Forty seven million people will place bets on NFL games this season. And that’s just the beginning, as the MLB playoffs, NBA and NHL get underway.
Ever since the Supreme Court reversed a law that banned sports betting, it cleared a path for sportsbooks to belly up to the $200 billion trough. Betting is legal in 31 states because federal laws are laughably weak. So, top dogs like FanDuel and DraftKings are spending millions to influence legislation. Now, the sweet spot is mobile sports betting, which is illegal in most states. They know that once sports fans can bet-by-phone, common sense will take a hike.
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Casino games and lotto are kid stuff compared to the rabid passion of sports bettors. Sportsbook advertising is relentless and ESPN feeds the frenzy with programs dedicated to sports betting.
Meanwhile, several NFL teams have already partnered with gambling companies. Brad Alberts, CEO of the NHL’s Dallas Stars is convinced that “sports gambling is the future of our business. There’s no stopping that freight train now.”
Stand back, the floodgates are wide open.
Here’s my take. Wait a minute! Wasn’t Pete Rose kicked out of baseball for gambling? Yes, the all-time hits leader is still banned from the Hall-of Fame. And Pete always bet on his own team! Today, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice are paid endorsers for sportsbooks.
Got to love the hypocrisy.
Meanwhile, there are no legal guardrails to limit the growth of sports betting. Left almost completely unchecked, who can’t see the crisis ahead? The drained savings accounts. The squandered jobs. The broken marriages. The betting addiction centers.
The consequences could be irreversible.