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Legal Sports Betting – The Risk Vs The Reward

Four states had legal sports betting on their books in 1992 when the federal government banned states from the sports betting industry and grandfathered existing legal sports betting in Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware.

Of these states, Nevada has a thriving sports betting business while the other three had various forms of lottery games involving sports. In May, Delaware tried to join Nevada in getting a share of the estimated $400 billion bet annually, legally and illegally, on professional and college sports. That attempt was thwarted in August when a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled that sports betting in the first state would violate the 1992 federal ban.

The crux of the appeals court’s decision was that the failure of the Delaware Sports Lottery in 1976 did not constitute sufficient precedent to allow the application of the grandfather clause of the 1992 statute. , at least for now, legal sports betting in the United States will not thrive outside of Nevada sportsbooks and various forms of horse and dog racing.

The implications of widespread sports betting for the African-American community are worth discussing. Although the Super Bowl is the most wagered sporting event with an estimated $10 billion to change hands, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is considered the second highest, with an estimated $6-7 billion wagered legally. and illegally.

While Super Bowl players are in many cases millionaires earning hundreds of thousands of dollars for their playoffs, NCAA men’s basketball players are unsalaried, often without family money, and in some eyes , ripe to be taken by the players. About three in four are African American. Are college basketball players particularly susceptible to player influence, and are college athletes in general more at risk because the payoff for playing college sports is significantly different from the payoff for playing college sports? a professional athlete receives from his sport?

Mitch, 52, a regular Las Vegas sportsbook visitor during March Madness who played guard for the UC Irvine basketball team in the 1970s, doesn’t think so. “I personally believe that it is very difficult for an individual in a team sport to execute a points shaving scam. While it is possible, I do not believe the risk warrants future regulation of legal sports betting. .”

The facts seem to confirm Mitch. Although there have been intermittent gambling scandals, particularly in college basketball, since about 1950 there has been no increase in known point shaving scandals, even though money bet has grown exponentially over the past decade.

The last dust was in the early 1990s and involved North Carolina State player Charles Shackleford, who is African American. ABC News reported that during the 1987-88 season, as many as four NC State players, including forward Shackleford, conspired to keep four-game scores in exchange for cash payments from a contractor in the New Jersey. According to the report, one of the matches took place on March 6, 1988 against Wake Forest. NC State beat Wake Forest by four points, after being favored by 16. According to Shackleford’s attorney and agent, Sal DiFazio, Shackleford never shaved off the points, despite admitting to taking $65,000 from two men. Shackelford said the money was a loan.

Notoriety did not affect Shackleford’s career prospects. He played six NBA seasons with the Nets, 76ers, Timberwolves and Hornets; plus several seasons in Europe. Would an NBA team employ a non-star if the team felt they couldn’t trust him to play honestly?

Jeff, a Southern California executive recruiter, has played fantasy football and baseball for years and is fluent in the language of point spreads. His point of view is pragmatic and optimistic. “Yes, legalizing gambling will make it much more accessible, but the solution does not lie in controlling access. The expanded spectrum of gambling is an ideal example of one of our greatest challenges (and opportunities) in as a society – we must emphasize the importance of ethical behavior in all aspects of our lives and activities, and we must be able to look up to our sporting heroes as the example to follow.”

The bottom line: Gambling is a fact of life in American society and sports, whether legal or illegal. Unpaid, less wealthy, often African American; Athletes in college may be more at risk, but with a large majority of games on TV, they are also being watched more closely than ever. Legal sports betting is just one way for states to get a discount during tough financial times. The risk of players shaving points or throwing games is no more and no less, whether the action is taxed or part of a black market economy.

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