How Regulated Gambling May Change Our Sports Experience
Published: March 18, 2019
How Regulated Gambling May Change Our Sports Experience
Regulated sports gambling in the US dates back as far as 1931, when Nevada took advantage of the opportunity to open the first casinos in the country.

At that point, the state was suffering severe financial problems, which encouraged it to take the step.

Legalized casino gambling proved to be extremely popular and helped to solve the state’s funding problem.

In fact, the casino gambling industry continued to expand over the decades. In 1978, the first casinos were permitted in Atlantic City, and in the 1980s, Native American tribes were given permission to open casinos on their land.

Nowadays, the casino industry has moved online, and everyday casino gaming fans are able to play their favorite games from the comfort of their own home while taking advantage of SugarHouse online casino promo codes and other promotions.

However, sports gambling has had a more troubled history in this country. Although sports betting was legal at Nevada casinos for decades, it was tough for most Americans to get their bets on, thanks to the 1992 PASPA Act, which banned sports betting.

In fact, a 2003 survey found that only 10% of US citizens had bet on pro sports. In 2010, New Jersey governor Chris Christie decided to force the issue, holding a referendum on sports betting that was backed by the New Jersey voters and signed into law soon after.

The law was challenged by the leading college sports organization, the NCAA, in 2014, but in a landmark Supreme Court decision in May 2018, the PASPA Act was struck down.

The result has been a dramatic reassessment on the part of politicians, the betting industry and sports organizations of the role that sports betting can play in the US.

As one state after another has hurried to implement sports betting regulations, the traditionally hostile attitude of professional sports leagues has changed completely, not least because of the lucrative possibilities that legalized sports betting creates.

According to some analysis, a fully regulated sports betting industry in all US states could attract as much as $100bn worth of bets a year.

Another report suggests that figure could be closer to $400bn. The stakes, for US sport, could not be higher.

How will all of this change the way that we connect with our sport? Well, for a start, the US sports consumer will become used to seeing a lot more sports betting company advertising.

Numerous sports franchises, from the NBA to the NHL, have taken the opportunity to link up with sports betting companies, and the results extend from shirt sponsorship to television advertising to the introduction of sports betting outlets associated with specific franchises, so spectators can bet on the game they are about to watch.  This will represent a major culture shock for US sports fans.

Another likely impact is a dramatic increase in the volume and quality of sports data provided to consumers.

US sports fans are already used to the employment of technology to enhance their enjoyment of their favorite sports, from software that tells us the precise distance of a baseball hit to how many yards of grass a soccer player has covered.

However, the insatiable desire of the betting industry for sports statistics will ensure that such statistics are just the tip of a data iceberg.

Every sport from baseball to ice hockey will be looking for ways to provide ever more detailed statistics for their sport’s betting partner, and the sports consumer will be the indirect beneficiary of these developments, even those who don’t wager on the action.

For example, the NHL is looking into the possibility of player tracking to establish each player’s movement during a game, and they are even considering putting a chip inside the puck to provide data on who hits it the hardest.

This new stream of data will also make it possible for sports fans to bet while the game is ongoing, rather than being restricted to predicting the outcome of a game before it starts.

The ability to bet on how many points an NFL team will score in the second quarter or how many strikes a pitcher will get in the seventh innings of a game will add a new dimension to the way that fans consume sport, while the language of sports betting, with its talk of odds, probabilities, favorites and outsiders, will provide sports fans with a whole new lexicon with which to talk about their favorite leagues.

Sports betting has been a long time coming to the US, but US sports fans now stand at the beginning of a sports betting revolution that promises to transform the way that we enjoy our sporting action.

Igho Kingsley
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