Op-Ed: Legalized Gambling is a New Virus Within Sports


Photo: Baltimore Sun

Jama Joseph, Contributing Writer

The return of sports has normalized daily life during a time of uncertainty. While things have not completely gone back to normal, corners of life have adapted to a new quarantine lifestyle. 

The return of sports, a controversial topic at first, resulted in sporting organizations deciding the show must go on. 

This decision had lasting effects, with the return of sports during quarantine the rise of online sports betting expedited. Legalized gambling is a new virus within sports.  

The betting industry was already growing before quarantine at a rapid rate By 2024, some experts predicted global online gambling bets would hit nearly $95 billion. With COVID the gambling market is expected to grow from  $58.9 billion industry in 2019 and to $66.7 billion in 2020 at a growth rate of 13.2%. 

People confined to their homes are the target as they look at alternative forms of remote entertainment. The return of sports exemplifies the increase of growth in the industry. Influential sponsors such as Michael Jordan and media company Barstool have made splashing investments in the gambling industry within the last month. 

A source who wished to remain anonymous, talked about the new way industries are targeting the individual, along with their struggles and effects of gambling on them.

“Usually these websites are offered to you like pop ups on the internet or usually bookies use word to mouth as a way to attract bettors,” the source said. “I have been down a lot, mentally. It took a toll on me. It affected other areas of my life.” 

Some studies show online gambling leads to higher anxiety and depression. In New York online gambling is illegal, but the internet has made online gambling accessible through illegal sites. 

Gambling is growing especially among young college students during these times. Sports bring people together and usually is used a form of expression. Anxiety and uncertainty are already at an all-time high the rise of online gambling only increases those feelings, while changing the way we view sports. 

Utica College does not permit any betting activities on campus, according to the school policy. 

Public Relations and Journalism Professor Paul MacArthur weighed in on the positives and negatives with online sports gambling.

“Sports gambling increases TV viewership and fan interest,” MacArthur said. “On the other hand, sports betting makes it easier for game fixing. Additionally, gambling addiction is a legitimate concern. We want everyone to enjoy sports in a responsible manner.”