Betting Legality

In the USA it is illegal to operate a scheme except for in a few states. In many European nations bookmaking (the profession of accepting sports wagers) is regulated but not criminalized. The NCAA has threatened to ban all playoff games in Delaware if the state allows betting on college sports.[3] New Jersey, which is also interested, has been similarly threatened.[4] Interestingly for New Jersey, a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll found in April 2009 that 63% of New Jerseyians supported legalizing sports betting in Atlantic city and at horse-racing tracks. However, only 48% of New Jersey voters approved of legalizing betting at off-track betting establishments.[5] A slight majority of New Jersey voters (53%) also disapproved of legalizing sports betting nationally.[6] In March of 2010, a national PublicMind poll found that 39% of Americans would support changing laws so that sports betting would be allowed in all states, whereas 53% reported that they would not support such measures.[7] Converse to national opinion, a February 2011 PublicMind found that 53% of New Jersey voters supported legalizing betting in all states while 34% reported they would not support it.[8] Equally, a majority of New Jersey voters (55%) believed that "lots of people bet anyway, so government should allow it and tax it."[8] Proponents of legalized sports betting generally regard it as a hobby for sports fans that increases their interest in particular sporting events, thus benefiting the leagues, teams and players they bet on through higher attendances and television audiences. Opponents fear that, over and above the general ramifications of gambling, it threatens the integrity of amateur and professional sport, the history of which includes numerous attempts by sports gamblers to fix matches. In the 2009 PublicMind poll, the possibility of corrupting sports was the main concern of New Jersey voters (54%) that opposed legalizing sports betting nationally.[9] Similarly, the 2010 PublicMind national poll found that a majority of Americans shared the views of New Jersey voters in the 2009 poll with 54% of respondents reporting that "legal betting on sports is a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and corrupts sports."[7] On the other hand, proponents counter that legitimate bookmakers will invariably fight corruption just as fiercely as governing bodies and law enforcement do. Most sports bettors are overall losers as the bookmakers odds are fairly efficient. However, there are professional sports bettors[citation needed] that make a good income betting sports, many of which utilize sports information services.
In areas where sports betting is illegal, bettors usually make their sports wagers with illicit bookmakers (known colloquially as "bookies") and on the Internet, where thousands of online bookmakers accept wagers on sporting events around the world. The PublicMind's 2010 national survey found that 67% of Americans did not support the legalization of Internet betting websites in the United States whereas 21% said they would support legalization.[7]

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