Breaking down challenges with sports betting in North Carolina

Breaking down challenges with sports betting in North Carolina

(WGHP) — Josh Ellinger makes no secret about his love for sports and the enjoyment of laying a few dollars down on a potential outcome. 

As part of the cast of the popular morning radio show “2 Guys Named Chris,” he who goes by the on-air name Biggie often talks about his bets from the weekends.

“I knew (online sports betting) was coming … I was excited about it,” Biggie said.

He’s been gambling for more than twenty years.

“My father took me to Vegas when I turned 21,” Biggie said.

Online, the entire world of sports is at your fingertips. Although it’s just a hobby for Biggie, it can be more than that for a lot of people.

“Do I think it’s good for sports overall? No, I don’t. I think it’s going to lead to a breakdown of the traditional fandom,” said Elon University Sports Management Associate Professor David Bockino.

His new book is called “Game On: How Sports Media Grew Up, Sold Out and Got Personal With Billions of Fans.”

“For the leagues, is it going to increase ratings and engagement and all these buzzwords they love to talk about,” Bocking said. “For sports as a cultural and societal entity, is it good for us as Americans to be gambling on sports? I think the answer is ‘no.’ I think it’s more fun to root for a team for the team’s sake.”

“In some ways, the whole issue of gambling is very parallel to what we saw with prohibition,” said Bill Squadron, who is an assistant professor of Sports Management also at Elon University.

“When the internet became a factor, it exploded and was global and was offshore and international … Suddenly, there was no way to manage it and … the prohibition model kicked in,” Squadron said.

“In the 2000s and 2010s, a lot of people were gambling with offshore books, and it got to the point where the leagues looked around, saw media rights bringing in a ton of money and said, ‘How do we make even more money?’ And legalized gambling was sort of the way to do it,” Bockino said.

States across the country saw the financial advantage of legalizing and then taxing it, and an industry was born.

Today’s players make so much money that both professors say it’s not likely this gambling will lead to significant scandals like the 1919 Chicago White Sox who came to be called “The Black Sox.”

Some of them admitted to taking money from gamblers to throw games. But there can still be issues, particularly in what are referred to as proposition bets.

Those are smaller wagers such as: Will a running back gain 23 or more yards in the third quarter?

“It leads to potential for manipulation in ways that simply the outcome of a game is much harder to fix or at least to create that suspicion,” Squadron said.

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There are also issues of whether it is addictive, but Biggie says he considers the money he spends on gambling to be part of his entertainment budget and no different than whether he’d rent a movie that night or order dinner.

“I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to win what I have and to keep my initial investment going. At some point, it’s going to run out. That’s just how it is,” Biggie said.

See more on sports gambling in this edition of The Buckley Report.

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