Earlier, in an attempt to overcome a budget shortfall, the state of Delaware passed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. They would be the second state (along with Nevada) that would allow betting on single sports games.
Everyone seemed happy. Except for the people who run baseball, basketball, football, and hockey, along with the NCAA. They quickly sued, claiming that allowing betting on single games would ruin the sanctity of sports. After a few different court cases, the final verdict seems to be that Delaware can only offer a parlay style of betting on NFL games, where the bettor must pick three games correctly to win the bet. Delaware offered this kind of betting in the 70s and it quickly failed.
The question is: Why are the sports leagues making such a big deal about this? They claim that gambling on their games would make people question the integrity of the events. Obviously, this is a load of crap. Gambling on games is already allowed in one state. Allowing it in another is really going to make things worse? That doesn’t even consider the uncountable amount of money that is bet on games illegally in the country. Rather than legitimize the gambling, they’d rather keep it illegal and below the radar?
They also argued that the legalized gambling would encourage gambling problems. Here’s the thing: People with gambling problems are going to gamble. If it isn’t legal, they’ll do it illegally. Sure, they would have spent a lot of money gambling on sports in Delaware, but now they’ll just spend that money gambling on the internet.
Not to mention that sports, and the NFL in particular, owe a great deal of their popularity to gambling. If gambling on NFL games was completely eliminated, I’m guessing that the NFL’s audience would be cut by at least 33%.
The real problem is that the sports leagues don’t like other people making money off of their product if they aren’t involved. I’m fairly certain that if Delaware had offered to cut the sports leagues in on the action, they would have quickly agreed to it.
Oh well. The only real losers here are the state employees of Delaware (like my mother) who will now be forced to take pay cuts since the expected revenue from gambling will not be there. The winners include illegal bookmakers, overseas internet gambling sites, and of course, the sports leagues who can be assured that their games are not being fixed in any way.
I think we can all sleep easier now.