The popularity of sports betting continues to rise, especially with the return of the NFL. Here’s what you need to know!
A Brief History of Sports Betting
As the 2022-2023 NFL season gets under way, online sports books are gearing up for a dramatic increase in activity. The popularity of NFL Football and all other televised sports has brought with it a tsunami of interest in sports gambling which was legalized by the Supreme Court in 2018. That ruling opened the door to access the billions of dollars available from illegal sports betting. In 2021 the amount of money wagered legally was $52.7 billion. That number is dwarfed by what some estimate is the $400 billion wagered annually in underground sports betting.
Sports Betting for Dummies
To understand sports betting, one needs to understand the “betting lines.” The most common are the spread, the money line and the over/under. The spread is how much the better team is projected to win by, the money line is how favored the team is to win the game straight up, and the over/under is how many points are projected to be scored in the game. Understanding how to read odds will tell you how much you can win versus how much you bet, per $100. For example, if the New York Jets are playing the New York Giants, and you want to bet on the Jets to win, you would place a bet on the money line, which will be different for each game. In this case, it’s projected to be a close game so the Jets are favored at -120, which means you must bet $120 to win $100 on that bet.
Teams and Media Partners Love It
The organizations and media partners have seen a huge leap in the viewership numbers of fans from TV and attendance rates over the years. A lot of this has to do with the expansion of sports betting, as nearly 50% of all sports bettors watch a game every single day! This means more revenue for teams and media outlets.
A Dangerous Game
If you regularly watch sports on TV, you’ve probably noticed the deluge of advertising for sports betting platforms like FanDuel and DraftKings. These are usually accompanied by the obligatory “responsible gaming” messaging promoting safe gambling habits and where to seek help if you have a problem. The fact is that most sports bettors are at least somewhat responsible, but the ability now to quickly place bets on a smart phone can create an irresistible temptation for those ill-equipped to deal with the risk. Numbers vary, but research tells us that roughly 1% of the population has a gambling addiction. That’s around 2.5 million people. These habits often start in adolescence. Data from a 2018 study shows that more than 75% of students gamble at some level, and youth gamblers have higher rates of addiction problems than adults. Now, there is no federal agency to address problematic gambling, and none of the $7.6 billion in federal gambling taxes goes to address the consequences of gambling addiction. Until there is support available, have fun, but only bet what you can afford to lose, and lose you will. That’s how these companies make money.