As more industries once operated in the shadows become more accepted and legalized for the purpose of regulation and taxation, the extra funds are often used for public good. This is especially important for road repairs paid for with tax money, as 45% of American roads are in poor, mediocre, or fair condition.
After the positive effects that marijuana legalization has had on states like Colorado and Washington, people have begun to speculate if sports betting, another enormous yet illegal market, could offer even more money from taxation.
According to Mlive.com, a new Michigan bill is being voted on that could legalize sports betting inside of casinos in an attempt to help the state fund the repair of their crumbling roads.
“We need to come up with unconventional methods to help fund our roads,” said Rep. Robert Kosowski.
Currently, only four states allow sports betting; it’s legal in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana. New Jersey has already passed legislation legalizing sports betting and have already launched a court challenge to allow for expansion.
Joe Asher, CEO of the sports betting company William Hill US, said that there is already an existing illegal sports gambling market in Michigan that is worth “millions and millions” of dollars and that it only serves the criminals operating it.
However, the Daily News reports that sports betting in casinos may only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sports gambling.
Fantasy sports companies, such as FanDuel and Draft Kings, are capitalizing on the love of sports fans to enter online daily fantasy competitions by simply going on the internet, picking up players for a single game, and putting down money in hopes of winning big. The question this raises for politicians and other entities, is whether or not this should be considered gambling, and should require regulations and taxation.
Because there is, supposedly, some skill involved in the process, as of right now, fantasy betting is technically exempt from federal sports gambling laws. But considering how much money is being made through this controversial betting, people are looking to capitalize on its regulation.
At this time, gambling in total is an estimated $44 billion market. Fantasy betting alone is worth a shocking $8 billion. Regulating sports and fantasy betting could offer substantial amounts of money for the government to use to repair roads, offer aid to schools, build hospitals, and even improve playgrounds.