FOMO May Be Driving Push to Legalize Sports Betting in the US

Man with dollars in fist

30-second summary:

  • 15 US states have pending bills to legalize sports betting
  • Eight states have legalized sports wagering
  • Super Bowl projected to see $6bn (£4.5bn) in bets on Sunday

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is seeing US states pushing bills to legalize sports betting, according to a gaming industry association.

US states rush to legalize sports betting

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), the legalization of sports betting is gathering pace with bills pending in 15 states, reports the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Sara Slane, AGA’s senior vice-president for public affairs and lead sports betting lobbyist, said: “It has certainly moved a lot faster than anyone thought it would.”

According to the report, over half of the pending bills would permit mobile betting, giving bettors an avenue to place a wager when they don’t live near a casino.

However, while momentum seems to be growing with the number of bills being introduced, passing them is not so easy, states Chris Grove, managing director at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

He said: “What kind of sports betting should be authorized and how sports betting should be distributed remain open questions.”

Despite this, he still thinks that around 10 states will pass bills for sports betting this year. The AGA, which is reported to be promoting the legalization of sports betting, indicated that this is what most Americans want. Legalization will also increase tax revenue and reduce the black market.

The gaming industry association projects around $6bn (£4.5bn) will be placed on bets during the Super Bowl, which takes place on February 3. This is reported to be more than what the entire US legal betting industry saw last year.

Change to the law

A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling last May overturned a 1992 ruling that barred the legalization of sports betting. US states soon found themselves in a position where they could legalize sports betting if they wished to.

Unsurprisingly, bills were soon being submitted and passed. Currently, there are eight states where sports wagering is permitted: . These include Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

The US states that are calling or considering legalizing it are Arizona, ColoradoNew York, and Tennessee. Some reports indicate that they are pushing for bills to pass later this year.

Meanwhile, elsewhere…

Yet, while the US seems intent on the legalization of sports betting other nations are putting in measures to curb its influence, particularly among the young and problem gamblers.

For instance, the UK Gambling Commission and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) have come to an agreement that means no gambling advertisements will be shown during live sports events. The so-called whistle to whistle ban was put in place after a significant amount of criticism was vented toward the amount of gambling-related advertising during events.

Back in October, Lord Chadlington, a member of the UK’s Conservative Party, called for the ban. He indicated that viewers were “overwhelmed” by 90 minutes of advertising during the 2018 World Cup.

Australia has also banned gambling ads during sporting events; however, as the report indicates this is only for five minutes before and five minutes after the whistle.