A Project for Better Journalism chapter

The Game Has Changed

One of the largest changes in professional sports history occurred just a few weeks ago. The Supreme Court struck down the 1992 federal law that had previously banned commercial sports betting in most states. Although this law had already been exempted in Nevada, otherwise known as the gambling capital of America, this brand new overturning has opened up the possibility of expansion to all other states and has caused the preliminary gambling industry to suddenly flourish. With many people in favor of this news, the belief that putting money on the line will aid all parties has become all the more common. As many believe, not only will gambling be highly profitable for the individual states as well as the intrinsic gambling business, but it should also greatly benefit the weakening sporting industry, which has been pummeled by cheaper internet based alternatives. And with ratings and viewing counts closing in on record lows, this ruling looks to be the sporting industry’s saving grace, with hopes of greatly increasing viewer counts and their individual viewing times.


One study conducted by a group under the name of Nielsen Sports even cited that: “sports bettors made up 25 percent of the NFL’s television audience in 2015 but accounted for 47 percent of all minutes viewed.” Taking these numbers into account, the legalization of sports betting becomes that much more appealing to sports broadcasting networks. With sports betting likely being able to bring the needed surge towards the sports viewing industry, it is now up to states and sports networking to capitalize upon this window of opportunity before cheaper online alternatives beat them to it. Other indications of sports betting success can be seen by the United Kingdom’s premier betting site, titled Bet365, which was able to bring in a shocking $3 billion revenue over the course of 2017. With countless examples that also can be cited, people begin to question why sports betting hasn’t always been legal and why only now are the tides changing?


The counter-argument, however, is that betting which is illegal in the majority of America will likely bring with it more illegal and sketchy business practices which much of America has historically been fighting against. Whether this can be truly proven is up in the air, but with a majority of studies seeming to prefer the former opinion it is logical to support sports betting illegality. However, whether this ruling is ultimately a good or bad thing has yet to be decided, but with its potential legality opening up an $150 billion industry it seems less and less likely that big-business, money strapped individuals, will not stop government petitions. One thing however is clear: sports betting is about to be taken to the next level.