New York Times Sports Betting Survey: Key Takeaways

Four years ago it was illegal to bet on sports in most of the United States. Today, anyone who turns on the television, visits a sports website or shows up at a stadium is likely to be inundated with advertisements to bet, bet, bet.

The New York Times has spent nearly a year investigating how the sports betting industry has grown so big, so fast – and what the likely consequences will be for public health, taxpayers, the sports world and more.

Here are some of the key findings from our reports.

After the Supreme Court opened the door to sports betting in 2018, lobbyists pushing for the legalization of online betting lavished state officials with gifts, parties and millions of dollars in donations, sometimes skirting the rules. campaign finance rules. Many lawmakers have been docile.

The gambling industry has used questionable data to push to legalize sports betting, in part by predicting that states would be greeted with spurts of new tax revenue. A Times analysis of industry claims found that many of the projections, at least so far, were wildly optimistic.

That’s partly because lawmakers have granted gaming companies lucrative tax exemptions. These exemptions essentially subsidized their efforts to entice customers with supposedly risk-free betting and other promotions.

For example, The Times found that companies paid at least eight universities to let them promote gaming on campus. In a deal between betting company PointsBet and the University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, every time someone downloads the PointsBet app and uses a special promo code, the university pockets a $30 fee.

He agreed to buy Barstool Sports, a controversial suite of websites, podcasts and more. Barstool founder and ringleader David Portnoy has a history of misogynistic and racist behavior – and has now become one of the sports betting industry’s most prominent spokespersons.

Mr. Portnoy is the type of person who would have traditionally come under scrutiny from state regulators. In addition to his record of offensive behavior, The Times learned that he had previously filed for bankruptcy, citing, among other things, $30,000 in gambling losses in one year – a typical red flag for gambling authorities. But in In 12 of the 13 states in which Penn operates Barstool-branded sportsbooks, regulators have not required Mr. Portnoy to submit to a licensing exam.

The federal government does not regulate sports betting. A Times survey of states that have legalized such betting found that enforcement of rules has been haphazard, penalties have tended to be light or non-existent, and regulators rely on the industry to police itself. .

The more people bet, the more taxes the states collect. While also seeking to protect consumers, regulators have an incentive to help gaming companies get started quickly. Some states let them start operating before regulators have completed comprehensive licensing reviews.

The sports betting industry has been creative in devising ways to persuade people to continue betting even after losing money, but the tools to make it easier to quit – some run by gambling companies, d others by states – don’t always work. In Indiana, for example, people who sought government help to stop them from gambling found that they were still able to place bets. Dozens have.

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