The sporting world in the United States is about to change and become something unrecognisable. Monday’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) legislation that has, for decades, outlawed sports betting in the U.S. is a very big deal.
And as is only natural when it comes to betting, discount authentic nfl jerseys it will create some losers. Though reactionaries will paint sports gambling as a matter solely of vice and victims, the experience from other parts of the world where betting is commonplace suggests this simplistic view is misguided. For a start, just because something is illegal does not stop it from happening.
The fact of the matter is people have been betting for as long as individuals and teams have contested sport. Even in the U.S., beyond Las Vegas or the casinos and racetracks of New Jersey and Delaware, there has been a booming market for illicit betting. In 2014, National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver wrote in the New York Times: “There is no solid data on the volume of illegal sports betting activity in the U.S. but some estimate that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year.”
So if PASPA has failed to save people from themselves, what has it done to protect professional and amateur sports from the malicious intentions of manipulators? In other words, should the U.S. be worried about match-fixing?
This question has long been a tenet of those in favour of upholding PASPA. When the state of Delaware motioned to overturn it in 2009, the National Football League stood in PASPA’s defense. The NFL’s vice president for communications, Brian McCarthy, said: “We don’t want people second-guessing why a player would miss a field goal late in the game.”
McCarthy was expressing a concern that sports betting would lead to corrupted results. He was right — it does. Where he was wrong, however, is to think that match-fixing happens only when sports betting is legal.
In 2011, I sat through every day of a trial in the UK criminal courts involving three Pakistan international cricketers who had been part of a conspiracy to bowl no-balls in a Test match, the highest form of their sport, in return for taking bribes. nfl stitched jerseys nike I learned a lot about the machinations of match-fixers, but I also learned about the wider criminal operations their betting activities help fund. The point is simple: Much of the trillion dollars at stake in the annual global gambling market derives from countries in which sports betting has been illegal — India, China and the United States. This, in turn, has driven sports betting into the hands of organized criminals.
For them, the incentive to fix sporting results is strong. There can be few more profitable enterprises than betting on a result you can guarantee will happen. In turn, this has placed sport — one of the fastest-growing commercial sectors in the western world — in the crosshairs of organized crime.