Why Will Maryland Not Legalize Sports Betting?

Since the beginning of the year, there have been several reports in the mainstream media about states considering legislation to legalize sports betting. New Jersey, Louisiana, and Mississippi have all expressed interest in the subject. The topic even made its way onto the national stage during a recent hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where attorney and sports betting expert Michael Iacuollo detailed the various benefits of legal sports betting.

Positive Impact On The Economy

According to a report by the National Institute of Economic Research, Maryland alone loses hundreds of millions of dollars annually due to illegal sports betting. Legalizing sports betting in the state could provide a much-needed boost to its economy. New Jersey hopes to earn $80 million a year from legal sports betting, while Mississippi hopes to earn $40 million from legal wagering. The benefit is even greater for smaller states such as Montana and West Virginia, which might see a gain of up to $20 million per year from legal sports betting.

Protects Children

According to federal law, only persons between the ages of 18 and 21 are allowed to make wagers on sports events. Legalizing sports betting would forbid minors from engaging in such activities, protecting children from the harmful effects of gambling. The bill in Louisiana, for instance, would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to engage in gambling activity, including sports betting.

Helps Determine Real Win/Lose Results

Another major appeal of legalized sports betting is that it would allow states to determine whether a game resulted in a win, loss, or a draw. If a game is declared a tie, bookies often take a dive, especially if the game was close. With no clear winner, gamblers are more likely to continue placing wagers, increasing the potential for over- or under-betting. This can create major problems for sports franchises, especially when games end in a draw. The Bills, for instance, suffered heavy losses in 2006 because of this issue. Between October 1 and November 30, 2006, the team lost $12.8 million due to 11 ties and 4 losses in 5 games. This is compared to $3.7 million in net income for the same period one year earlier.

Determining the real win/loss results of a game reduces the number of times a bookie has to pay out on bets. When a game is declared a draw, underdogs often get screwed over by the sportsbooks, because the majority of sports bets are placed on favorites. If gambling establishments are forced to pay out on all winning bets regardless of the outcome of a game, it would significantly reduce the risk of corruption. Bookies and sports operators might become less inclined to engage in illegal wagering activities, as they would be much safer and more profitable legal sports betting schemes.

Eliminates Fraud

Fraud is one of the main concerns whenever wagering is legalized. Without proper controls in place, there is a chance that scammers would try to abuse the system. Fortunately, most legal scholars believe that the current anti-fraud provisions in US federal law are adequate to prevent most types of gambling fraud. The key is for states and sportsbooks to work together to ensure that only genuine gamblers are able to participate in legal sports betting schemes. In New Jersey, for example, licensed bookmakers must adhere to a code of conduct, which includes verifying the authenticity of player information.

Positive Impact On Sport

Broadcasting sporting events live is one of the main attractions of any sport. But for smaller communities that rely heavily on the action, it can be hard to get all the games. Getting teams to play outside of their home states is difficult, so many fans are deprived of live games. Legalized sports betting would allow fans to get their fix, as they could place bets on games that interest them. This is important for communities that are passionate about their sports, as it would give them the ability to keep up with the competitions that matter most to them. If the game is close and there’s no clear winner, then it’s crucial that fans know the result asap. This reduces the amount of time that elapses between a game and the results, improving the overall experience for all involved. It’s no secret that betting on sports is often more exciting when the action is unfolding in real time. The ability to place wagers as a game is played would add an additional dimension to the experience.

Many states have passed legislation to decriminalize certain forms of gambling, relying on the argument that it will not lead to additional problems, as long as people are aware of the restrictions. Similar reasoning can be applied to legal sports betting. As long as the public knows that sports betting is legal and regulated, it can be a useful tool for responsible adults, who must adhere to certain limits placed by the state. While there is no question that gambling can be a fun pastime for adults, it also has the potential to create a host of problems. It is important, therefore, that states and municipalities crack down on illegal gambling activities, not only to protect their citizens from the harmful effects of gambling, but also so that they can reap the benefits of legalized wagering.