sports betting is a good idea. It depends on a variety of factors, not the least of which is whether or not the government seeks to totally eliminate corruption in sport or just seeks to regulate it, and, in turn, the extent to which it wants to regulate it.