Sports betting

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

17 May 2018

Legal sports betting is here. What now?

What are the ramifications of legal sports betting on professional leagues? For college sports? Hell, for the Westminster Dog Show?

I’m joking on that last one. I think. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court’s decision this week to allow states to decide whether to make sports betting legal raises many issues. Because, uh, you know the states want a piece of the pie. And so do the professional sports leagues.

Sports bettingSports betting is already a multi-billion industry, so what’s it to become now? Multi-trillion?

As Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly. But if it elects not to, each state is free to act on its own.”

The NFL is already asking Congress to regulate the industry, and that would be the best option. Because, as much as legalized sports betting was a foregone conclusion, we don’t want Deadwood out there.

Because states are acting quickly. New Jersey, which brought the case to the Supreme Court, and Delaware are already passing bills to allow it. Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia stand in line right behind them. And a handful of others are moving toward similar legislation.

“But if I were the NCAA, I’d start thinking about how to lessen the incentive for a college athlete to cheat for a quick buck.”

There’s just too much moolah at stake. (Always follow the money. Right, President Trump?)

Legal sports betting forces the NCAA to reconsider amateurism

My concern isn’t so much about the professional leagues. Betting on NFL, NBA and MLB games exists now and, because of enormous player salaries, there’s no incentive to go all Chicago Black Sox.

College sports is another matter. While betting rages on college football and basketball games too, there could be tremendous incentive for, let’s say, a college basketball star to act a little fishy. College athletes are not paid (other than, yes, room, board and scholarship). Even though universities make millions off their likenesses. The stand of amateurism is a joke.

The devil will be in the details. No doubt the professional leagues will enact standards in its union contracts, and the NCAA already has some rules in place. Much of Europe allows legalized sports gambling, primarily on soccer. So, there’s a model to follow.

But if I were the NCAA, I’d start thinking about how to lessen the incentive for a college athlete to cheat for a quick buck.

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