Our Insider asks, Is it legal to bet on high school sports?
The Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to allow states to offer sports betting has sparked an inevitable rise in the regions where legal wagers can be placed.
Eight states have since given the green light to the practice, leading to a growth in the number of sports betting sites that won’t allow you to bet on sports that aren’t legal to bet on. However, it appears unlikely that the ruling will be extended to allow states to offer odds on high school sports.
Nevada was the first state to allow single-game sports betting, but its gaming laws specifically prohibit its sportsbooks from offering bets on high school sports. Most other states are expected to follow the same way of operating.
Some offshore bookies do offer lines on Texas high school football games for example, but with the amount of other leagues betters can legitimately bet on it remains to be seen whether traditional sportsbooks will ever follow suit.
One major area for concern for many people is that gambling could affect the integrity of high school sports events, with athletes, coaches or officials suddenly, however unlikely, vulnerable to those who would attempt payouts to shave points or throw games.
Unlike professional or college sports, there are currently no formal controls to prevent tampering with a result, potentially increasing the temptation to manipulate outcomes.
From a practical standpoint, the scale of wagering on high school sports probably doesn’t warrant established bookmakers to concern themselves with offering odds.
That may change if offshore companies start to see a significant increase in their revenues from high school sports betting. States could decide to allow bookmakers to accept bets while implementing some form of discipline and regulation to ensure fair play.
There could be a revenue share made available to the state governing bodies and potentially schools themselves via the state organizations. The extra funding could also be used to improve facilities, thereby helping students enjoy a richer sporting experience while they are at high school.
From a moral perspective it is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn. Some people may argue that betting on 15 or 16-year-olds playing sport is wrong, while others would contend that there is no difference between that and wagering on 17 or 18-year-olds playing college sports.
Whichever side of the line you fall on, the debate about betting on high school sports will undoubtedly continue for the foreseeable future.
Feature image courtesy thelines.com