Why you should care
Because it’s time to place your bets.
On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal prohibition on sports gambling, launching a new era for American sports. States such as New Jersey and Mississippi moved quickly to legalize it — and cash in — while others are still debating whether and how to move forward. The nationwide shift has a spillover effect on everything from finance to politics to the media.
Odds are the world is changing in unexpected ways, and OZY is breaking it down for you with this exclusive series.
In at least nine states and Washington, D.C., pro sports leagues are throwing their lobbying weight around. On the surface, these initiatives oppose sports gambling legalization bills, citing concerns that the sport’s integrity could be tarnished. But in state after state, MLB and the NBA are also demonstrating a keenness to make money off the very sports betting they want to clamp down on.
New investment platforms and tools are turning to sports gambling as a more viable financial market for their clients across the country. These firms include hedge fund–like entities that are picking betting lines instead of having a fund manager invest in stocks, plus a growing number of innovative peer-to-peer betting exchanges, which pit bettors against one another for an agreed upon price and line.
NBA teams, including the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers, are rolling out gambling-focused sports broadcasts, where in addition to watching game action, viewers are bombarded with in-game betting opportunities, with more likely next season as more states legalize sports betting. The announcers are the same, but the graphics package and viewing experience are entirely different. While CBS has been reticent, NFL Network has been more open to gambling — and might look at something similar soon.
Even though millions of kids pick up a stick every year, lacrosse has remained a niche spectator sport. But with fast action, high scoring and former players who line up well demographically with the typical sports gambler (young and wealthy), lacrosse is due for a surge of interest on the back of legalized betting.
Nonpublic information about injuries or other inside scoops can prove decisive to bettors, just as it can to stock pickers. State after state is introducing sports wagering legislation and regulations to either prohibit operators from allowing people with inside information to place bets or punish bettors who use such information.