Watching football is a well-known American pastime, but there is another hobby football fans enjoy less openly: sports betting.
After 26 years of sports betting being prohibited under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the Supreme Court ultimately favored gambling in sports in 2018. Since then, many sports fans flocked to stake money on their favorite events, giving this industry an estimated worth of $85 billion as of 2019.
Whether you’re interested in, appalled by or personally partake in the controversial hobby, three anonymous sports gamblers from PLNU share their testimonies and experiences in the world of winning and losing.
The Point: What made you become interested to start betting in sports?
Gambler #1: I grew up in a household where sports games were on the television 75% of time, and naturally I began to have a passion for sports. I first began betting when I was around 10 years old. Today, many people are looking for a side hustle that can make them some extra money. I figured that I could make sports betting my side hustle.
Gambler #2: I grew up playing sports year-round, in high school I played in my uncle’s college football bowl pool, and played fantasy football in college. Sports betting gives you the ability to put all of your otherwise useless knowledge to work that you accumulate over the decades of watching sports. Gambling on sports can make any sporting contest that you would not care about otherwise as entertaining as the Super Bowl.
You gravitate to the sports you’re most familiar with, as you feel like your years of play gives you a higher understanding of the events. For me these sports were football, baseball, and basketball, but it didn’t take long for me to expand my horizons to other popular sporting events. All it takes is a couple of bets on the Kentucky Derby or the soccer World Cup, and now you have an understanding of those sports when they’re around and your main sports aren’t in season or playing that day.
Gambler #3: I started betting on sports mainly because of my overall love of watching them. When you watch sports a lot it becomes easier to make bets that you know are more likely to win.
The Point: What sports teams and events have you bet on? Why did you choose those teams and events?
Gambler #1: I typically only bet on mainstream sports like the NFL, MLB, and NBA, since those are the main leagues that I watch, but I have found the most success in baseball. I only like to bet on a few different teams because it takes time to research and figure out which bets I want to make.
Gambler #3: I’ve bet on fantasy football, simple pick ‘em tournaments where you pick which team will win each week, and on specific player stat lines (like whether they will catch under or over 7 passes).
The Point: What are the benefits of betting in sports? What are the drawbacks?
Gambler #1: The biggest drawback is that you will lose money — this is inevitable. You just have to make sure that you win more than you lose. The biggest benefit is that games become much more exciting to watch.
Gambler #2: The obvious benefits and drawbacks are of course winning and losing money. But as long as you’re gambling responsibly, meaning you’re able to stop when you want to and only gambling with money you can afford to lose, you should at least come away entertained.
Gambler #3: I have lost money betting on sports but I have also won a decent amount. This keeps the game interesting.
The Point: Through what source and setting do you bet?
Gambler #2: Today, there are many sports betting platforms available online so it’s the easiest way to bet. However, betting with family and friends is much more enjoyable. Because sports betting is just starting to be legalized in my home state of Washington, I currently bet through an online website that has its servers located abroad. Usually, you are referred by someone you know that can vouch for you and you’ll have a point of contact that you’ll settle up your account with at the end of the week.
Gambler #3: I mainly bet through apps like FanDuel and ESPN fantasy football, and bet friends on football games as well.
Written By: Katie Morris