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It is an activity where we bet using the money on the results of a game. We predict the outcome of the game and based on that instinct we place money called wager. If our prediction turns out true then we win some amount and loose if it’s opposite. You must have seen many movies where people place a wager on horses in horse racing. This is a common example. Worldwide, there are many countries where this practice of online football gambling is active. And this is across a wide spectrum of sports ranging from basketball to the dogfighting.

The Process

It takes place through two routes: legal and illegal. It’s because of multiple reasons that include many governments declaring it illegal and for evading the regulatory costs and taxes to mention a few. Basically, this process is controlled by a middleman called bookkeeper. In illegal gambling, they are called bookies. He is the one who is responsible for receiving the bets and settling the transaction according to the outcomes. He charges a commission on the bets and that how he earns. In countries like the US where this practice has been declared legal in few states like the New Jersey in May 2018, they are well regulated. The agents have to pay tax on these events. The countries where sports gambling is illegal, the practice is carried on illegally at many places or through the internet.

Nowadays, there are multiple online bookkeepers who allow you to place wagers online. These are also operated from places where the laws are loose. In the legal gambling, you bet by paying for the bet before the event while placing the wager. But in illegal gambling mostly they place the wager by calling and only after the end of the events, profits or losses are settled. This led to violence and crime when the man defaults on payment after losing the wager. This is one of the prominent reasons denting this activity.

Is it ethical?

Well, it’s not so straightforward. Arguments weigh on both sides. While some say it’s gambling and hence unethical to legalize. Others come forth with the reason that when it goes on illegally, it’s better to legalize and tax it that would bring some revenue to the states. These reasons were also cited in India when recently in a law commission report this idea of legalizing and taxing sports gambling was muted. But we cannot straight away declare it unethical. Because if someone is putting money for his confidence in a team for its winning, it is not very different from placing future bids in stock markets anticipating a company’s performance. Think a little deep and you will realize. Because a company is also a team of people.

Also, in recent times, technological advances have led to an overhaul in online football gambling. Machine learning is being used to predict the outcome of the games by using huge data. Large information about players, weather, fans support etc. are being used to arrive at results which have been found to be more accurate than the experts in the field. So now it’s not just the people but machines will also be involved. Cheers to the technology.

Way forward

Sports gambling has been marred by many scandals throughout its history. In India, there have been many instances of spot-fixing mainly since the advent of IPL. Also, the experts have sited societal and cultural reasons against legalizing of sports gambling. All these arguments need a larger brainstorming and for anything to be legalized, the broader social acceptance would be the key. But the recent pronouncements in some states in the USA in 2018 has set the tone for the legalization of sports gambling.