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Mixed Opinions on Sports Betting in the U.S.

New York: Americans are holding different opinions on the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize sports betting.

Though sports betting is common in many countries, it’s not so much in many states within the United States – horse racing being an exception, which is allowed in most states.

This is however, set to change following the court ruling that gives each state the right to legalize sports gambling – such as for football, baseball and basketball.

Many find this as an inevitable outcome, with Keith Lambrecht, director of Sport Management Programs at Quinlan School of Business, saying, "It's a way to generate revenue, and it's inevitable that this was going to happen. People are betting on sports - illegal gambling."

According to experts, illegal sports betting is probably a 50-150 billion dollar industry, which may rise to 200 billion dollars in a few years.

One research firm estimates sports betting will be legal in 32 states within five years.

A number of racecourses across the country have struggled in recent years. They hope this potential opening up of the sports betting market will provide a boost to the industry.

Peter Galassi has been the racetrack commentator at Hawthorne Racecourse for almost forty years. He said, "People are going to come in here to make a bet on a football game. Football games last three hours. We run a race every twenty minutes. They can sit and watch the races while they're betting on a football game. And you can do both."

At Wrigley Field, a baseball park located in Chicago, a sports fan who was attending a Chicago Cubs game agrees that the change is long overdue.

"People are doing it anyway, and to legalize it and capitalize on the tax revenue, I think it's a good idea," the fan said.

But others warn that legitimizing gambling will come at a cost. The National Council on Problem Gambling estimates gambling addiction resulted in social costs of some seven billion dollars last year. Jerry Prosapio is a former gambling addict who once owed money to a local mafia.

Prosapio is fearful of the impact that the ruling will have on gamblers. "I know what it's going to do to people's lives like it did to mine. There's reports of teenage suicide as a result of gambling. Kids get so depressed. Parents don't even get a chance to see their deaths structurally," he said.

Just as in sport there will be winners and losers with this new gambling development. But what does appear to be clear, the sports betting landscape is set for a radical change.

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