Thanks to the internet, sports gambling—once limited to smoky back rooms and local bookies—has rapidly expanded, and this expansion has fueled growing concerns over the integrity of professional sports. Sports gambling has long been intertwined with sports-related corruption, but the sheer number of gambling transactions made possible by the advent of online betting (through both legal and illegal websites) substantially increases the likelihood that bribery or match-fixing will be used to ensure a “winning bet.”
National regulatory approaches have not kept up with the heighted risks. The United States, for example, continues to rely on outdated regulatory regimes and ill-defined responsibilities shared between state regulators, federal regulators, and professional sports leagues. As more and more states move to legalize sports gambling, the US is in urgent need of a centralized authority that possesses the necessary incentives and requisite capabilities to properly regulate this burgeoning industry.
To see why reform is needed, consider each of the three main actors (or sets of actors) that have some responsibility to deal with the integrity threats posed by online sports gambling in the U.S.: state governments, the federal government, and the professional leagues: Continue reading