Sports betting

Last updated

Odds boards in a Las Vegas sportsbook Las Vegas sportsbook.jpg
Odds boards in a Las Vegas sportsbook

Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. The frequency of sports bet upon varies by culture, with the vast majority of bets being placed on association football, American football, basketball, baseball, hockey, track cycling, auto racing, mixed martial arts, and boxing at both the amateur and professional levels. Sports betting can also extend to non-athletic events, such as reality show contests and political elections, and non-human contests such as horse racing, greyhound racing, and illegal, underground cockfighting. It is not uncommon for sports betting websites to offer wagers for entertainment events such as the Grammy Awards, the Oscars, and the Emmy Awards.


Sports bettors place their wagers either legally, through a bookmaker/sportsbook, or illegally through privately run enterprises. The term "book" is a reference to the books used by wage brokers to track wagers, payouts, and debts. Many legal sportsbooks are found online, operated over the Internet from jurisdictions separate from the clients they serve, usually to get around various gambling laws (such as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 in the United States) in select markets, such as Las Vegas, Nevada, or on gambling cruises through self-serve kiosks. They take bets "up-front", meaning the bettor must pay the sportsbook before placing the bet. Illegal bookies, due to the nature of their business, can operate anywhere but only require money from losing bettors and don't require the wagered money up front, creating the possibility of debt to the bookie from the bettor. This creates a number of other criminal elements, thus furthering their illegality.

Sports betting has resulted in a number of scandals in sport, affecting the integrity of sports events through various acts including point shaving (players affecting the score by missing shots), spot-fixing (a player action is fixed), bad calls from officials at key moments, and overall match fixing (the overall result of the event is fixed). Examples include the 1919 World Series, the alleged (and later admitted) illegal gambling of former MLB player Pete Rose, and former NBA referee Tim Donaghy. One of the biggest scandals of all involves the 2002 NBA Championship games. Tim Donaghy was allegedly gambling on the spreads for the games that he refereed. After his trial, Tim Donaghy went on to release a statement to the public saying how one of the most controversial games in NBA history, Game six of the 2002 NBA Western Conference finals, was rigged. [1]

Types of bets

United States

Betting on the Favorite, an 1870 engraving published in Harper's Weekly Betting on the Favorite.jpg
Betting on the Favorite, an 1870 engraving published in Harper's Weekly

For example, before game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals, the Miami Heat were expected to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. The line read: Miami −3.5, Oklahoma City +3.5. [2] To determine who wins against the spread, the line is either added or subtracted from a team's final score.

In the above example, if the bettor chose Miami, he would subtract 4 points from Miami's final score and compare that to Oklahoma City's final score. If taking Oklahoma City, he will add 3 points to Oklahoma City's final score.

For him to win his bet, Miami would have to win the game by 4 points or more.

And if a bettor took Oklahoma City, they would have to win outright or lose by 3 or less points.

If the final adjusted score is a tie, the bet is considered a push. The half point at the end is sometimes added to eliminate the possibility of a push. This is the most common type of bet in American sports betting.

The possible payout of the parlay is determined by the combined likelihood of all bets placed. A parlay of riskier bets (more underdogs) will pay greater than a parlay of more likely bets (more favorites). In a parlay, all bets need to win in order for the parlay to win. If one of the bets on a parlay loses, the whole parlay loses. In the event of a push, the pushed bet would be taken out of the parlay and the parlay would bump down to a set of odds without that bet.

Parlays are very appealing to bettors because they pay out much more than the total winnings of their constituent straight bets. However, it is much more difficult to hit on a parlay than it is on a single wager.

The bettor selects the sport(s), number of games, and number of points given.

If the bettor takes two NBA games at +6.5 it will adjust the individual bets at that rate. So a bet on a 3-point underdog at +3 will become a bet at +9.5 points, and for favorites, it will change a 3-point favorite at −3 to +3.5 points.

Although the rules to win his bet are the same as a parlay, he is paid less than a regular parlay due to the increased odds of winning.

A sportsbook may choose to buy in-play futures wagers at a price below the actual payout before a championship is decided if the potential payout is very high (and thus, damaging to the sportsbook due to the money that may be lost). The most recent example of this was when Leicester City pursued and went on to win the 2015/16 Premier League. [3]

  • Cash Out. Cash Out betting functionality lets the user of a betting website take profit early if their bet is coming in, or get some of their stake back if their bet is going against them—all before the event is over. Cash Out offers are optionally made by the website in real time on some of the current bets held by the user and are optionally taken by the user by clicking on a button on the webpage to "Cash out". Cash Out sports betting functionality developed on digital betting websites after 2008 with the evolution of betting exchanges. It was later adopted by online sports books and suppliers of betting software. 'Cash out' is offered to users by online sportsbook operators based on the profitability of offering the option to the user to divest their existing bet on an outcome and is sometimes available on singles and multiples. It is regularly offered on a wide range of sports, including American football, tennis, horse racing, basketball, and most other markets. You can Cash Out of bets pre-play, in-play, and between legs, prior to the outcome of the event. It has proved a key customer retention tool for sports book operators looking to capitalize on the use of mobile handsets while the bettor/user is also watching a given event. [4]
  • Edit My Acca. This feature allows gamblers to remove selections from their accumulator after the bet has been placed and in some instances after the selected event has started. The betting slip is then revised to feature the amended selections and a new potential return amount. This can be done online or via a mobile device. [4]
  • Edit My Bet. The ‘edit bet’ feature can be used by gamblers to ‘unsettle straight accumulators’ before matches have started or whilst they are in-play. The feature can also be used for to swap single bets for new bets, and the gambler is given a new bet selection valued at the bookie's cash out price to reflect live market/game odds for the original bet. [4]


The bookmaker functions as a market maker for sports wagers, most of which have a binary outcome: a team either wins or loses. The bookmaker accepts both wagers, and maintains a spread (the vigorish) which will ensure a profit regardless of the outcome of the wager. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 was an attempt by the US government to prevent illegal bookmaking. [5] However, this Act does not apply to other types of online gambling. [6] The Supreme Court has not ruled on the meaning of the Federal Wire Act as it pertains to online gambling.

Bookmakers usually hold an 11–10 advantage over their customers—for small wagers it is closer to a 6–5 advantage—so the bookmaker will most likely survive over the long term. Successful bookmakers must be able to withstand a large short term loss. (Boyd, 1981)

Many of the leading gambling bookmakers from the 1930s to the 1960s got their start during the prohibition era of the 1920s. They were often descendants of the influx of immigrants coming into the USA at this time. Although the common stereotype is that these bookies were of Italian descent, many leading bookies were of eastern European ancestry. [7]


Odds for different outcomes in single bet are presented either in European format (decimal odds), UK format (fractional odds), or American format (moneyline odds). European format (decimal odds) are used in continental Europe, Canada, and Australia. They are the ratio of the full payout to the stake, in a decimal format. Decimal odds of 2.00 are an even bet. UK format (fractional odds) are used by British bookmakers. They are the ratio of the amount won to the stake – the solidus "/" is pronounced "to" for example 7/1 "seven to one". Fractional odds of 1/1 are an even bet. US format odds are the amount won on a 100 stake when positive and the stake needed to win 100 when negative. US odds of 100 are an even bet.

DecimalFractionalUSHong KongIndoMalayImplied probability
1.501/2−2000.50−2.000.501 in 1.5 = 67%
2.00Evs (1/1)+1001.001.001.001 in 2 = 50%
2.506/4+1501.501.50−0.671 in 2.5 = 40%
3.002/1+2002.002.00−0.501 in 3 = 33%
Conversion formulas
xToDo this
DecimalFractionalx-1, then convert to fraction
DecimalUS100*(x-1) if x>2; -100/(x-1) if x<2
FractionalDecimaldivide fraction, then x+1
FractionalUSdivide fraction, then 100*x if x>=1; -100/x if x<1
USDecimal(x/100)+1 if x>0; (−100/x)+1 if x<0
USFractionalx/100, if x>0; -100/x, if x<0
DecimalHong Kongx-1
Hong KongIndox if x>=1; (1/x)*-1 if x<1
Hong KongMalayx if x<=1; (1/x)*-1 if x>1

In Asian betting markets, other frequently used formats for expressing odds include Hong Kong, Malaysian, and Indonesian-style odds formats. Odds are also quite often expressed in terms of implied probability, which corresponds to the probability with which the event in question would need to occur for the bet to be a break-even proposition (on the average).

Many online tools also exist for automated conversion between these odds formats.

In setting odds, the bookmaker is subject to a number of limitations: [8]


Sportsbook at Wynn Las Vegas, during Super Bowl XLII, February 2008 Wynn Sportsbook.JPG
Sportsbook at Wynn Las Vegas, during Super Bowl XLII, February 2008

In many countries, bookmaking (the profession of accepting sports wagers) is regulated but not criminalized.

In areas where sports betting is illegal, bettors usually make their sports wagers with illicit bookmakers (known colloquially as "bookies") and on the Internet, where thousands of online bookmakers accept wagers on sporting events around the world.

The National Football League is fully against any sort of legalization of sports betting, strongly protesting it as to not bring corruption into the game. On the other hand, the CEO of the International Cricket Council believe sports betting, in particular in India, should be legalized to curb illegal bookies where match fixing has occurred from nontransparent bookmakers. Many of the illegal proceeds also allegedly go to fund terror, drugs and other illegal activities.[ citation needed ]

United States

1970s–2018: Prohibition on sports betting

In the United States, it was previously illegal under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) for states to authorize legal sports betting, hence making it effectively illegal. The states of Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon—which had pre-existing sports lotteries and sports betting frameworks, were grandfathered in and exempted from the effects of the Act. [9] [10]

The PublicMind's 2010 national survey found that 67% of Americans did not support the legalization of Internet betting websites in the United States whereas 21% said they would support legalization. [11]

In a national poll released in December 2011, Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind asked voters whether they “support or oppose changing the federal law to allow sports betting” in their respective states. Just as many voters approved (42%) as opposed (42%) allowing sports betting. However, voters who already live in households where family members (including themselves) engage in sports betting had a strongly favored legalization of sports betting (71%–23%), while voters in households where sports betting is not an activity, opposed legalization (46%–36%). Peter J. Woolley, professor of political science and director of the poll commented on the findings, “Gambling has become, for good or ill, a national industry, and you can bet that politicians and casinos all over the country are closely following New Jersey’s plans.” [12]

In a different study released by FDU's PublicMind in October 2011, results showed that New Jersey voters thought legalizing sports betting in New Jersey was a good idea. Half of New Jersey voters (52%) said that they approved the idea of legalizing sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and racetracks, 31% opposed it. In addition, there was a significant gender split: a majority of men approved of the idea by a wide margin (65–21), while only 39% of women approved and 41% opposed. [13] The October results were stable, reflecting an earlier poll in April 2011 where New Jersey voters approved the legalization of sports betting in the state by a margin of 53%–30%. However, nearly two-thirds (66%) of voters were not aware of the upcoming statewide referendum on the issue. Age proved to be a divide: voters between the ages 18 and 34 were more likely to approve of sports betting than were older voters. Dr. Woolley commented: "But... younger voters... are far less likely to vote than other voters... As always, a lot depends on who actually shows up to vote." [14]

In February 2011, FDU's PublicMind released a poll which showed that half (55%) of voters agreed "that people bet on sports games anyway, so government should allow it and tax it." On the other hand, approximately (37%) of New Jersey voters concurred that betting on sports is "a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and can corrupt sports." Again, by a significant margin (70%–26%), voters who already engage in sports betting in office pools tend to be more supportive of legal sports betting than other voters. [15]

Donald Hoover, FDU professor in International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and former casino executive commented on the results, "Betting on sports is not an uncommon practice for many New Jerseyans, but for the most part, the state doesn't supervise it, doesn't tax it and doesn't take any revenue from it." [16] In 2010 a national poll showed that voters opposed sports betting in all states by a margin of 53–39. Woolley commented on the results, "If some states allow sports betting and profit by it, other states will want to follow." [17] Yet by December 2011, after New Jersey passed its sports betting referendum, the national measure shifted to 42–42. [12] In January 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation allowing sports betting in the state after it was approved in a nonbinding voter referendum in 2011. He announced on May 24, 2012 that he planned to go ahead and set up a system of wagering at the state's racetracks and casinos that fall, before the National Football League season ended. [18]

In 2012, despite federal law preventions, the state legislature of New Jersey and Governor Chris Christie signed a law that would allow sports betting to take place in New Jersey race tracks and Atlantic City casinos. [19] In August 2012, Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind conducted a study on the issue. Voters were asked whether New Jersey should allow sports betting even if federal law prevents it from doing so, or wait to allow sports betting until federal law permits it. Results showed that nearly half (45%) of voters wanted to allow sports betting, while (38%) decided to wait and allow sports betting once Congress allows it. Krista Jenkins, director of the poll, commented, "Although support is not overwhelming, these numbers suggest the public is cautiously behind the goal of moving forward with legalized sports betting." [20]

In November 2014, a poll found that there had been a major shift in attitudes towards sports betting in the United States, showing that 55% of Americans now favored legal sports betting, while 66% of respondents agreed that this should be regulated by state laws, as opposed to federal legislation. [21] The poll also suggested that 33% of respondents disagreed with the notion of legalization.

In June 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it would hear New Jersey's case, Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association , in the fall of 2017, contradicting the position of the US Acting Solicitor General, Jeffrey Wall, who asked that the case not be heard in May 2017. [22] In September 2017, a poll conducted by the Washington Post and the University of Massachusetts Lowell shows 55% majority of adults in the U.S. approve of legalizing betting on pro sporting events. [23] Gambling popularity is not showing any signs of slowing down either. More than $20 billion has been bet with U.S. sportsbooks since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 on May 14, 2018. Purdum, D. (2020, May 14). Sports betting's growth in U.S. 'extraordinary'. Retrieved September 25, 2020, from

2018–present: States legalize sports betting

Map of sports betting legality as of December 1, 2019

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Sports betting legal
Sports betting illegal Sports betting legality in the US.svg
Map of sports betting legality as of December 1,2019
  Sports betting legal
  Sports betting illegal
StateSports betting legalizedNotes
Flag of Alabama.svg  Alabama
Flag of Alaska.svg  Alaska
Flag of Arizona.svg  Arizona
Flag of Arkansas.svg  Arkansas Green check.svgNovember 2018; effective July 1, 2019 [24]
Flag of California.svg  California
Flag of Colorado.svg  Colorado Green check.svgNovember 5, 2019; effective May 2020 [25]
Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut
Flag of Delaware.svg  Delaware Green check.svgOffered parlay betting and championship futures on NFL prior to PASPA being struck down; expanded on June 5, 2018 [26] [27]
Flag of Florida.svg  Florida
Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg  Georgia
Flag of Hawaii.svg  Hawaii
Flag of Idaho.svg  Idaho
Flag of Illinois.svg  Illinois Green check.svgJune 2, 2019; not implemented yet [25]
Flag of Indiana.svg  Indiana Green check.svgMay 2019; effective September 1, 2019 [28]
Flag of Iowa.svg  Iowa Green check.svgMay 2019; effective August 15, 2019 [29]
Flag of Kansas.svg  Kansas
Flag of Kentucky.svg  Kentucky
Flag of Louisiana.svg  Louisiana
Flag of Maine.svg  Maine
Flag of Maryland.svg  Maryland
Flag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts
Flag of Michigan.svg  Michigan Green check.svgDecember 2019; in-person sports betting allowed starting March 2020; online and mobile betting allowed starting January 22, 2021 [30]
Flag of Minnesota.svg  Minnesota
Flag of Mississippi.svg  Mississippi Green check.svgAugust 1, 2018; mobile betting not allowed [31]
Flag of Missouri.svg  Missouri
Flag of Montana.svg  Montana Green check.svgMay 3, 2019; not implemented yet [32]
Flag of Nebraska.svg  Nebraska
Flag of Nevada.svg  Nevada Green check.svgLegalized in 1949 (prior to PASPA) [9]
Flag of New Hampshire.svg  New Hampshire Green check.svgJuly 2019 [33] [34]
Flag of New Jersey.svg  New Jersey Green check.svgJune 14, 2018 [35]
Flag of New Mexico.svg  New Mexico Green check.svgOctober 16, 2018[ citation needed ]
Flag of New York.svg  New York Green check.svgJuly 17, 2019 [24]
Flag of North Carolina.svg  North Carolina Green check.svgJuly 26, 2019; tribal casinos only; mobile betting not allowed; not implemented yet [24]
Flag of North Dakota.svg  North Dakota
Flag of Ohio.svg  Ohio
Flag of Oklahoma.svg  Oklahoma
Flag of Oregon.svg  Oregon Green check.svgLegal prior to PASPA but limited; expanded on August 27, 2019 [24]
Flag of Pennsylvania.svg  Pennsylvania Green check.svgNovember 16, 2018 [36]
Flag of Rhode Island.svg  Rhode Island Green check.svgNovember 26, 2018 [37]
Flag of South Carolina.svg  South Carolina
Flag of South Dakota.svg  South Dakota Green check.svgLimited to the city of Deadwood; allowed constitutionally as of November 3, 2020, not yet authorized by law [38]
Flag of Tennessee.svg  Tennessee Green check.svgApril 30, 2019; not effective yet; allows only online betting [39]
Flag of Texas.svg  Texas
Flag of Utah.svg  Utah
Flag of Vermont.svg  Vermont
Flag of Virginia.svg  Virginia Green check.svgJuly 1, 2020 [40]
Flag of Washington.svg  Washington
Flag of West Virginia.svg  West Virginia Green check.svgAugust 30, 2018 [41]
Flag of Wisconsin.svg  Wisconsin
Flag of Wyoming.svg  Wyoming
Territory and DCSports betting legalizedNotes
Flag of American Samoa.svg  American Samoa
Flag of Washington, D.C..svg  District of Columbia Green check.svgMay 2019; not implemented yet [42]
Flag of Guam.svg  Guam
Flag of the Northern Mariana Islands.svg  Northern Mariana Islands
Flag of Puerto Rico.svg  Puerto Rico
Flag of the United States Virgin Islands.svg  US Virgin Islands

In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in the PASPA case in favor of New Jersey, ruling that the 1992 federal ban on sports betting in most states violated their rights. [43] After the ruling, several states, including New Jersey [44] and Rhode Island, [45] prepared to legalize sports betting. [46]

On June 5, 2018, Delaware became the second state after Nevada to implement full-scale sports betting. Sports betting in the state is run by the Delaware Lottery and is available at the state's three casinos. Prior to 2018, the state offered limited sports betting consisting of parlay betting and championship futures on NFL. Delaware had been granted a partial exemption from the sports betting ban as it had made a failed attempt at legalized sports betting in 1976. [26] [27] [47]

On June 11, 2018, New Jersey became the third state to legalize sports betting, after Nevada and Delaware, with Gov. Phil Murphy signing the legislation into law. [44] [46] Sports betting in New Jersey began when a sportsbook opened at Monmouth Park Racetrack on June 14, 2018. [35] Following this, sportsbooks opened at the casinos in Atlantic City and at Meadowlands Racetrack. [48] [49] Online sports betting is also legal in New Jersey.

Several additional states such as Louisiana, Connecticut, Mississippi, [50] Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, California, South Carolina, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Ohio, New York, and West Virginia, [51] began drafting bills to legalize sports betting soon after New Jersey and Delaware. Pennsylvania, [52] Rhode Island, [53] and West Virginia were able to pass legislation legalizing sports betting within their states. [54]

Some states must still organize which department will oversee state-regulated sportsbooks, most are choosing between their respective gambling commissions or lottery boards – until then no wagers can be legally taken.

Mississippi became the fourth state in the United States to launch sports betting operations on August 1, 2018 when Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica Resorts and Beau Rivage in Biloxi started taking wagers. [31] On August 30, 2018, West Virginia became the fifth state to launch sports betting, with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races the first casino to offer sports betting. [41] New Mexico became the sixth state to offer sports betting on October 16, 2018 with the launch of sports betting at the Santa Ana Star Casino in Bernalillo. [55]

Sportsbook at Parx Casino in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania Parx Casino Sportsbook on NFL Sunday.jpeg
Sportsbook at Parx Casino in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania approved a sports betting law in October 2017, prior to PASPA being turned down. Pennsylvania became the seventh state to legalize sports betting when the state had regulations for sports betting in place in August 2018. [36] The state approved the first sports betting licenses for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course and Parx Casino on October 3, 2018. [56] On November 15, 2018, sports betting began at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course with a two-day test; official sports betting began on November 17, 2018. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course became the first casino in Pennsylvania to offer sports betting. [57] [58] Several other casinos would follow in launching sports betting. Online sports betting in Pennsylvania began on May 28, 2019 when SugarHouse Casino launched an online sports betting app. [59] Other casinos have followed in offering online sports betting.

On November 21, 2018, Rhode Island became the eighth state to legalize sports betting, with Twin River Casino in Lincoln opening the first sportsbook in the state. [37]

In 2019, several states, including Indiana, Iowa, Montana, and Tennessee, legalized sports betting. Indiana and Montana permit brick-and-mortar locations such as casinos but Tennessee restricts sports betting to being online only. [60] [28] [32] [39]

Positions of American professional sports leagues

The positions of the four major American sports leagues (representing American football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey) have become more complex since their decision to embrace daily fantasy sports (DFS) in 2014, which are described by those within the industry as "almost identical to a casino" in nature. With the contention by critics that such activities blur the lines between gambling and fantasy sports, the endorsement of all four major sports leagues and many individual franchises provided a marked contrast to their positions on betting. [61]

While the National Basketball Association (NBA) was once active in preventing sports betting law relaxation, current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver became the first major sports leader to break from previous administrative opposition to gambling. In 2014 he stated in a New York Times op-ed, "I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated." [62] In 2017, with support for legalization growing, he confirmed his belief that "legalized sports betting is inevitable". [63]

Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred has also advocated the league changing its stance on sports betting, with both Manfred and Silver noting that the scale of illegal sports betting makes opposition to betting meaningless. He also stated a willingness to "try to shape" any future legislation at federal level. This was noted as a marked contrast to former Commissioner of the MLB Bud Selig, with Manfred going beyond tacit approval and stating, "There is this buzz out there in terms of people feeling that there may be an opportunity here for additional legalized sports betting." [64]

The National Football League (NFL) remains the only sports league to maintain public opposition to sports betting, however critics have noted that with the move of the Oakland Raiders relocation to Las Vegas in 2019, the NFL has positioned itself for legalization, while simultaneously contradicting its long-held position that sports betting in NFL markets would lead to potential match-fixing. [65] Commissioner Roger Goodell agreed with Manfred in a July 2017 seminar that betting on in-game events, as opposed to the outcome of games, was a more palatable form of sports betting. [66]

The National Hockey League (NHL) has not stated a public position for or against sports betting, with Commissioner Gary Bettman noting that they are smaller than the NBA and NFL and less vulnerable to negative issues as a result. The NHL was the first major professional league to place a team in Nevada, when the expansion Vegas Golden Knights took the ice in 2017: since then the league has signed sponsorship agreements with William Hill and MGM Resorts International that include betting partnerships and access to in-play data. Other clubs in states with legal sports gambling, such as the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers, also have similar sponsorships with bookmakers.

Major League Soccer (MLS) the top soccer league in the United States and Canada has expressed sports betting as a possible way to gain popularity. Commissioner Don Garber has stated about sports gambling, " We have a project going on now to really dig in deeply and understand it. I’ll join the chorus of saying it’s time to bring it out of the dark ages. We’re doing what we can to figure out how to manage that effectively." [67]

The Alliance of American Football and XFL have both publicly endorsed gambling on their games, with the AAF securing a partnership with MGM Resorts International [68] and the XFL partnering with DraftKings. [69]

The American Gaming Association stated in June 2017, that a coalition will advocate for the repeal of the United States' sports betting ban. [70]

In February 2018, a lobbying document surfaced advocating a new position held by the NBA and MLB – that sports leagues should be financially compensated for betting activity. [71]

Positions of other sports leagues and governing bodies

English football

Premier League kit of West Ham United sponsorship by Betway Joey O'Brien West Ham Vs Birkirkara (19319060114).jpg
Premier League kit of West Ham United sponsorship by Betway

The Football Association, the governing body for association football in England, has imposed football betting bans on all individuals involved in the sport—players, managers, match officials, and club staff. The scope of these bans varies based on level of the English football pyramid. [72] [73]

The following individuals are banned from betting on any football-related matter worldwide, or providing inside information to any individual who can reasonably be assumed to use said information for betting purposes:

Individuals who are associated at clubs at lower levels of the men's or women's league systems, plus match officials at FA Level 4 or below, are only banned with respect to the match or competition in which they are involved or can influence, and also to the league in which they participate.

All individuals are banned from advertising or promoting any football betting activity in which FA regulations prohibit them from engaging. This, however, only applies to individuals in their personal capacities. For example, if a club is sponsored by a betting company and said company places its logo on the club's kit, the team's players are not in violation of the betting rules.

International baseball and softball

The World Baseball Softball Confederation, the international governing body for baseball and softball, has betting rules similar to those of Major League Baseball. Participants in any WBSC-sanctioned event are banned from betting on the following: [74]

The WBSC statutes define "participant" as any player, team staff member (including coaches/managers), tournament official (such as umpires and official scorers), or anyone in an ownership, executive, or staff role within any entity that organizes or promotes a WBSC-sanctioned event.

The betting ban, as in the case of The FA's rules outlined above, also extends to providing inside information that the tipper could reasonably believe will be used to bet on a WBSC event.


The International Cricket Council imposes a blanket ban on what it calls "corrupt conduct" by anyone it defines as a "participant". [75]

Under the ICC anti-corruption statutes, a "participant" is defined as:

The ICC shares anti-corruption jurisdiction with national cricket federations, all of which have anti-corruption rules substantially identical to those of the ICC. The ICC has elaborate mechanisms for determining whether it or a national federation will take action under the relevant anti-corruption code. In general, the ICC has either exclusive or priority jurisdiction over international matches, while national federations have responsibility for actions relating only to domestic matches.

The ICC code bans the following activities with regard to any international match, whether or not the participant had any involvement in said match, or any possible means of influencing the outcome:

Famous betting scandals

Joseph J. "Sport" Sullivan was an American bookmaker and gambler from Boston, Massachusetts who helped to initiate the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. Sport 4799375876 ee9342fc6b o.jpg
Joseph J. "Sport" Sullivan was an American bookmaker and gambler from Boston, Massachusetts who helped to initiate the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

In 1919, the Chicago White Sox faced the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. This series would go down as one of the biggest sports scandals of all time. As the story goes, professional gambler Joseph Sullivan paid eight members of the White Sox (Oscar Felsch, Arnold Gandil, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Fred McMullin, Charles Risberg, George Weaver, and Claude Williams) around 10,000 dollars each to fix the World Series. All eight players were banned from playing professional baseball for the rest of their lives. [76] Pete Rose, the all-time MLB leader in hits, was similarly banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on games while he was an MLB manager.

The rule against gambling in baseball is known as "Rule 21," which is publicly posted on dugout walls and states: "Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever on any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible." People permanently banned from Major League Baseball are also forever banned from entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, although most such people have been reinstated a few years later by a later Commissioner of Baseball. For instance, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were both banned from baseball in 1983 after taking jobs as casino greeters (which would have expelled them from the Hall of Fame had it been allowed to stand); they were reinstated two years later. Only Rose has yet to be reinstated.

A 1906 betting scandal between the Massillon Tigers and Canton Bulldogs, two of the top teams in professional American football in the early 1900s, led to the demise of "big-money" professional football for several years. Modern research has suggested that the claims of betting were unsubstantiated.

On December 7, 1980 the San Francisco 49ers overcame a halftime deficit of 28 points in what became the greatest regular season comeback victory in NFL regular season history. By the beginning of the third quarter, notorious Vegas bookmaker Frank Rosenthal received forfeiture notices from 246 San Francisco bettors totaling more than $25,000 in premature winnings. Rosenthal was able to retain these winnings despite the final outcome of the game due to gambling regulations previously established by the NAGRA.[ citation needed ]

The Cronje Affair was an India-South Africa Cricket match fixing scandal that went public in 2000[ citation needed ]t began in 1996 when the-then captain of the South African national cricket team, Hansie Cronje, was convinced by Mukesh "John" Gupta, an Indian bookmaker, to throw a match during a Test in Kanpur, India. The scheme was discovered when Delhi police recorded illegal dealings between Indian bookmaker Sanjay Chawla and Cronje. According to the Telegraph in 2010, Cronje was paid off a total of £65,000 from Gupta. [77]

Corruption in tennis has been long considered as issue. [78] In 2011, the former world No. 55 Austrian tennis player, Daniel Koellerer, became the first tennis player to be banned for life for attempting to fix matches. The violations were outstanding between October 2009 and July 2010 after The Tennis Integrity Units had launched an investigation on behalf of the International Tennis Federation and the ATP and WTA tours. In 2004 and 2006, Koellerer was banned for six months due to his bad behavior. In addition, in August 2010, he facilitated betting by placing odds for matches and had links for placing bets. [79]

Machine learning in sports betting

Machine learning models can make predictions in real time based on data from numerous disparate sources, such as player performance, weather, fan sentiment, etc. Some models have shown accuracy slightly higher than domain experts. [80] These models require a large amount of data that is comparable and well organized prior to analysis, which makes them particularly well suited to predicting the outcome of Esports matches, where large amounts of well structured data is available.[ citation needed ]

See also


  1. In the context of cricket, a "national" federation includes governing bodies whose remit covers multiple territories, with the most notable examples being the England and Wales Cricket Board and the West Indies Cricket Board.

Related Research Articles

Gambling Wagering of money on a game of chance or event with an uncertain outcome

Gambling is the wagering of money or something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, with the primary intent of winning money or material goods. Gambling thus requires three elements to be present: consideration, risk (chance), and a prize. The outcome of the wager is often immediate, such as a single roll of dice, a spin of a roulette wheel, or a horse crossing the finish line, but longer time frames are also common, allowing wagers on the outcome of a future sports contest or even an entire sports season.

Spread betting is any of various types of wagering on the outcome of an event where the pay-off is based on the accuracy of the wager, rather than a simple "win or lose" outcome, such as fixed-odds betting or parimutuel betting.

Fixed-odds betting is a form of wagering against odds offered by a bookmaker or an individual or on a bet exchange. It involves betting on an event in which there is no fluctuation on the payout. In Australia, the practice is usually known as "SP betting".

Bookmaker Organization or person that takes bets on sporting events

A bookmaker, bookie, or turf accountant is an organization or a person that accepts and pays off bets on sporting and other events at agreed-upon odds.

Odds provide a measure of the likelihood of a particular outcome. They are calculated as the ratio of the number of events that produce that outcome to the number that do not. Odds are commonly used in gambling and statistics.

Vigorish is the fee charged by a bookmaker for accepting a gambler's wager. In American English it can also refer to the interest owed a loanshark in consideration for credit. The term came to English usage via Yiddish slang, which was itself a loanword from Ukrainian or Russian.

Sport Select is a group of sports betting games offered by Canada's provincial governments. In Quebec, the program is known as Pari sportif; in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, it is known as Pro-Line while in British Columbia, it is known as Sports Action. However, the rules for the games are similar in all provinces. Initially created to offer betting primarily on the North American major professional sports leagues, Sport Select has expanded to offer betting on competitions such as the English Premier League and college sports.

An over–under or over/under (O/U) bet is a wager in which a sportsbook will predict a number for a statistic in a given game, and bettors wager that the actual number in the game will be either higher or lower than that number. For example, in Super Bowl XXXIX, most Las Vegas casinos set the over–under for the score of the game at 46.0. A bettor could wager that the combined score of the two teams would be either more than or less than that number. Since the combined score of that game was 45, anyone who had bet on "under" won.

Sportsbook Sports gambling establishment

In the United States a sportsbook or a race and sports book is a place where a gambler can wager on various sports competitions, including golf, football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, horse racing, greyhound racing, boxing, and mixed martial arts. The method of betting varies with the sport and the type of game. In the US, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 only allowed Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware to legally wager on sports ; the law was ruled unconstitutional on May 14, 2018, freeing the states to legalize sports betting at their discretion.

A teaser is a type of gambling bet that allows the bettor to combine his bets on two different games. The bettor can adjust the point spreads for the two games, but realizes a lower return on the bets in the event of a win.

Asian handicap betting is a form of betting on football in which teams are handicapped according to their form so that a stronger team must win by more goals for a punter betting on them to win. The system originated in Indonesia and has gained popularity in the early 21st century. It is a form of spread betting. Handicaps typically range from one-quarter goal to several goals, in increments of half- or even quarter-goals.

A parlay, accumulator, combo bet or multi is a single bet that links together two or more individual wagers and is dependent on all of those wagers winning together. The benefit of the parlay is that there are much higher payoffs than placing each individual bet separately, since the difficulty of hitting all of them is much higher. If any of the bets in the parlay lose, the entire parlay loses. If any of the plays in the parlay ties, or "pushes", the parlay reverts to a lower number of teams with the odds reducing accordingly.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 U.S. law mostly banning sports gambling

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, also known as PASPA or the Bradley Act, is a judicially-overturned law that was meant to define the legal status of sports betting throughout the United States. This act effectively outlawed sports betting nationwide, excluding a few states.

Delaware Lottery

The Delaware Lottery is run by the government of Delaware. Its creation was authorized by the state legislature on May 31, 1974. Its "traditional" games include Play 3, Play 4, Multi-Win Lotto, Lucky For Life, Lotto America, Mega Millions, and Powerball. Delaware also offers Keno, sports betting, and video lottery.

Advantage gambling, or advantage play, refers to legal methods, in contrast to cheating in casinos, used to gain an advantage while gambling. The term usually refers to house-banked games, but can also refer to games played against other players, such as poker. Someone who practises advantage gambling is often referred to as an advantage player, or AP. Unlike cheating, which is by definition illegal, advantage play exploits innate characteristics of a particular game to give the player an advantage relative to the house or other players. While not illegal, advantage play is often discouraged and some advantage players may be banned by certain casinos.

Sport industry is an industry in which people, activities, business, and organizations are involved in producing, facilitating, promoting, or organizing any activity, experience, or business enterprise focused on sports. It is the market in which the businesses or products offered to its buyers are sports related and may be goods, services, people, places, or ideas. is a privately held online gambling company offering sports betting, casino games, and horse racing. As of October 2020, BetUS is an A rated sportsbook at

A progressive parlay is a joint wager on multiple events, for example team sports or horse races. Generally a progressive parlay involves a joint wager on four to twelve separate events. Should all the selected bets win, the bettor receives a relatively large payout, because of the sizable odds against this happening. However, unlike a regular parlay, if some of the individual bets lose, but most win, the bettor still wins, although with a much smaller payout. Several sites use a schedule where the bettor can lose one bet on a 4-6 event progressive parlay, can lose up to two bets on a 7-9 event progressive parlay, and up to three bets on a 10-12 event progressive parlay.

Gambling in New Jersey

Gambling in New Jersey includes casino gambling in Atlantic City, the New Jersey Lottery, horse racing, off-track betting, charity gambling, amusement games, and social gambling. New Jersey's gambling laws are among the least restrictive in the United States. In 2013, the state began to allow in-state online gambling. Five years later, the state won a lawsuit that dismantled Nevada's monopoly on legal sports betting.

Betting on horse racing

Betting on horse racing or horse betting commonly occurs at many horse races. It started in the UK in the early 1600s during the reign of King James I. Gamblers can stake money on the final placement of the horses taking part in a race. Gambling on horses is, however, prohibited at some racetracks. For example, because of a law passed in 1951, betting is illegal in Springdale Race Course, home of the nationally renowned Toronto-Dominion Bank Carolina Cup and Colonial Cup Steeplechase in Camden, South Carolina.


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