TORONTO, July 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Americans love to bet. For decades,
Hollywood has been making sweeping epics about gangster life, featuring
wise guys who run bookmaking operations. Unfortunately, more often than
not, these movies end badly for the numbers man. The fact is most
gambling is illegal in the United States. Some states and federal laws
permit lotteries, horse track betting, and of course, bets can be
placed at casinos throughout the country. Every day, millions of
potentially taxable dollars travels out of the U.S. and into the hands
of offshore sportsbook operators.
The current U.S. policy on bookmaking, and gambling in general, are both
hypocritical and confusing. There's a growing movement to capture these
tax dollars and to have online sports wagering legalized. Bookie
software services, such as PayPerHead.com, make it easy for bookmakers to take bets from American gamblers. If
the government were to consider the potential tax windfall, the call to
legalize bookmaking would become stronger.
A Deloitte report in 2010, commissioned by Ladbrokes, found the U.K.
betting industry had a direct impact of £3 billion on the U.K. economy.
Bookmakers point out that the industry supports 100,000 jobs, pays near
to £1 billion in tax each year, and occupy shops in many deprived areas
that would otherwise be left vacant.
It is estimated that Americans spend over $50 billion per year on
state-run lotteries alone. The assumption is that this revenue goes
back into the community, through funding given to schools and projects
designed to improve the local infrastructure. The reality is, that most
of this money goes directly to the state. The illusion that a losing
ticket still benefits our schools is perpetuated simply because it
keeps lottery ticket sales high.
Legal betting already exists in Nevada. In Nevada, you can walk into any
casino and place a legal bet on any sporting event you want. However,
if you choose to place your bet outside the casino, you're breaking the
A study by the University of South Florida indicates that as many as 65
percent of all American college students will place at least one bet
with a local bookmaker, per year. In Indiana, research has shown that
up to 80 percent of Purdue University's student body is gambling
The question is - would legalizing online gambling in the United States
create a gambling problem? Critics will use the above statistics to
argue, but what they fail to mention is that these students and others
can already bet online at bookie shops like PayPerHead.com. Would they not be better served if they placed their bets at State
licensed shops like in the U.K.? Would the state also be better served
if they captured the millions and potentially billions of dollars in
Offshore bookie services are reporting a sharp rise in the number of
people both betting and bet-taking. Some bookmakers have created
multi-million dollar businesses by using offshore programs that are
administered solely online. This indicates the end of an era, and the
days of the corner bookie are slowly disappearing. The American public
is now using technology to place their bets online with incredible
speed, so the gratification is almost instantaneous.
The result is a rise in bookmaking profits that won't benefit anyone but
While reluctant to legalize online wagering, the government has to face
the fact that people are placing bets, both legally and illegally. The
lost revenue in taxes and potential for new jobs is staggering.
Making online gambling legal in the U.S. would allow bookmakers to run
their businesses without fear of legal problems, while giving the
public the ability to wager on sporting events legally. The American
desire to gamble will never cease to exist.
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