Sports Betting in America by: Victor H Royer
Today is March 14, 2022, and in America this is called “The Month After.” That’s because this past February 13, 2022, the United States of America witnessed what is perhaps the greatest event in Sports, and Sports Wagering! I am speaking – of course – of The Great British Baking Show. This incredibly thrilling and exciting event has captured the minds and souls – and wallets – of all Americans everywhere, from every walk of life, leading to an incredible and unanticipated unity across all the 50 US States in the Union. Amazing and Enthralling are just a few of the superlatives which have been lovingly spoken with the fervor and excitement of a truly religious experience. So much so that the largest TV audience in the history of American broadcasting all tuned in on TV’s, Social Media, APPs and Streaming Services to jointly immerse themselves in this annual tradition of mutual adoration for what is inescapably the best of all sporting programs offered on American television, ever!
“Hmmm …, what’s that?”
My assistant just came in and read what I had written so far. She seems to be cringing a bit.
“What’s the matter?” I ask in as friendly a tone as I can, and as calmly as I can since I am still sporting a hangover so huge it would kill my horse!
“Well, see … you’ve got it all wrong.”
“What?” I say quietly. Even a feather dropping at this moment sounds like a thousand anvils pounding in my head. And it has so been for a month!
“It’s NOT the Great British Baking Show!”
“It’s not?” I am horrified.
“No, you dum-dum! It’s the Super Bowl! You know – that American thing where they don’t actually kick the ball, but toss it about, but still call it “football.”
I was crushed.
Not the Great British Baking Show? Then what is there left in life? Should I contemplate a quick end to my misery?
“You need to snap out of this,” says my Assistant. “If you’re going to finish this article before deadline, you can’t be thinking about cakes! Think Beer instead!”
Owwww, my aching head.
“Please don’t say ‘beer’,” I whimpered.
“OK, you sloppy saucer,” she said, “get going with the story. Remember: This was the Super Bowl! And forget about the cupcakes!”
Alright. So I’ll do it, I thought this to myself, since she has left now. Maybe she’s not coming back? I looked in the fridge – OK, she’s coming back. The Cupcakes were still there!
Although in my mind it would have been a great deal more exciting to bet on the Great British Baking Show, sadly here in America they insisted on wagering nearly $8 Billion on Super Bowl LVI. That’s Billion dollars, with a “B” as in “Big Bucks”!
This was a staggering increase from the approximately $3 billion wagered by Americans on the previous Super Bowl, in 2021. And this was fuelled, and most definitely made possible, by the explosion of legalized sports wagering across the US States since the US Supreme Court overruled the much-hated PASPA – the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act – in 2018.
Today, 34 US States have legalized Sports Wagering, and almost all of them allow in-home wagering on smartphones and APPs. Additionally, several of these States also allow in-game wagering, meaning that Sports Bettors can now make bets within the game as it is being played, and this, therefore, substantially increases not only the appeal of Sports Wagering, but also the amounts wagered, and, hence, the revenue thus derived.
And these US States are basking in the Billions of Tax Revenue they so collect!
US Taxes on legalized Sports Wagering vary from State-to-State, with the range being from about 15% to about 45% – depending on in which State you are, and what kind of wager you make, and how you make it. In person, in a betting shop, casino, or mobile. The US States of Nevada – the “grandfather” of all Sports Betting – and the US State of New Jersey, whose legal action brought about the overturning of PASPA, lead the pack in all things Sports, and their taxation rates are, therefore, also lower that the other States, which are still mostly playing catch-up.
But the popularity of Sports Betting the USA, and the massive amounts of revenue that this is producing for those States that have already passed the required legislations to permit it, is not lost on the other 26 States in the US Union. Those that still DON’T have Sports Betting.
The next US State to legalize Sports Betting will most likely be California, which is America’s most populous State. This was also the site of Super Bowl LVI, in the newly-constructed $5.5 Billion SoFi Stadium, in Inglewood, California. And the current Democratic Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, is unlikely to stand in the way of legalized Sports Betting in his State. Especially not after the success of this year’s Super Bowl, and even more so after seeing all those wonderful Billions of Tax dollars going to States OTHER THAN his!
The point being, of course, that money talks and BS walks. Cash-strapped US States are literally drooling over the prospects of slicing a piece of this Tax windfall, and they all collectively ignore most of the other stuff that’s been bandied about for decades, about “how bad” gambling is, and “how it will cause addiction to gambling” and so forth – all that other nonsense that a bunch of ineffectiveself-appointed do-gooders always spout about when it’s not them who gets the money.
After two years of Pandemic shutdowns and hundreds of billions of dollars lost worldwide, not only are all the people sick of this crap, but so are – finally – all the politicians as well. Especially because it’s the mid-term election year here in the USA, and politicians are beginning to realized that We The People isn’t just a slogan on an old musty piece of paper from history, but that it’s actually something that CAN cost them re-election if they continue with the stupidity that’s caused the vast majority of all the pandemic unrest here in America.
And so, in closing, Super Bowl LVI proved that Sports Wagering is here to stay, and will most certainly expand exponentially here in America for the foreseeable future.
And, by the way, even though the LA Rams Football Team actually won the Trophy, the Cincinnati Bengals won the wagering. That’s because the Rams didn’t cover the spread, which is the first time this has happened since 2009. Going into Super Bowl LVI the Rams were 4.5 points favorite, which dropped to 4 points by game time. But they won by only 3 points, which means the Bengals covered the spread, and so all that money that was wagered on the Bengals came home as WINS!
And these are in the Millions, especially for the few gamblers who bet $5 million and more on the Bengals.
So, while the game was a great success, the Sports Books probably took a bath! Which, of course, some people would say is welcome news, because many of their lines have – recently – been, shall we say, stinkers?
Best of Luck!
Las Vegas, March 2022
*** This feature was originally published in Sports Betting Operator March 2022 ***