A few days before Christmas, I went to see the NHL’s Nashville Predators take on the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, on home ice.
Among all the silliness of the modern professional sports experience – an ad for the home team slipping out of a giant sabertooth head, mistletoe kiss cams, a tiny rock band playing seasonal hits during periods – There was a constant stream of draft kingsa company known as a sportsbook that bets on sporting events and pays out winnings.
The name flashed prominently in the jumbotron above center ice when the starting lineup was announced. That logo reappeared as the crew rushed to clear the ice during a timeout. but alsodraft kings “Sportsbook” was attached to the yellow jackets worn by those who shoveled the shaved ice, and was also found on the carts used to collect the ice.
All this happened a few days after the Predator Announced multi-year partnership with another sportsbook, BetMGMas well as home venue signage, Bridgestone As well as the arena, BetMGM restaurants and bars.
If I had kept my head up that night, I could have accessed a sports betting app on my smartphone and placed a bet on the game. 33 states and the District of Columbia Where Sports Betting Is Legal. 31 January 2023, Massachusetts becomes the latest state to legalize the practice.
The points to describe the whole scene are simply: legalize sports bettingan entire industry sprouted up and is now just part of the show for tens of millions of fans across the country.
The seamless integration of betting into American sports cannot be ignored even among non-betting fans, but it marks a noticeable change to activities that were banned in much of the country just a few years ago. represents.
new sports world
Let’s start by looking at the numbers.
US$180.2 billion has been legally wagered on sports since May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law limiting sports betting to four states, including Nevada. According to figures provided to me by industry research and lobbying group AGA, this has brought in $13.7 billion in revenue for sportsbooks.
Before the NFL kicked off last September, AGA reported 18% of American adults (over 46 million) planned to bet this season. Most of them were likely to be wagered through legitimate channels rather than so-called corner bookmakers or illegal operatives.
So who bets on sports? increase. They are younger, more masculine, and earn more. ”
They are people like Christian Santosuosso, a 26-year-old creative marketing professional from Brooklyn, New York. Santosuosso didn’t bet on the game until it was legal. Now, he and his pals pool their money on NFL Sundays to spark both interest in the game and conversation in the room.
“It’s entertainment,” he told me in a phone interview. However, he added that there is a limit to how much you can bet.
Shortly after the 2018 Supreme Court ruling, I wrote the following article. conversation Ask if media will start creating content for bettors.
The answer was a clear “yes”. It seems to have helped change the topic of sports betting.
If you look at the front page of ESPN.com as I write this, you can see that the University of Georgia is ahead of Texas Christian University by 13.5 points in the college football national championship. It’s front and center, right next to kick-off time and the television network it’s airing on.
But it sucks.
ESPN has been broadcasting the game show “Daily Wager” since 2019. In September 2022, the sports conglomerate announced array of new content The focus is on betting advice and picks. And SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt said, “Bad Beats” segmentVan Pelt usually highlights how teams on the winning side of the points spread collapse in the last second in crazy ways.
Meanwhile, a cottage industry of betting chip channels has emerged. Youtube – If you enter “#sports betting‘ into the YouTube search bar and you’ll find thousands.
Another example of how things have changed: On January 2, 2023, the University of Utah football team got the ball first and scored with 43 seconds remaining to trail Penn State by 21 points in the Rose Bowl. I put on. The game is essentially over. However, commentators noted that the touchdown meant a lot to some people.
WHO? why? The announcer didn’t elaborate, but the implications were clear. Those betting overs that the two teams together bet he would score 54 or more points had a lot to do with that touchdown. In a way, so did ESPN. In the event of a large explosion, fans of both teams could faint. But with money on something like an overcoat, my eyes are glued to the screen.
Utah scored on third down with 25 seconds remaining. final score: Pennsylvania 35, Utah 21.
danger and ceiling
I have been editing sports articles since the early 1990s, Sports Journalism Program at Penn State University Since 2013. I noticed my students routinely talk about points his spread (the expected margin of victory) or over his unders (a bet on the total number of points scored).
It didn’t happen all that often when I first got into State University, or in the newsroom before that.
Sports leagues used to be staunchly against gamblingAnd while they’re still worried On discouraging players from gamblingmany leagues, especially the NFL, have completely U-turned since legalization.
There are multiple reasons for this change of heart. The concern was once about, Game loses integrity in gambling scandalnow sports leagues can claim that legal betting allows them to better monitor for possible cheating. If there was, it would all show up in the sportsbook and could indicate malicious activity.
there is also Great fan interest in legal betting – 56% of American adults and nearly 7 in 10 men recently told Pew they had read at least a little bit about how prevalent legal sports betting is.
of course, Big money from new sponsor group – Sportsbook – This brings NFL sponsorship revenue to a record $1.8 billion for the 2021 season.
Dangerous, of course gambling addiction.
And the AGA will ensure that its member companies Provide customers with information about problem gamblinglegalization definitely provided Easier and safer access to sports betting.
Keith White, Executive Director National Council on Problematic GamblingIn a telephone interview, a survey by his group found that about 25% of American adults bet on sports, somewhat higher than the AGA estimates. Jumping from about 15%.
While this is a significant increase, it also suggests that we are probably nearing the upper limit. So even if every state legalized sports betting, White speculated that more people wouldn’t bet on it. .
“I think it’s changing the market in many ways,” White said.
John Affleck is the night chair for sports journalism and society at Penn State University.