You Wanna Bet?

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You don’t need this column for me to tell you the American economy is in trouble. Not only are we losing jobs by the thousands, default loans are escalating at astounding rates and the Government’s budget is severely in the red. 

But its effects on sports have already been felt. At amateur levels, funding is being cut, programs are being erased and schools are trying to find ways to salvage every penny they can.

At the professional ranks, teams are spending less, (minus the Yankees), advertising is down and team officials struggle with rising costs and how to deflect them from burying their fans.  

But instead of just reading and listening everyday about how bad it is, may get, or will end up, I actually like listening to proactive ideas to get us out of this mess. 

Recently I read an article that may surprise many it its approach and will definitely infuriate some.

In this article I was shocked at how much underground gambling goes on in this country.    And by underground I mean untaxed. 

According to a federally funded group under the Clinton Administration, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission estimates that nearly $360 billion is spent on sports betting each year. But here’s the kicker, that was 10 or so years ago, and by estimates, that number has nearly doubled by now.

The article takes a more economic approach than I will. Citing taxed and revenue generating schemes like the state lottery, you can imagine how much funding we could actually draw if we harnessed this massive amount of spending. 

I for one, on the surface at least think it’s a great idea. A Federally backed and insured wagering facilities that would actually benefit other parts of society. Obviously a lot more leg work would need to be done to compile a system that would actually suit all parties involved.

According to the Michigan Lottery, in 2008 just over $740 million dollars of school aid was generated with the sales of its games at $2.33 billion. Seemingly this number would doubled if not more by the addition of sports betting to it. 

Naysayers, would say it would taint the games. Introduce the opportunities for players to be tarnished with offers from greedy gamblers to throw games, shave points, win but not cover the spread. If they are actually foolish enough to believe this temptation does not already exist, revert back a few paragraphs and look at how much is bet each year already; illegally.

Heading into the two largest betting opportunities of the year, the Super Bowl and March Madness, look around and see how much betting actually takes place without any dividend to the athletes in the form of education, schools programs, teams costs, or other societal needs.

Whether universities or professional teams like to admit it or not, people are gambling on the games their athletes play. And whether they like to admit it or not, they are losing money in most sports by the day, and will need to come up with new and creative ways to combat this problem or funds will dry up and athletics will fall by the wayside. 

By no means am I suggesting that this solution will solve the economic crisis that the United States and many parts of the world faces, but for many of us sports is our outlet, it’s time the Federal Government harnesses that power by making sports gambling legal in every state, because quite honestly it happens in every state every day.

Click here and tell me what do you think? Should we legalize gambling for all sports in America?