The National Football League season has not been without its controversy this year, and in the most recent story to hit the headlines, sports betting is the latest issue to be tackled within the game.
It’s now emerged that sports leagues are taking steps to prevent sports betting at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. Attorneys for the leagues filed a complaint to the federal court in October to try and prevent sports betting from going ahead, saying it is “in clear and flagrant violation of federal law to accomplish what it unsuccessfully attempted to do nearly three years ago: sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize gambling on amateur and professional sports at state-licensed casinos and horse racetrack.”
New Jersey is one of the latest and indeed only states to offer online gambling after the practice was legalized in November 2013. With this in mind, and the wave of new technology available in today’s digital age, there is little wonder that sports betting has become so popular in New Jersey and across the board.
The statistics speak for themselves when it comes to online gambling and sports betting: in 2012, $3.45 billion was wagered in Nevada’s sports books, while in 2013, $98.9 million was wagered on the Super Bowl.
So what is the appeal of sports betting that’s drawing people in from far and wide? For one, the improved access to the internet is making placing a bet that much more appealing. While 90 per cent of Americans have a mobile phone, 58 per cent of these have a smartphone – apt for connecting to the internet wirelessly – while 42 per cent have a tablet. With 4G internet on the rise, promising us broadband speeds of up to 52 megabytes per second, the toil of entering a bookmakers to place a bet has been eradicated. What’s more, odds can be updated more regularly, giving bettors more incentive to try their luck.
If technology wasn’t reason enough, targeted marketing is also helping to draw in new players. Online gambling companies are trying their hardest to appeal to new bettors, from enlisting the help of poker champions to putting out sign up offers in order to target new markets.
With all this in mind, is it perhaps time we took away the stigma of sports betting? The advent of online gambling is making it quicker, easier and more user-friendly, and with the stringent parental controls that are in place, it is perhaps time that sports leagues re-thought their strategy.