Sun Editorial: ‘Fresh approach’ to betting needed

Sun Editorial: ‘Fresh approach’ to betting needed

Sun

New Jersey may never win its battle in court to allow legalized sports betting in the state. But new research shows that legalizing — and regulating — sports betting would be very beneficial to our economy.

The American Gaming Association last week estimated that Americans will bet $95 billion on the National Football League and college football this season, and less than 4 percent of that is expected to be wagered legally.

“Illegal sports betting is reaching new heights of popularity in America,” said Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the Association. “It’s clear that a federal ban on traditional sports betting outside of Nevada is failing.”

GamblingCompliance, a global gaming research firm, estimated that a legal U.S. sports gambling market — like the one conducted in Nevada — would produce $12.4 billion in annual revenue. To put that in perspective, that would be more than the estimated $12 billion in revenue the entire NFL is expected to generate this year!

So what’s the hold-up? For one, it seems New Jersey’s avenue of pursuing a lift of a federal ban on sports betting outside four states through court isn’t going to work. However, it has brought to light a lot of pertinent issues, and benefits of changing the federal law. But that needs to happen at the congressional level, not in court.

The heads of both the NBA and MLB have said there needs to be a “fresh approach” to sports betting. Clearly, Americans are betting on sports in widespread fashion, whether the way they are doing it is legal. Sports betting is not only commonplace, it’s no longer taboo.

Walk into your favorite chain bookstore or supermart, and you’ll find sports betting guides in the magazine aisle. Heck, ESPN — “the worldwide leader in sports” — even started an entire section of its website dedicated to covering the sports betting landscape and providing bettors with advice.

The time is now to change the way our country handles sports betting. We are letting too much money fall through our fingers at a time when we need every cent we can get.