Gambling with the game: The influence of sports betting

Sports betting has surged in popularity and accessibility in recent years, making it one of the most transformative forms of entertainment this decade. From professional to amateur, even reaching into Esports, sports betting has changed the way we look at and evaluate sporting exhibitions. While it can promise economic benefits, it harbors a dark side that cannot be ignored.

From a positive perspective legalized sports betting has generated for governments a substantial amount of revenue which can be used to fund public services and infrastructure. For example, T-Mobile Arena—home of the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights—was partly funded by tax revenue coming from legalized sports betting. Sports betting also has led to an uptick in fan engagement and interest in all sports leading to more viewership and participation in sporting events.

We’ve even seen incidents of underaged sports bettors and professional athletes getting in trouble for betting. Just recently, former Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter was banned for life from playing in the NBA after it was discovered that he had bet on NBA games and provided inside information to bettors. Even in our own backyard, former Atlanta Falcons player Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 season after betting on five NFL games while he was away from the team. Incidents such as these leave me wondering why talented players would do something that could cost them their career.

I believe sports betting can lead to positive effects not only on individuals but also economically. I also believe that because of sports betting’s accessibility, it can also lead to increased rates of gambling addiction with severe consequences.

Do I want sports betting to go away? No, because I’ve seen how much of a positive impact it’s made on individuals and growing cities. However, I do want to see more rules and regulations set in place to emphasize the importance of responsible betting for both the common folk and professional athletes. After all, the main attraction should be enjoying the sport itself, not the bet that you put on the sport.

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