Gambling and Sports

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Should Sports Gambling Be Legalized?

Gambling is a common practice throughout human history, one that appeals to the individual’s desire for gain and offers the thrill of risk or uncertainty. Sports gambling is the “wagering of money or other items of value on the outcome of a sporting event, dependent either wholly or in part on chance” (Thompson, 2008, p. 1). Sports gambling generates billions of dollars annually, with large events like the Super Bowl or World Series alone able to generate wagers in the billions of dollars. This research will explore the arguments of those who oppose sports gambling and those who support it in order to answer the question: Should sports gambling be legalized? There are many
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According to Thompson (2008), as of 2008 there were over 150 racetracks operating in the U.S., with annual wagers on horse racing totaling more than $16 billion. Dog racing is also legal in a number of states, but it is not as popular or widespread as horse racing. Proponents of sports gambling maintain betting on such events generates lucrative revenues, provides thousands of jobs, and offers sports bettors a means of entertainment and a chance for gain. Despite these arguments, there are a number of sound arguments put forth by those who remain staunchly opposed to legalizing sports gambling in the U.S. One of the biggest reasons opponents of sports gambling are opposed to wagering on sporting events is because of the potential for sports gambling to result in fixed sporting events and ultimately undermining the integrity of professional and amateur sports in the U.S. As Thompson (2008) explains, sports gambling remains illegal and heavily regulated by the government “because of the potential for events to be fixed, or illegally influenced (using bribes or other forms of compensation)” (p. 2). It is not that difficult to see how this might happen, since numerous sports gambling scandals have occurred in the past. The 1919 World Series was fixed by Chicago White Sox players. Pete Rose was banned from baseball and denied admittance to the Baseball Hall of Fame because of his admission to gambling on sporting events while he

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