Legalization of Sports Gambling

So it’s coming and it’s coming a lot quicker than a lot of people including myself expected. I’m hearing that sports betting could be legalized across the United States by this spring or summer. A lot of states are scrambling to prepare for this and there are some major details that need to be worked out before this takes place but it’s almost here.

The most obvious topic is how much the states can get away with taxing it. There are some structures where it’s as little as 5% and then there are some that are as high as 15%. The higher percentage that is taxed, the more likely it is that sports betting stays the same as you know it and people continue to bet in Vegas/offshore websites. The reason for this is because the more that is taxed, the lower the odds will be. Why would you bet $100 to win $85 legally when you could bet $100 to win $98 illegally? It doesn’t make much sense and you will not see people doing it. The legal teams working on this are smart people so I’m sure that they will put together a plan that will actually work.

Another topic that I’m really interested to see play out is how/where you will be able to place bets once legalization takes place. I’m hearing that the original plan is that bettors will go to a physical location to register and deposit money into their account (similar to Bovada) and then they will have those funds available to bet through an internet website/app. I think it makes more sense to just skip the physical location and just allow bettors to deposit directly via the internet. However, the physical location for deposits would ensure a quick and easy verification of age, identification, ect. Some other ideas are to basically make it similar to Keno where you fill out your bets and have someone scan it in for you. This would be awesome. If sports betting was as easily accessible as Keno, the world would be a bettor I mean better place. Out to dinner on a Saturday? “Hey hunny, I’m going to run to the bathroom real quick.” *walks up to bar and scans ticket for Cubs (-1.5)* That would be great but I think it would take some time of feeling out the process before they made it that accessible.

Another sign that is a hint we are getting closer to legalization of sports betting is that DraftKings has started their hiring process of oddsmakers and has stated that they will be offering sports betting when it’s legalized. They wouldn’t go out and start hiring people if they didn’t have some details that we are close to legalization. Some people in the business are concerned that having more “bookies” or venues that bettors can bet at would hurt the current casinos and websites that already allow it. Honestly, I think if it’s legalized and made more accessible that you will see a lot more people start betting on sports consistently. Which would obviously help the business overall.

Professional leagues want their piece of the pie. The NBA has come out and said that they want 1% of every single legal wager made on their games. This concerns me because I would certainly worry about more games being fixed than there already are. However, I guess if they are getting their 1% cut, they don’t care who wins. There are definitely ways that they could/would manipulate games with this structure in place. I’m not sure how the leagues could force the Government to give them 1% but we will see how that all shakes out.

Glaring concern, and I mean GLARING. Legalization could/would lead to more athletes, coaches, and refs betting on games. How to stop it? Players, coaches, refs have to sign contracts that they will not wager on games. They should also put a clause in the contract that would allow the leagues to randomly audit their phones. Of course, that would lead to leagues discovering a lot more illegal activities that the athletes partake in, lol. Something will definitely need to be done to prevent the athletes, coaches, and refs from betting or sports are in trouble. Nothing worse than paying big dollars for a ticket to watch a fixed game, such a helpless feeling.

It’s coming and it’s coming soon. This is the first of many takes that I will have as we go through the legalization process. Let me know what questions or concerns you have by contacting me on twitter @KofSports or email