In 2016, Chris Christie–New Jersey’s governor–said that his state would stand in defiance of the Federal ban and proceed to allow gambling on sporting events. An Iowa State legislative subcommittee also began similar lawmaking measures.
On the West Coast, a committee sitting in the California State Senate gave their approval to legislation that would legalize betting on all types of sports.
If approved by California’s Senate, however, it would also hit a brick wall with the Federal ban. Nevertheless, proponents of sports betting are optimistic that the prohibition may soon be lifted, hence the movement to begin changing laws at the state level.
Conflict Concerning Legalization
Fans of legalized sports betting present the same argument that has been put forth for decades concerning many controversial issues: “It already goes on illegally, so why not make it legal and eliminate the corruption with which it is involved?” However, opponents say that the negatives outweigh the positives.
For instance, they state that corruption will still be a part of many gambling organizations and because casinos are often linked with other bad elements, such as drugs and prostitution, that this would likely be the case with legalized sports gambling.
Opposition From the NFL
The NFL has been very vocal in its opposition of sports betting, claiming its many side effects, such as potential gambling addiction, may jeopardize the integrity of football and other sports. However, proponents of legalization claim that the NFL and similar organizations are opposed to gambling on sports events because it may place extra pressure on referees to ensure calls are made correctly.
Big time sports bettor Jon Price a veteran handicapper who sells betting tips says “Legalizing has a lot of benefits and drawbacks. Clients of Sports Information Traders will be competing against a lot of amateurs and thus will have the opportunity to make a lot more money because the smart money will wait for the “dumb” money to put their money on the wrong side of the table and we can capitalize on that. In addition more arbitrage opportunities open up. Its similar to when online trading started up.
Hedge funds took advantage of the smaller guys and of course a few made out really well and they mad the headlines. The NFL however is certainly one of the biggest beneficiaries as interest in the games will go down to the last play when the point spread is close.”
Input from American Gaming Industry
A leading association for the gaming industry is optimistic that the Trump administration will offer his support for gaming. CEO and President of the American Gaming Association–AGA– Geoff Freeman, stated that casino owners are in a better position than ever to achieve their goals due to the election of Donald Trump as president. He stated that with a former casino owner in the Oval Office, the chances are “better than ever.”
The combination of Trump’s election and increased acceptance of gambling in mainstream America give individuals like Freeman reason to believe that the Federal ban may be lifted. However, regardless of whether one is for or against legalized sports gambling, the odds of current administration legalizing sports betting and online gambling is not really the issue, primarily because the president does not have power to make or repeal laws. Tasks of this nature are in the hands of Congress.
In the past, sports betting rarely had any type of major support from the House or Senate, and it is unlikely that most members of Congress will make it a priority during these tumultuous times.
It essentially comes down to the constituents in the districts they represent, and whether they oppose or agree with legalized sports betting. Due to the challenges associated with congressional approval, many experts believe that a more likely scenario is that state-level governments will soften their approach to the enforcement of the Federal ban. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether Trump’s presidency will create a more gambling friendly climate in the United States.