UNLV releases in-depth report about the regulation of US sports betting 

The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV)’s International Gaming Institute has launched an extensive report on US sports betting called ‘The Big Questions: Sports Wagering in America’. 

A broad range of topics has been covered, including ensuring sporting integrity in a regulated market and how US citizens view gambling. 

Sports betting in the US has expanded across dozens of states since PASPA was repealed in May 2018. 

Sports betting is already alive and kicking, both in regulated and unregulated markets

The report, for which an accompanying infographic was also produced, was sponsored by GVC Foundation US – created by online gaming operator GVC Holdings. It mentions that sports betting in the US has existed since the country’s early days and that regulation while protecting sporting integrity can be achieved. 

We have already seen from previous reports that just because sports betting isn’t regulated in a particular jurisdiction, that doesn’t mean that the activity doesn’t occur. For example, the American Gaming Association (AGA) recently revealed that over 50% of its survey participants in 2019 had wagered on an unregulated website – despite the individual thinking that the operator had a licence in that particular state. When looking at the socio-economic impact of sports betting, the UNLV found that illegal versions of the activity largely did more harm than good. 

UNLV IGI Executive Director Bo Jason Bernhard believes that sports betting will only continue to rise in popularity throughout the country. 

“We expect to see a surge in the popularity of sports betting as the US acclimates to this ‘new normal’. As researchers, we want to ensure that this industry is regulated in a way that fosters the socio-economic benefits of gambling while minimising its harms. 

“As always, the IGI seeks to shed academic light on the major debates of the day, bringing together our ‘dream team’ of experienced and multi-disciplinary thinkers to weigh in on the big questions. Today, US policymakers can rely on an independent evaluation that covers a range of key issues, thanks to this first-of-its-kind report.”

Maintaining integrity requires transparency 

Although GVC sponsored the report, the operator didn’t have access to it until the research was completed and it was published. This was to ensure that a balanced view on gambling was achieved. 

The report mentioned that there were integrity-related concerns surrounding the Raider’s NFL relocation from California to Las Vegas. However, page 8 of the document highlights four key factors of Nevadan sports betting regulation that deter wrongdoers from getting involved in criminal activity:

  • Strict regulation and accountability of bookmakers;
  • Transparent accounting processes;
  • Robust minimum internal controls;
  • High prices relative to remote/illegal wagering. 

Martin Lycka, who is both the Trustee of GVC Foundation US and GVC Holdings’ Director of Regulatory Affairs, explained that sports betting can be prosperous and credible if decision-makers play their part. 

“Our goal in drafting questions for the study was to highlight all major aspects of sports betting – the good, the bad and the ugly,” he said. 

“For sports betting to be the fun, safe, and well-structured enterprise that it’s meant to be, our industry needs to commit to honestly presenting its unique components to all regulators and legislators alike.”

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