The Big Apple has seen its first sports bets! The state has recently joined others that are legalising sports betting. On July 16, the first bet was placed in the city. What is New York doing with its new industry and what can it mean for South Africa? Read to find out.

The US relationship with gambling

It may be hard to understand how is it possible that in the country of Las Vegas New York only had its first sports-related bet in 2019. There are two factors at play here. First off, the US is much more fragmented than South Africa.

The name of the United States explains it perfectly. The country is so vast that it can’t be governed from a central spot. Rather, there is a Federal government that sets the basic rules, and multiple states that set their own rules.

This is why it’s possible that in one part of the country gambling is legal, while it’s forbidden in the other. Over the years, however, more and more states were legalizing some forms of gambling for real money.

For instance, many states recognized the benefits of having a state-run lottery which quickly became one of the major contributors to the budget. Over 40 states now allow some form of casino activity, even though it’s usually not as big as Vegas-style casinos.

Until very recently, however, the Federal government issued a ban on one specific type of gambling – sports betting.

The second factor, as always, is the inability of some lobbyists to understand that people will gamble regardless of regulation. Despite the ban on states being able to regulate sports betting on their own, the industry reached a huge number in turnaround.

In Nevada, the capital of gambling in the US, the illegal sports betting turnaround was estimated to be $4 billion a year. The legal gambling and betting turnaround reached $2.8 billion. Different estimates put the national sports betting turnaround between $80 and $300 billion a year.

With that huge demand, the Federal government finally caved in and canceled the nationwide ban. Since the beginning of the year, many states have produced legislation that legalised sports betting.

Now that the legal battle is over, many states are opening sports betting parlors. Even New York, a state with troubled relationships with gambling, has one and it turned a profit in the first day of operation.

What does it mean for South Africa?

Our country also is rather picky when it comes to legalising specific forms of gambling. The whole world is now coming through the process of complete legalisation of gambling. Even the countries you’d never suspect to legalise online gambling like the Netherlands do it.

The US sets a great example for South Africa. The country has been outlawing a form of gambling that’s very popular in South Africa for decades. Now, they’ve lifted the ban.

Perhaps, the government will acknowledge that gambling isn’t as bad as it may seem without prior research and it’ll set the regulators on the path of legalising online gambling as well.