What If You Could Bet On Sporting Events Anywhere?

Two dollars on the Celtics, please

5/27/12 in Gaming   |   sungrey   |   13 respect

May 25, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Yankees former player Reggie Jackson throws the baseball before the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIREA seemingly innocent throwaway item posted online Friday created little buzz when it was seen, but it got me to thinking.

If you're a resident of New Jersey or big into politics, no doubt you know Chris Christie, the state's governor. Christie made headlines by announcing he would fly in the face of the federal government's ban on sports betting by opening up New Jersey to betting on games.

The thinking here is this might help casinos in Atlantic City, which stand to lose some business to newly opened casinos in the Philadelphia area, to regain some of that lost money.

It got me to thinking about something regarding betting on games: Why can't this be the case across the United States?

I am not talking about opening up bookie parlors much the same way medical marijuana shops have opened up in states where it is legal to use.

Instead, I offer an example from our neighbors to the north, Canada.

There is a game offered in the country called Pro Line (or Sport Select), where a small amount of money is wagered on the outcomes of three to six sporting events, commonly called a "parlay" in betting terms. Say you wager $5 on the outcome of these events, with the top prize being $50-$100 if you get all of the games correct.

Could a national lottery work in the United States?

Before I go any further, a disclaimer: I do play lottery games myself. NOT sports-betting games, just your garden variety Lotto, Mega Millions, Powerball, etc.

I could certainly see where wagering large amounts of money on events would get someone in trouble. I don't want to see someone's house taken away or marriage or family disintegrate because they have a gambling problem.

The average person who buys a lottery ticket in the hopes to get rich is fair game for something like this. No doubt if you've been to Vegas and put a few dollars down (emphasis on a few), you've probably left wondering why you can't play a game like this in the USA.

April 21, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorback running back Dennis Johnson (33) carries the ball during the spring game at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Beth Hall-US PRESSWIREA properly managed national lottery could return a financial windfall to states, much the same way most casinos do in funding projects around cities where the casinos are based.

Let's be real about one thing. We won't solve the national debt with a sports lottery. But in a time where politicians are grappling with decisions about what to cut and where to cut, a national lottery or sports-betting game might be an idea whose time has come.

Bold, outside-the-box thinking may solve budget issues instead of the old, in-the-box ways of doing things.

No doubt Las Vegas would scream about this to high heaven. The casino industry in Las Vegas prides itself on offering something you can't find at your average gas station or mom-and-pop party store.

There are positives: Money raised for pet projects in states, a chance to try your luck on something you know (sports), and an exciting opportunity for state lotteries to offer something new. Oregon tried it for almost two decades before abandoning the lottery in 2006 at the behest of the NCAA. After all, the NCAA wouldn't let Oregon host tournament games. The simple solution to this is not to offer the lottery to college games or severely limit the games that can be bet on.

The negatives involve more emphasis on gambling and a risk for someone to lose their shirt on something they don't understand.

What do you think? Myself, I have no "skin in the game". I could live without betting on sporting events myself.

If Governor Christie is suggesting something, however, could his sneeze on this subject make more states catch cold?
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