Is Sports Gambling Really An Innocent Pastime?

in Misdemeanors, on

North Carolina is not home to a major league baseball team, but we are the home of the fictional Durham Bulls, the minor league team at the center of one of the best sports movies ever made. And we have our professional football, basketball and even ice hockey teams to keep track of — and to bet on.

It seems every major sporting event comes with a gambling scheme. How many office football or basketball pools have you known about? Or fantasy sports teams? Of course, as heavy as the betting may be for any of these, though, the mother of opportunities for gambling remains the Super Bowl.

How many people placing those bets know anything about the laws that govern sports gambling? How many know what the difference between a friendly bet and an illegal wager is?

In fact, the laws that govern sports gambling can be difficult to understand. What should not be hard to understand is that the consequences of breaking one of those laws can be very real, and they involve more than North Carolina state laws. A person facing a charge of unlawful sports gambling may also find himself or herself in federal court.

The results of an ESPN survey shared by the National Council on Problem Gambling showed that 118 million Americans gambled on some form of sporting event in 2008. How is it that such activity could be so prevalent, when federal law stipulates that sports gambling itself is illegal?

Section 3702 of Chapter 178 of U.S. Code 28 as shared by the Cornell University Law School’s website details the actual restrictions on sports gambling in the United States. It defines unlawful sports gambling as a government entity or private citizen sponsoring, operating, advertising, promoting, licensing, or authorizing “a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based…on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games.”

We’ll explain more in our next post.

Source: National Council on Problem Gambling