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What are the economic impacts of legalizing sports betting?

Legalizing sports betting won’t just bring the law in line with American attitudes and desires – it will also deliver powerful economic benefits, possibly generating $8 billion in local taxes, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, and adding $22.4 billion to the gross domestic product, according to new a comprehensive study on the economic impact of a legalized U.S. sports betting market.

Sports betting advocates argue for its legalization for several reasons:

  1. Regulation and Consumer Protection: Legalizing sports betting allows governments to regulate the industry, ensuring fairness, transparency, and consumer protection. Regulations can enforce age restrictions, responsible gambling measures, and fair odds.
  2. Economic Benefits: Legal sports betting can generate significant tax revenues for governments. These funds can be allocated to public services such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure.
  3. Job Creation: Legalization can create jobs within the gambling industry, including roles in sportsbooks, technology development, regulation enforcement, and associated services.
  4. Reduction of Illegal Gambling: Illegal sports betting thrives in the absence of legal options. Legalization can reduce illegal gambling activities, thereby minimizing associated criminality and ensuring bettors are not exploited by unregulated operators.
  5. Consumer Choice and Freedom: Adults should have the freedom to make decisions about how they spend their money, including participating in sports betting, which is widely enjoyed globally.
  6. Boost for Sports and Entertainment: Legal sports betting can increase fan engagement and interest in sports events, potentially leading to higher viewership and attendance. This can benefit sports leagues, broadcasters, and advertisers.
  7. International Competitiveness: Many countries allow sports betting, and legalizing it can help a nation remain competitive in the global market, attracting tourists and investments.
  8. Personal Liberty: Individuals should have the right to engage in activities that do not harm others, and for many, sports betting is a form of entertainment and leisure.

Using a Convenient Availability-Base Tax Rate Scenario, key takeaways include:

  • Total economic output, representing sales of businesses in the US, is expected to be $41.2 billion.
  • Legal sports betting operations, including wages, salaries, benefits, and tips, are expected to support $11.0 billion of total labor income.
  • Total jobs supported, both direct, indirect, and induced, is expected to be 216,671.
  • Legal sports betting is expected to contribute $22.4 billion to US gross domestic product.
  • Fiscal impacts, consisting of state, local, and federal tax impacts, are expected to total $8.4 billion.

Economic impacts of legalizing sports betting

The research was conducted on behalf of the American Gaming Association by Oxford Economics. The analysis is based on available data, interviews with industry participants, customized economic impact models, and the professional judgment of Oxford Economics. National findings are based on the assumption that sports betting would be offered in the 40 states that had casino gaming available as of 2016.

However, it’s essential to consider potential downsides, such as the risk of problem gambling and addiction. Effective regulations and responsible casino gambling programs are crucial to mitigate these risks and ensure that the benefits of legalization outweigh the negatives.


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