Gambling In Sports
Gambling has always been a big part of sports events. In fact, some people argue that there has been gambling in sports for much longer than any kind of organized sport has been around; ancient Romans and Chinese are known to have placed heavy wagers on sports events, which often stemmed from military practice.
Today, sports gambling is as widespread as ever, but the practice is looked upon differently depending on where you are in the world. In most countries in Europe, for example, bookmaking is regarded as an honest profession and though it is highly regulated, placing wagers on sports events is extremely popular. In many other countries, however, including North America, gambling on sports events is frowned upon, and when it is legal it is highly regulated- to the point where there is virtually no point, as the bettor stands hardly any hope of winning. This is especially evident in the government-run sports betting programs offered by Canadian provinces.
There are several reasons that governments offer when it comes to the prohibition on sports gambling. Some reasons have to do with the shady history of gambling in sports; there are many well-publicized gambles involving athletes who were said to have thrown games or otherwise engaged in betting on games in which they had a direct influence. Indeed, many people are becoming concerned about the effects of gambling in college sports today, especially with the massive interest in placing wagers on the outcome of the Final Four.
There are several reasons that are officially listed when it comes to the reluctance to embrace gambling in sports. The first reason given is always that gambling cuts against the very idea of sport. In fact, many opponents of situations such as creating legal sports gambling in New York point out that with gambling involved, many athletes are tempted to engage in unsportsmanlike practices in order to profit from the book. This is not an unfounded concern; there is more and more evidence that athletes are particularly susceptible to this temptation, especially when one is talking about gambling in college sports. One recent poll which sought to determine the effects of gambling in college sports found that 75% of student populations as a whole had bet on games at least once in their college careers, with 80% of male students engaging in the practice.
The second reason that is officially stated when opponents of gambling in sports make their case is the same one that is posed against gambling in general; namely, the social ills it can cause. Gambling is known to cause severe addictions with people, and sports gambling is no exception. It is not rare for gamblers to lose their homes as well as their money indulging their habit, and in the process families are broken apart and many gamblers turn to substance abuse to compensate. The accumulated losses create a slippery slope of ills that are a burden on health care and enforcement alike.Despite all of the claims against gambling in sports, however, it is interesting to note that governments at least support the issue at arms length, as the state programs demonstrate. It is possible, though, that these programs are set up merely to compensate government bodies for the massive amounts they lose every year on the illegal gambling that occurs everywhere.