Nevada sportsbooks took $132 million in bets on Super Bowl Sunday, profiting over $10 million in a span of just four hours.
It’s unfortunate America’s foolishness and reluctance to accept legalized sports betting cost the states and the nation at least $4 billion more in bets, equating to roughly $40 million in revenue.
The American Gaming Association recently released a study that showed 66 percent of Americans believe that the individual states should have the option to regulate and legalize sports betting. Currently, Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana have legalized sports betting in some forms, while New Jersey, led by fringe Republican presidential candidate, Chris Christie, is still fighting a good fight to have legal betting become a part of society there as well. That still leaves 46 other states that are essentially begging their constituents to send money offshore in online sports betting or to local bookies in order to partake in sports betting.
Nevada sportsbooks estimate that just one percent of all of the money wagered in sports bets actually runs legally through the states. If the United States legalized gambling across the board and brought even 10 percent of the offshore money back onshore and taxed the profits accordingly, you could be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue at the federal level and tens of millions of revenue dollars at the individual state level.
Whereas the NFL has vehemently fought against sports betting legalization, the NBA has at least shown some proactive thinking towards the idea.
“It’s good for business, I don’t want to hide from that,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver in an interview with CBS Sports in November 2015. “Putting aside whether or not we’re actually actively involved in any of the betting, it creates more engagement. We all know as fans if you have, even like a gentleman’s bet or a $5 bet with your friend on a game, all of a sudden you’re a lot more interested.”
Silver is the first of the major sports commissioners to take anything but a hardline stance against sports betting, but it’s clear that he and his owners are more progressive than most. The NBA staged an All-Star weekend in Las Vegas a few years ago, and have even considered placing a franchise in Sin City.
Mark Cuban, one of the most outspoken men in sports, has referred to legalized sports betting as “inevitable” on more than a few occasions.
“It’s inevitable,” Cuban stated in an interview in January with Fortune Magazine. “It will take some time for the courts to overcome the grandstanding by a few district attorneys, but once that happens, I think we will see a slow but sure availability of gambling across the country.”
Daily Fantasy Sports: Pushing for Legal Sports Betting
Part of the buzz in favor of the legalization of sports gambling is the presence of daily fantasy sports. The craze set by companies like DraftKings and FanDuel actually started a few years ago, but it wasn’t until the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 that things really started to explode. The concept of daily fantasy sports (DFS) is simple. Pick a team full of players and bet that your team is better than the team of one other person or a million other people for “real cash prizes.”
This past year you couldn’t watch a sporting event without seeing a DFS commercial, and in tons of arenas and stadiums across the country, you still have stations like the FanDuel Suites or the DraftKings Fan Zone.
It’s clear that the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and even the NCAA benefited greatly from the presence of daily fantasy sports. Sure, FanDuel and DraftKings will want you to believe that because this involves individual players and not the physical outcome of games, DFS is a game of skill. But we all know better. This always was and always will be just a different form of online gambling.
Many states have caught on now as well. New York, Texas and Illinois, amongst others, have declared daily fantasy to be a form of gambling, thus illegal, while Nevada has stated that DFS sites need gambling licenses to operate within its borders.
The Benefits of Legalizing Sports Betting
American sports might think they’re “pure” and “ethical” because they’ve always consistently taken stands against the legalization and regulation of sports betting, but it’s time to face the facts. With debt rising in the United States day after day, a quick way to raise gobs of money is to just legalize and regulate the gambling and online sports betting to help keep the money – thus the profits from the losses – at home.
The sports leagues will clearly benefit as well from having more interested consumers sticking around for the whole game from start to finish, and advertising revenue should only increase with the additional eyeballs on events. In a day and age where commercials are basically worthless on television due to the popularity of the almighty DVR, live sports force you to stick around for the ads if you want to see the game.
This is a winning proposition for every party involved, and it’s high time that the lawmakers across the country take notice. It’s time to discard the antiquated laws and legalize sports betting.
The NFL says no to legalized betting, but which athletes are participating in sports betting? Read more in Do Professional Athletes Bet on Sports?