Sports gambling 101 what might our future of legalized betting look like a shell gas station near me


“The general consensus is that states that have a gaming infrastructure — parimutuel, racehorse betting, casino — those states will be ahead in the race a little bit,” said Donald J. Polden, a Santa Clara University law professor with an expertise in gaming. “The anticipation is there is going to be so much interest from those sources there will be legislative action pretty quickly.”

The American Gaming Association estimates $150 billion is illegally spent on sports betting annually. So, it’s understandable why state treasurers have their eyes on a potentially lucrative revenue stream. California stands to make as much as $393 million annually in gaming taxes, according to a report on the economic impact of legalized gambling that was commissioned last year by the American Gaming Association.

Racetrack and parimutuel (shared winnings) betting already have the systems to easily move into sportsbooks. Santa Clara’s Polden expects “mom and pop” betting shops also to surface. Then he added this whopper: “I would imagine charitable organizations, the proverbial church bingo game suddenly changes. Now you can wager on a card of 15 football games from pros to colleges.”

Another area to consider is the world of fantasy sports, which has faced legal questions about whether it is a game of skill or one of chance. Legalized betting would end the discussion. It also has the potential to make fantasy sports even more inviting to fans.

The four major leagues — the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB — supported those trying to uphold the federal ban. Part of the legal support was protecting their games’ public perception. But leagues already have shown a willingness to go along with gambling, underscored by the NFL and NHL awarding teams to Las Vegas.

“They’re always trying to get people into a closed area and charge them for things that don’t involve the game,” Stanford’s Gould said. “Well, this is one more. It’s purely cynical self-interest. They will be at the front of the line with their hands open.”

It’s difficult to estimate figures until we see what happens. But it must be a ton of dough because NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been all over this for the past four years. He has talked about the leagues getting an “integrity fee” cut off the sportsbook profits.

Colleges have attempted to create an image of purity if you will. But three days after the high court ruling the NCAA announced it had temporarily suspended its prohibition on championship events being held in states that allow sports betting. The ban, we don’t mind saying, was hypocritical considering the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences hold annual basketball tournaments in Las Vegas.

Still, morality vs. money remains one of college sports’ biggest tug-of-wars. For example, Cal and Stanford don’t sell alcohol at sporting events, but San Jose State does. While alcohol sales have been revenue winners at places like Ohio State and Texas, the gambling potential is a different beast.

The feeling toward gaming will be ‘If we don’t have some portion of the stake somebody else will take it from us,’” Gould said. “Stanford is thinking very carefully about how it can do this. It runs counter to the public image they hope to cultivate but they wouldn’t let that stand in their way.”

Gould, however, says college sports might be vulnerable to game fixing because the players are not paid. The scholarship system has led to discontent among the athletes who see the NCAA and schools reap millions off their performances. A money trough such as gambling could lead to the unionization of college athletes.

Gould raised another interesting concern: “I wonder whether people will begin to bet on individual players,” he said. “If that happens will there be (Ed) O’Bannon-type disputes about that appropriation of their likeness.” (O’Bannon, a former UCLA star, sued the NCAA in 2009 in an antitrust class action case.)

The presence of offshore sites might force states, leagues and teams to lower revenue expectations. If commissions and taxes are too high, bettors might stick with the easy click of their mobile phones to make wagers abroad. Sure, such bets are illegal. But offshore sites have proven difficult for U.S. authorities to police.

State officials will need to create an easy-to-use system that can compete with the offshore sites. But the foreign books already have one big advantage: Some offshore sites take bets on credit, a proposition that won’t exist in legalized gaming.

Betting shops have become universally accepted throughout the United Kingdom since it became legal to gamble on sporting events in 1960. The British establishments are as pervasive as pubs in malls and other centers of commerce instead of hidden away on backstreets like California marijuana dispensaries. Researchers have not found indications of increased addictions to gambling, according to studies.

In 2006, Italy’s soccer leagues were embroiled in a major game-rigging scandal that led to punishment against some of the biggest clubs, including Juventus of Turin. Irish investigative journalist Declan Hill has written extensively about gambling and corruption, exposing problems in Asia and lower-division European soccer leagues.

In a column in the Los Angeles Times, Randy Harvey posits reporting on sporting events will undergo a dramatic shift. For starters, the games’ outcomes might have different significance to bettors, who also are big-time fans, and thus, the sports pages’ target audience.

“Your expertise will have to include understanding the implications for sudden shift changes,” Polden said. “This will be a regular part of your work on teams, trends and sports. That’s just scratching the surface in terms of stuff that will be important for reporters to know about.”