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Supreme Court delivers decision to lift ban on sports gambling

People line up to place bets in the sports book at the South Point hotel-casino, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

AP Photo by John Locher

People line up to place bets in the sports book at the South Point hotel-casino, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

Michael Chirichillo, Staff Writer

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The sound of cash registers clanking, betting screens lighting up and flashing with ever -changing numbers, and lines of people as long as a football field waiting with cash in hand.  No this is not a description of a casino, but possibly how professional sports arenas could be looking very soon.

On May 14, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark decision that would lift a nationwide ban on sports gambling and give states the option to legalize gambling on professional baseball, basketball, football, and virtually every other major sports league.

Now five months later, the effects of this decision are beginning to play out.  With New Jersey, Nevada, Mississippi, Delaware, West Virginia, and New Mexico already executing full-fledged sports gambling, it is beginning to inspire other states to follow suit.

About 27 other states already have moved forward in the process to allow sports gambling across the state and this will make gambling available widely in arenas and on phone applications. With the sports gambling market projected to grow into a $6 billion to $16 billion-dollar industry, the states and major sports leagues have their mouths watering.

One possible target market for both leagues and state legislators could be with young adults, primarily men and women in their early 20’s.  

One reason for this is that typically people in their early 20’s are first exposed to gambling and are more likely to continue.  With sports, unlike slot machine gambling for example, there is knowledge and skill involved in being able to recognize point spreads and have overall savvy of the sport and the teams. This satisfaction coming from winning and having knowledge on a bet can easily become a habit fairly easily, and that is the worry that some individuals are having.

Daniel Bartko, a 21-year-old sports-fan and Arizona Cardinals season ticket holder, gave some opinions on how he believes gambling could affect his sports consumption.

“I have made small bets on games occasionally with friends before and it has made me pay much more close attention to the games,” Bartko said.

This is exactly what the major professional sports leagues are hoping for.  With in-game attendance and tv viewership declining in the 18-25 age demographic for almost all sports, the leagues need to find a way to get the future of their fan bases re-engaged.

“I can definitely see myself placing a bet almost every time I go to a game”, Bartko stated. “Obviously if I make a bet, I am going to pay more attention to every detail of what’s happening on the field in the game I am watching, and every other.”

Not only does this show that gambling can bring younger fans deeper into the sports, it can also bring new ones in. With many young people being frequent gamblers, it can soon introduce the non-sports watching gambling market into the competitive world of competitive athletics.

Jerry Zhang, a finance major at Arizona State University and moderate sports fan, also discussed how he feels about the recent ban on sports gambling ban being lifted could entrench him deeper into sports.

“If I can wake up and look at my phone in the morning at all the spreads for every game, and be able to bet, it’s hard to say I will be able to resist the urge to do research on the games and become a follower.”

While Zhang goes on to say he is a supporter of states being able to allow gambling on games he does also see how there could be negative aspects.

“I would have to make sure that gambling and watching games doesn’t become a habit,” Zhang states.

Although most states do not yet allow gambling, they are taking the steps necessary to create regulations to protect from fixation or foul play before turning on the odds screens. With the sports leagues and state governments craving the revenue from this new industry it will not be long before gambling on sports is available at any arena or on any smartphone in a 21-year-olds hands.

For now, it is mostly still a guessing game in regard to how sports gambling will affect the future of American sports.  With very few states allowing gambling in its early stages it is too early to tell how this decision by the supreme court will affect young people, the leagues, and state governments.  However, as more begin to fully legalize, it should paint the picture vividly on whether or not this was a good decision.

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Supreme Court delivers decision to lift ban on sports gambling