This Just-In… Sports Gambling

Justin Prakaiphetkul, Asst. Sports Editor

Legalized sports gambling–these are the three words that are bound to stir up controversy among sports fans all over the country. Later this year, the Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the Christie v. NCAA case, in which they will decide whether or not to allow states the right to legalize sports wagering.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Christie, it will be interesting to see which states follow in Nevada’s footsteps. No matter what side you are on regarding the touchy subject, you cannot deny the impact of gambling on the three major sports’ popularity, football, basketball and baseball.

Fantasy sports, as well as betting on major sporting events such as the Super Bowl or the World Series, has led to an increase in the popularity of the NFL, NBA and MLB.

The world of fantasy sports has allowed people across the world to put together a hypothetical team of players, in their respective sports, to earn money.

Fantasy football allows anyone to draft the NFL’s top players onto their teams in an attempt to win money. This may be done through year-long leagues or daily tournaments.

According to IBISWorld, in 2015, fantasy football accounts made up 36 percent of the 40 million or so fantasy games that people played.

Fantasy sports has also had a huge impact on the NBA. In fact, according to FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles, in 2017, the NBA surpassed the NFL in terms of FanDuel’s revenue for its daily contests, as the NBA features 1,230 games compared to the NFL’s 256 games per season.

Just like the NFL, the NBA’s daily contests allows people who may not be committed to year-long leagues to participate in sports wagering by selecting players based on a budget for their fantasy teams. However, due to its 82 game season, anyone can make bets daily when it comes to the NBA, which may attract those that crave the need to spend each day.

MLB also has its own gathering of fantasy players, though not to the extent of the NFL and the NBA.

This lure for money leads to an increase in viewership for the three major sports, as fantasy players tune into live games to watch their fantasy picks either win them a wad of cash or cost them their week’s earnings.

Although fantasy sports allows money to be thrown around daily, sports gambling is taken to another level when it comes to the major sporting events.

The Super Bowl is arguably the most popular game of the year in all of sports. Just last year, $138.48 million was wagered on Super Bowl LI in the Nevada sport books, according to ESPN. When taking into account the illegal bets placed in the U.S., that number leaps up to an estimated $4.74 billion, according to

During last year’s World Series, it was reported by USA Today that an unknown better using the pseudonym “Let It Ride” walked away with $14 million after going six for six in his predictions, before ultimately deciding not to bet on Game 7. Earlier this month, USA Today reported that the same individual won $6 million during Super Bowl LII.

These bets made on the grandest stage of professional sports has increased the popularity of sports by attracting those eager to roll the dice to win big. Gamblers who do not choose a team by simply flipping a coin have to do their work by watching games as well as listening to or reading analysis pieces on certain teams.

Sports gambling may not be your cup of tea, and you may be completely against the idea of betting illegally. Nevertheless, wagering on sports has without a doubt boosted the popularity of major sports leagues by bringing more attention to the sports that we love. Whether you like it or not, no matter what the Supreme Court decides, sports gambling is here to staylegally or illegally.