The Sports Betting Boom

Kaylee Donnelly, Senior Writer

As so many aspects of life are turning digital, it was only a matter of time before the famous pastime (or famous addiction) of sports betting made its way into the legal books. Prior to 2018, online sports betting was illegal in every state except Nevada, and in person sports betting was banned in many states. Looking at the country now, over 30 states have now legalized online and in person sports betting, with several others in the midst of drafts and rulings. 


The most recent state to legalize sports betting is Kansas. Meanwhile in Georgia, in the current race for governor, representative Stacey Abrams is campaigning for sports betting to be legalized in the state. Some states, like Ohio for example, are legalizing sports betting in convenience stores, grocery stores, and other local businesses. The support for sports gambling seems to be at an all time high, given the popularity of pastimes like fantasy football and the emergence of sports betting apps. 


Interestingly enough, Disney wants to get in on the action. After the Walt Disney company acquired ESPN, they announced their intentions to create an ESPN sports betting app that would allow people to place their bets directly through the network. It’s especially fascinating given Disney’s general G-rated branding, as sports betting has never been associated with family-friendly fun. Disney claims the app will help them retain their younger adult audience.


The question arises, with the increase in legalizing sports betting, is this a good idea? Many states ban sports betting for its addictive qualities and reputation for debauchery. Gambling as a practice has been known to be addictive, to the point where some people suffer severe financial loss on account of lost bets. 


Others have seen the economic opportunities that could arise from sports betting. Local businesses and casinos who have chosen to include sports betting into their business welcome the atmosphere created by the betting industry, as well as the additional consumer base that join because of the ability to bet. Online app developers, and larger companies are taking advantage of the growing popularity of online sports betting. 


For others, it is simply just a pastime. Fantasy football, for instance,  is a way to enjoy sports while earning extra side cash. Widespread legalization for many will mostly likely not be a problem, and could stimulate some cash flow throughout local economies. 


Pennsylvania has legalized sports betting, both in person and online. In terms of the entire country, legalization is spreading, although it does remain fairly legislated. Its popularity is increasing, and with companies as large as Disney looking to capitalize on the practice, it is almost guaranteed to stay for a while. 

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