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  • Curtis Da Silva

Gambling brings a new high for sporting spectators

Sports commands a massive audience but what if there was a way to make the games more engaging? That was the purpose behind sports betting initially but what this side game has become is much greater. With the legalization of sports betting in some states, many sportsbooks have found ways to get even more people hooked. Advertisements for sportsbooks are everywhere, drawing in a large audience. The sports betting industry is proliferating, bringing up a few questions about morality and the future of sports betting.

In February of last year, FanDuel, a popular sports betting book, used tactics to attract many new customers following the legalization of sports betting in Michigan. On the day of this new legalization of sports betting, the popular sports book FanDuel offered new customers a seemingly free bet. They set the line at 159.5 for the Pistons vs Lakers basketball game. Many eager bettors saw this as a chance to earn a profit, it turned out later that FanDuel lost 2 million dollars in handouts to these winning bettors. The idea behind this was to grab the attention of many new bettors. The winning feeling took over, and FanDuel gained almost 47,000 new bettors in a few short days following.

The culture surrounding sports betting has a short yet controversial history. Instances such as that in Michigan show the continuous ways that companies get bettors hooked. It has been shown to be extremely easy to sway bettors as a result of the addictive nature of sports betting. In an article written by the New York Times, the article details the addiction that bettor Saul Malek felt. It can be described by him as “A need for nonstop action”. This need for action has caused many people to fall into tough financial situations while simultaneously being depressed and extremely anxious. Malek explained how he felt physically uncomfortable and sick when he didn’t place a bet on time. With this in mind, we can see the lows of sports betting but what about the highs? The feeling of winning is “unmatched” according to Malek. This sparks decisions to gamble even more and more money, given the feeling that you could win any bet now. This is the case with the sports betting incident in Michigan. Many people won their first bet ever, causing them to sign up for the sports book, and likely they placed many new bets.

Sports betting could be seen as a bright spot for sports, but the addiction and negative effects of it say that adjustments need to be made. The sports betting audience might draw in more fans to a sports game or up the engagement as well. This all is true, but it has created a toxic environment. Sports betting books are going all in to get many new people hooked, with 200 million being spent on advertisements this last year. Keeping this all in mind, we must pay close attention to these traps and make adjustments to encourage responsible gambling. While sports betting does have a toxic culture, it does show bright spots for the future if correct adjustments are made.

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