The image of gambling as a mainstream hobby in the United States is one that for a long time was largely been limited to one specific area: Las Vegas. The freewheeling culture there is evident in marketing for the town that’s gleefully known as Sin City. While other states and regions have adopted many forms of casino gambling in an effort to enhance state budgets, one forbidden fruit has been in the area of sports gambling.
Las Vegas is the only place in which sports wagers can legally be made. That’s a largely ridiculed approach, since it’s seen as antiquated because of easy access to bookies and other outfits willing to accept wagers. In recent year, state budget crunches and a softening of formerly hard-core opposition from sports leagues has driven more support for changes.
Now, even politicians are looking into adjusting current legislation or pursuing litigation that eliminates the key roadblocks to having sports gambling in all 50 states. Three specific laws currently deal with banning sports gambling completely, whether in person or online, the latter through offshore wagering services.
Sports leagues have already dipped their toes in the water by making deals with daily fantasy sports outlets. That embrace has largely been seen as a revenue enhancer that helps address ever-rising salaries for players.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been the most vocal about accepting sports gambling, with the league taking a part-ownership in one daily fantasy company. Meanwhile, the NFL, which had been rigidly opposed to any connection to any gambling, invested money in a company that deals in sports betting statistics.
In the case of the NFL, the most dramatic change could come within the next year if the Oakland Raiders follow through on their expected plans to move their franchise to Las Vegas.