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U.S. Legislatures Focus Back on Sports Betting

August 6, 2020

With major league sports returning in the U.S., the nation's sports bettors are returning to action. It will be interesting to see how sports betting revenues shake out in the coming months after several months of pent up demand due to the Coronavirus lockdown. It's interesting to note that Colorado sports bettors wagered over $9.1 million in May and June combined on table tennis with very few other options available. That bodes well for the nation's legal bookmakers.

With all of this renewed focus on sports betting, the debate is raging again over whether or not other states should be passing legislation to legalize sports betting for its residents. At the recent SBC Digital Summit, this quickly became one of the main focuses of the conference. Here's what is known coming out of the summit.

States that fully support legalized sports betting have already submitted and approved the appropriate legislation. Many of those states already have bookmakers in operation in both retail sites and through online bookmaking websites. There is even a small group of states that appear ready to approve sports betting legislation, simply waiting until the U.S. economy starts recovering from the pandemic.

Then there is a group of states that just don't seem to grasp what is going on. At the SBC summit, FanDuel governmental affairs director Stacie Stern addressed what seems to be the top concern related to the legalization of sports betting, that concern being the possible corruption of college athletes.

Here is what Stern had to say about this concern: “There’s this sort of thinking that, ‘Well, we need to protect the athletes, the student-athletes, and so, therefore, we’re going to prohibit college sports [betting]’, when in actuality there’s already wagering going on in college sports, there are already bookies, there are offshore apps that allow for college sports wagering. So those athletes are already at risk right now."

Her point is well taken given the fact American sports bettors are still wagering billions of dollars illegally through bookies and nonregistered offshore bookmakers. She went on to add that the best way to protect student-athletes is to bring sports gambling under the control of state governments where compliance groups can be administered to watch for illicit gambling activities.

This debate is likely to continue over the next couple of years. During this time, states that allow legalized sports betting activities will be able to collect information to hopefully alleviate concerns over the corruption of student-athletes.

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