For the past 26 years, placing a bet could get you in big trouble across the majority of the US states. This was due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Enacted in 1992, it was preventing states from legalizing sports betting on their territories.
The entire situation changed in May 2018 when the Supreme Court of the US declared PASPA unconstitutional. From now on, each state can decide for itself whether sports betting will be allowed on its territory.
This ruling did not come overnight. It was the result of a long-lasting fight between professional sports bodies and individual states (with New Jersey leading the way) to overrule the Act. You can check out the infographic below and find more details about the timeline of this struggle.
Meanwhile, let’s briefly explain why legalizing sports betting is a good idea and what positive consequences it could bring.
The first thing that comes to mind is the elimination of the underground bookkeepers and grey market they operate in. If a state decides to legalize placing sports bets, these will die out. As a consequence, it will collect more funds in tax revenue, while its citizens will be protected from frauds and criminal activities.
To be more precise, the gambling industry has generated around $208 billion in 2018 on the federal level. It is not hard to guess that this number will be much more significant this time next year with sports betting being legalized across different US states.
New Job Opportunities
However, it is not just about revenue and taxes. Now that an entire new industry has been created, there will be a need for new facilities, venues, workers, professionals, managers, etc. Simply put, a whole new set of job vacancies are expected to emerge.
At the moment, the most prominent industries operating in conjunction with the sports betting industry are hospitality, entertainment, and tech. Nowadays, casino venues still attract a lot of adventurists and enthusiasts, but having a physical venue is not imperative in the gambling business.
A lot of casinos and betting services turned to mobile apps. Betting and gambling through apps is a rapidly growing trend, as many players are practicing this activity solely in this way.
This translates to an increased demand for professionals who can develop and maintain such apps.
Furthermore, with the advent of blockchain technology, a new type of betting platforms emerge on a daily basis. These platforms are much more advanced than the old-fashioned ones in several regards.
For example, once you place a bet under specific conditions, it is not possible for any party to change them and your bet cannot be disputed. That said, if you believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers would win the 2018 Super Bowl and you’re willing to invest some money into it in November, your bookkeeper cannot change any of the relevant parameters in late January when the team wins the Conference game and qualifies for Super Bowl.
However, blockchain-based betting platforms offer another important feature – lower fees and instant transactions. If the tech continues to develop in the present direction, we might even see completely decentralized betting platforms, meaning that bookkeepers would be entirely eliminated as the middleman.
But let’s stick with the present day. Our point here is that legalized sports betting will set off the entirely new industry – blockchain-powered betting platforms development – which further means that there would be a need for more professionals.
Overall, sports betting legalization roughly translates to 86,819 direct job opportunities and 129,852 indirect job opportunities. That’s more than 200,000 jobs for manufacturers, servers, cleaners, builders, keepers, journalists, producers, developers, programmers, support personnel, and so on. Moreover, with sports betting expected to contribute around $22,4 billion to the US GDP, there’s a high possibility for even more jobs to be created.
Could The Legalization Kill Professional and College Sports?
Now that individual states can legalize sports betting, isn’t there a possibility of match-fixing and other similar illegal activities? For example, what if a few key players place a bet against their own team and then do their best during the match to be defeated? This might be unlikely in professional sports where sports stars earn much more and would not risk their reputation, but what about contests on the college and even high-school level?
This is indeed a potential issue. Even though it wouldn’t be that simple to rig a match, it is not actually hard to imagine such a scenario. After all, it already happened in the past numerous times, not just across the world, but in the US as well.
To prevent this from happening, NBA and MLB asked from sports betting operators a 1% fee on wagering to monitor their operations and thus keep the integrity of the game. This is called the “integrity fee.”
Of course, the betting industry was not thrilled with this proposal and does its best to dispute it. The outcome of this struggle is yet to be seen.
Sports Data Companies
Meanwhile, a relatively new industry has started developing. These are companies collecting data and statistics of personal performances of every athlete and team, which is then processed and sold to interested parties. These could use this data to calculate the odds and make better predictions of the eventual winners.
Now that sports betting is not prohibited, it is expected to see an increase in the number of such specialized companies.
So, could we conclude that the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize sports betting is beneficial for the US economy, sports betting operators, and sports betting fans? We certainly could – there will be no more underground business, users will be protected from scammers, and the economy will receive a significant boost.
What’s more, it will involve additional workforce who will build gambling and betting venues or systems, entailing continuous influx of new job opportunities.