The legalization of sports gambling is a hot button issue.
Currently, sports betting is legal in Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island West Virginia, and Washington D.C., while others like New York, California, and Connecticut have proposed bills.
It seems like not only is the public warming up to the idea, but so are sports organizations; NHL has a team in Las Vegas while the NFL will have one in 2020, and the NBA has struck a deal with MGM casinos.
If we were to see a string of states legalizing sports betting, what kind of effects will it have?
Will Completely Change The Way We Watch Sports
The advances in technology have changed the way we watch sports.
The Sunday NFL Ticket, which allows you to watch every NFL game, was a huge deal for the league and Directv, who has the exclusive rights to the program.
Now there is the NFL RedZone, a continuous TV broadcast that jumps throughout all the games, again changed the way we watch sports.
Another thing to note is sports organizations and their respective TV deals.
While these organizations have deals with stations to broadcast their games, some have begun to broadcast their games online: the NFL broadcasts “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon Prime, the MLB has broadcast games on Facebook and now YouTube.
The NFL’s TV deals end in 2021, MLB the same.
With the way we are changing our viewing habits, could any of these organizations be bold enough and steer away towards traditional television and lean more towards streaming services?
If sports gambling is legalized across the country, we’re going to want to be available to view games any time, anywhere.
We depend on our devices (phones, tablets, laptops) for our information and entertainment, and the demand to watch sports on those devices are there. It’s up to these organizations to meet that demand.
Will Our Sports Viewing Always Be Done The Legal Way?
When I typed “illegal streaming sites sports” in Google, I received 28 million results.
Illegal streaming is out there if you look for it. It has become a popular way for the younger generation to watch content due to high cable costs and lower incomes.
Even with all the streaming options like Directv Now, PlayStation Vue, and Sling, 53% of 18-to-35-year-olds have admitted to watching some sort of content through illegal streaming sites.
If we see the increase in sports gambling, the same goes for the demand to watch sports, and it seems more than likely we’ll see the rise of illegal streaming.
The State of Live Sports Will Change
There’s nothing like attending at a live sporting event; you feel the emotions, the crowd, it’s just an incredible vibe.
Unfortunately, those feelings just aren’t resinated anymore. Several organizations, including the NFL and MLB, have seen decreased attendance.
According to Forbes, the NFL attendance averaged 67,100, the lowest since 2011, and the MLB reported another drop in attendance from the first months of the season as opposed to last year
One factor could be the lack of stadiums being technology-friendly. Some places have begun to catch up: providing wifi, charging stations, integration with social media, but it still hasn’t been enough to bring the fans.
If sports betting becomes legal, stadiums and arenas will need to figure out a way to this to their advantage. One way could be the option to watch other games, and another could be the option to make wages at the game.
Money $ Money $ Money $
States are continually trying to find revenue streams to tax.
This is one of the reasons states have begun to legalize marijuana.
States that have made this move have seen a surplus in states fund.
The American Gaming Association states that there were $150 billion made in illegal wages last year, no one besides the better and bookies made that money tax-free money.
Legalized gambling cold boast state economies in a few different ways:
“A 2017 Oxford University report found that the legalization of sports betting would contribute between $11.6 billion and $14.2 billion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) annually, depending on which states legalize it and their specific tax rates.
Additionally, a legal sports gambling system would create 125,000 to 152,000 jobs paying between $6 billion and $7.5 billion in total wages. That’s an average salary of roughly $48,000 for a typical worker in a new sports betting industry.”
Increase revenue and more jobs are always necessary.
This statement could be very persuading.
With More Gambling Options Comes More Gambling Problems
We can’t explore the positives without revealing the darker side.
Gambling addiction is a real problem with millions suffering with it. With the increase of legal gambling, brings a broader population that can make bets, in result, more people are susceptible to gambling addiction.
The critical thing to know is most states with legal gambling, in general use a portion of their revenue towards the awareness of gambling addiction. Recently proposed bills for legal sports gambling do include the same.
This is something to be aware of still as the access to betting on sports will become easier.
The Online Gambling Industry Could Be The New Technology Boom
The fantasy sports industry, especially daily fantasy sports, has seen an enormous increase in revenue over the last few years.
Sites like Fanduel and Draftkings have become billion dollar companies and have marketing deals sports teams and companies.
According to the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association, fantasy sports make $7 billion in revenue with almost 60 million users in the United States and Canada. If sports gambling became universally legalized, could a similar boom be in its future?
We are already beginning to see this technology being implemented.
Pennsylvania has started testing online betting with significant success:
“In just three days of testing, Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino took more than $573,000 in online bets, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). That led to $38,753 in revenue and $13,951 in state and local taxes.”
If sports gambling were legal, gamblers would be looking towards using modern technology to use that service. We already use technology for watching sports, keeping up with sports news, and ordering coffee, might as well use it to make sports bets.
John “Supi” Supowitz is graduate from Quinnipiac University with a Masters in Sports Journalism. He is also currently a part of the Game Day Production Staff for a minor league baseball team. If you want to pique his interest, bring up the Yankees, pro-wrestling, or King of The Hill. You can follow him on Twitter @Imthatsupi85 and Instagram @Imthatsupi.