The Crimson White

Alabama should legalize sports gambling

Alex Mazzaferro, Staff Columnist

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Gambling is the elephant in the room that no one wants to address. The Supreme Court has recently ruled that the 25-year ban on sports gambling was unconstitutional, but some legislators at the state level seek to perpetuate the prohibition of wagering on sporting events.

Specifically, lawmakers in the state of Alabama seem to think that if gambling is illegal, no one will partake. This, in fact, could not be further from the truth. Placing a ban on sports gambling will not stop anyone from placing bets on the Crimson Tide – or any team for that matter. It will only prevent the state from regulating and taxing the process.

Sports gambling used to only be legal in Nevada. Despite the illegality of the practice, sports news sites and shows such as Bleacher Report and ESPN would publish picks, lines and spreads for games for the entire nation to see. Lines, for those unfamiliar with sports gambling, are the odds that a certain team will win, and spreads are the amount of points or runs a certain team is favored by. When gambling was only legal in one state, why would one waste the time and effort necessary to publish odds for every state in the nation?

ESPN and other entertainment conglomerates publish or announce gambling odds partially because there are many people who gamble illegally in the United States. According to SB Nation, the CEO of the American Gaming Association, Geoff Freeman, stated, “In the United States today, we have an estimated $150 billion being wagered on sports betting. Only $4.5 billion of that is taking place in Nevada.” Popular sports websites want to cash in.

Although the accuracy of this estimate could be called into question, a quick Google search for “sportsbooks” will yield pages and pages of results. There are so many illegal, online gambling platforms that there are websites that exist to track all the different odds so gamblers can find wagers with the highest return.

All these wagers being placed in the United States – including within the state of Alabama – are being placed untaxed. If the state were to legalize the practice of sports gambling and tax the transactions, the state could generate large amounts of revenue for public projects or scholarships.

Since people are gambling despite the current laws in place and the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of sports gambling, it would be beneficial to regulate the process by ensuring fair odds for wagers and creating a new revenue stream for the state. This is true especially if these wagers are being placed anyway.

As a society we can choose to ignore the fact that gambling is occurring, or we can redirect the efforts of the practice towards a good cause. Therefore, the practice of sports gambling should be legalized in the state of Alabama.

 

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Alabama should legalize sports gambling