Sports betting gaining popularity in the U.S.

Alex Pepke, Sports Editor

Over a year and a half ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized sports betting in the United States, leaving it up to individual states to decide whether they would make it legal in their respective states.

Not all, but many states are in the process of legalizing sports gambling, and some already have legalized it, with Pennsylvania being one of them.

This has opened the door for many casinos and online sportsbooks to make lots of money on prospective gamblers, with the most notable being DraftKings and FanDuel.

Most recently, Barstool Sports has just launched an online sportsbook and chose Pennsylvania as the first state to officially release in.

Sports betting is a billion-dollar business that is only going to grow as more states legalize it. If you want to bet on sports in a legal state, it is not hard to do.

The convenience and accessibility of sports betting have made sports even more exciting — and dangerous — for certain fans.

Personally, I’m not a gambler, but I know plenty of people who are.

It is a daily activity for them and leads to some devastating losses and joyous reactions and winnings. You can bet on nearly anything, whether it is the length of the national anthem during the Super Bowl or something simple like the over/under number of points for a certain game.

This does not come without potential dangers, though.

It may not ever happen on a big stage again, or it could have happened already on a smaller scale that the public isn’t aware of. But what if a player/coach tries to make some extra money by blowing a game or missing a shot on purpose?

It sounds unlikely, but there have been sports gambling scandals before, most famously with Pete Rose. The all-time MLB hits leader was given a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball when it was revealed that he placed bets on Cincinnati Reds games while he was a player/manager.

I don’t think it is out of the question for something like this to happen again, especially as the sports gambling business grows. Imagine someone offering the quarterback of a Super Bowl team millions of dollars to try to lose on purpose – or even just to alter the score to some degree.

Again, it sounds unlikely, but with the sports betting industry as big as it is — and growing — nothing is out of the question.

With that being said, I am not against sports gambling.

I think it does bring some positives. On an individual level, it gives fans a reason to watch events that they may otherwise not have been interested in. It brings viewers to games and events on TV.

If that is how somebody wants to spend their time and money, so be it. It’s their decision.

But with the growing popularity of legal sports betting in the U.S., I think leagues and teams need to be very careful not to let another “Pete Rose-type” scandal happen.