Sports betting is legal in the United States!!! That was the verdict in 2018 when the Supreme Court determined the federal ban on sports betting was not constitutional.
But while betting is now legal, just how drastic does the ruling change the betting landscape? We all know sports betting was taking place all over the country all ready even before it was legal. So just how different will legal sports gambling look compared to illegal sports betting? Let’s discuss some of what could be changing.
Yes, legalizing something means the government gets more say, not less in how it operates.
Currently, 8 states have full legalized sports betting. Two states (Arkansas and New York) have passed laws legalizing it. Twenty-eight states and the District of Colombia are considering laws to legalize it.
For the states that have passed and the states considering passage, that means state and local governments stepping up oversight and regulation of gambling. And unless the federal government passes minimum standards for every state (something that was first proposed in DC in late 2018), it may be difficult to keep up with the Wild West style standards each state comes up with.
For instance, not all states allow betting on college sports (Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island don’t allow the practice). Each state has a different group created to regulate it. Some states regulate through gambling commissions. Some combine gambling with their lottery departments. The type of organization a state chooses to regulate sports gambling with can have a major effect on the type of regulations that surround it.
And the type of regulations passed will be directly related to the opinions of elected officials. With every election could come new regulations from people who oppose gambling. Then, two years later, a new group steps in and undoes all those regulations. Regulations will be different from state to state and year to year depending on the political whims that are popular at the time.
So, count on needing to constantly keep up with the current regulations for the area you’re gambling in and expect those regulations to change frequently. Visit ESPN.com here for the latest on where each state stands on the legalizing sports betting,
How many people out there declared their winnings from sports betting last year?
Well, if you live in a state that allows it, expect to have to declare those winnings come tax time every year.
When gambling was illegal in most places, there was no public record of your winnings. So, you could easily get away with not declaring those winnings. And even if you did declare, how would you explain on a federal return money you won illegally (unless you were in a few select places).
Now, with states regulating the practice, public records will exist of those winnings, creating a paper trail leading back to you for money you won. So just like game show and lottery winnings, your gambling winnings will now need to be declared on your tax returns.
Stronger Schools/Government Programs
While winnings will now be taxed, so too will casinos and other gambling operations be taxed for revenue they earn from sports betting.
And as is this case with most gambling revenue, that money has the potential to make great improvements for a state or region.
Many states use bingo, horse racing, and lottery money to make improvements to schools and offer scholarships. So, the way individual states use this previously untapped source of revenue could play a major role in improving their individual communities for the better.
College Injury Reports?
One-way legal gambling could change the sports world was brought up by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey at the league’s media days last July.
Unlike professional sports, college sports require no information on injuries from their coaches. And coaches use this to their advantage, often mentioning nothing about a player’s injury until the players status revealed because he’s not on the field.
This frustrates fans who expect to see and networks who market games on star players only to find one-star player can’t go. Add in the lack of access media members have to practice and a new treasure trove of insider information now exists for a select few to take advantage of.
While most are banned from attending practice, a select few (University official, major donors, recruits and their families, student managers, etc.) are allowed in. They can see with their eyes which players are not practicing or hurting while they practice. And that information could be invaluable to someone who wants to place a bet.
So, Sankey mentioned the need for injury reports to eliminate this cache of insider info.
We will see if conferences or the NCAA take action with this informal proposal by Sankey. But I for one would applaud this much welcomed piece of transparency from the closed off world created by the current crop of college coaches.
Gambling Sponsorships with Sports League
The major sports leagues in the United States stay away from products that stir controversy and/or are illegal. For example, current players in many professional sports leagues are prohibited by their leagues from promoting alcohol. This doesn’t stop former players, teams, or networks broadcasting games from jumping on this bandwagon, but I digress.
Now, with gambling legal at the federal level, sports leagues (as some already have) enter into partnerships with casinos and other sports books.
These partnerships give the impression that leagues want to protect the integrity of their games from any undue influence illegal gambling could have. And in return, the sports books who enter into these partnerships receive access to exclusive stats provided by the league so avid sports betters are drawn to use those particular sports books.
There’s also potential for new fans in sports who can now promote these partnerships and encourage active interest in games based on bets that can now be placed in the open. Also, with the rise of betting offer websites such as bestbetsfree.com, sports betting is also certainly going to increase over time.
So, the reality is not much is likely to change regarding the types of bets people make. But new relationships around the previously shady practice of sports betting will form and have impact on the communities doing the hosting, the governments openly regulating, and the leagues working with the gambling community.