Taking gambles with sports


Julianne Cruz

Across the state and country, teenagers are beginning to explore the wonders of sports betting.

Danny Martella, Senior Photographer

On New Year’s Eve, the University of Georgia took on Ohio State University in the College Football Championship semi-final. Ohio State kicker Noah Ruggles lined up for a game winning field goal that would send them to the National Championship. The clock struck midnight as he hooked the ball way left of the uprights, leading to betters starting 2023 with a financial loss. 

Sports betting has increased in popularity exponentially over the past couple years to the point where an estimated $100 billion were bet on the NFL, and hundreds of millions of dollars on college football last season alone. PASPA, or the Bradley Act, was a nationwide law that banned sports betting in 1992, until it was overturned in 2018, opening the door for a once shady industry to launch into mainstream status. Since the lifting of PASPA, it has come down to individual states to decide if they want to allow sports betting. So far 36 states have legalized sports betting, including D.C., while the other 15 states have yet to join the party.

Maryland legalized sports betting in 2021 but online sports books did not launch in Maryland until November of just last year due to complications in Maryland law that required extensive research into making the sports betting market equitable for smaller, minority-owned businesses. 

There are various types of sports bets you can make. Most sports betting falls into one of three categories: Pari-mutuel wagering, fixed odds wagering, and exchange wagering. Pari-mutuel wagering is where all the money from a bet gets placed into a pool. The total is reduced for taxes and fees, while the remaining pot is split up based on the result of the bet, and how much each individual contributed. Exchange wagering is when players bet against each other rather than a sportsbook. This can be a more affordable method as the house fees are usually lower than mainstream sportsbooks. Fixed odds wagering is the most common type of betting. Within this category, there are various subcategories including: fractional odds, point spread, parlays, proposition bets, and in-game betting

Some bets are not about results of the games but outcomes of plays or other unrelated events. This is called proposition betting, also sometimes called “prop bets,” which is another common form of betting. Some common ones include; who scores first, what the coin toss will be, what color the Gatorade that the winning team pours on the coach will be, and how long the national anthem will be. 

In Maryland, sports betting has exploded as an economic asset. Retail betting had been live for a year before mobile betting finally reached Maryland. This later release created more demand that burst when it hit people’s phones. Playmaryland.com predicts that Maryland could collect $481 million from sports betting in 2023, while also becoming a top 15 sports betting market in the U.S. $704,000 reportedly went towards the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which prioritizes equity in Maryland school systems.

Sports betting can be used as a source of income for someone, with winnings coming out to be hundreds of dollars. “Since it’s not the summer and I’m not working currently, I do it to make money,” a RM student said.