Sports: The Ultimate Gamble

No matter how much we think we know about sports, we truly never know what will happen. A last place team can come from behind and surprise supporters.  A favorite can not live up to their potential and ruin all expectations.  We have many television shows and countless radio programs across the country simply devoted to the discussion and prediction of sports.  In college football, fans are mesmerized by ranking systems that supposedly say who are the best teams in the nation. However, we learn week after week that not always does the best team win.  Sports are the ultimate drama that takes place on the screen. So many factors and variables go in to every second and every outcome of a sporting event.  From weather, to injuries, to timing, to effort, it will always be impossible to perfectly determine outcomes.  Never-the-less, every year we make March Madness brackets thinking we can determine the winners of these games despite the mounting odds.  Odds are developed by Vegas odds makers that determine who has the best and worse chance to win.  Consequentially, just like roulette, gamblers make bets based on these odds in the hope that their prediction comes to fruition.

Gambling on sports out side of Las Vegas however is against the law across America.  Over the years, gambling on sports has caused many problems with the production and validity of sports outcomes.  It is obvious that with money riding on the outcome of the game, it will always be possible that players will effect their play in response to the opportunity to cash in on their manipulation.  It has been awhile since such problems have been a part of American sports but is that due to the underground outlaw nature of sports gambling in our country?

Oversees, specifically in England, sports betting is with in the mainstream.  Just about on every other block, as common as your everyday coffee shop, there are brick and mortar betting shops where anyone of age can walk in and make bets on there favorite teams.  This industry is heavily taxed and brings in loads of tax dollars for the government. Although is it a coincidence that the latest affair in sports betting and manipulation has taken place within UEFA soccer?

With the recent debate on sports betting in New Jersey and ultimately the passing of the sports betting law, it evident that they could be opening pandora’s box to the problems that come with gambling.  New Jersey houses one NHL team, and an NFL team and is so close to multiple New York teams. The many fans of these teams could be consumed by this new law just as the soccer fans have in Europe. Not only in the form of possible effecting outcomes of the games but possibly consuming the lives of these fans as any other vice can.  Unlike like other forms of gambling, even the odds of sports are unpredictable, therefore mathematically it is likely that one could lose everything from simply betting on who will win a game.

This brings into question the rise of online fantasy sports betting and whether or not this falls into the same category as these other detrimental aspects of sports betting.  Fantasy sports has been a fun and popular new way for fans to follow their favorite sports and compete with friends.  For years betting has been involved with these virtual leagues but  until recently has all been controlled by the participants and private entities.  However, today site like FanDuel has taken this game and the betting involved to a new level.  Fans can invest and hopefully win money through this site over primarily choosing who will play the best each week.

I believe that bring sports betting in the mainstream is terrible for sports and our society as a whole.  Gambling is a very little discussed problem in our country and the problem will only grow with the legalization of the vice.  Sports should and must remain something that we all enjoy solely on out fandom. Once we bring money into being a fan, we are now looking at our teams as investments rather than the untouchable entity that makes being a fan so excited.  Lives and respectability could very easily be destroyed by the expansion of the ability to bet on sports.


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