Sports Gambling Term Paper

3538 words - 15 pages

Americans are familiar with the nation s major addictions: narcotics, alcohol, and tobacco. Society has spent countless millions of dollars warning about these substances, however another addiction that receives far less attention is sweeping across America. This addiction is having a major impact on the college campuses across our nation. The executive director of the N.C.A.A., Cedric W. Demsey, in his 1997 State of the Association address called gambling the most serious threat facing intercollegiate athletics(Naughton A52). At the heart of the gambling problem on college campuses is college sports gambling. Gambling on college sports has two major impacts. First, gambling on sports just ...view middle of the document...

The team that is supposed to win is called the favorite, and the team that is supposed to lose is called the underdog. Now someone new to sports betting would say, well I ll just bet on the favorite and win most of the time. Unfortunately, however it is much tougher than this. The one thing that makes gambling on sports very difficult is a term called the point spread. The underdog team is given an edge or points, and this is generally referred to as the point spread. Here is an example of how the point spread works. Suppose the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium, here in Denver. The Broncos have the home-field advantage, plus they are two-time defending Super Bowl champs. Most bettors would put their money on the Broncos, right? But what if ten points were added to the Chiefs final score? Now which team would bettors choose then? The decision becomes more difficult. For those who bet on Denver, the Broncos must win by more than ten points. Suppose the final score is Broncos 29, Chiefs 20. With a point spread of ten points added to the Chiefs side, the final betting score becomes Broncos 29, Chiefs 30. Those who bet on the Chiefs win and those who bet on the Broncos lose. On the other hand, if the Broncos win by more than ten points, say 34-20, bettors say that the Broncos covered the spread. If the Broncos win by exactly ten points, neither side wins and all bets are returned.
How much money does a winning bettor receive? The odds are 11-to-10. That is, a person must bet $11 to win $10. The $1 difference is called the juice, and this difference is how the casino makes its money. It may seem like a small amount, but the higher the amount wagered the higher the juice will be. With these odds, a gambler who bets the same amount on every game has to be right 52.38 percent of the time to break even or in other words win 11 out of 21 bets made.
Sports books try to set a point spread that represents the betting public s opinion on the probable outcome of the game, not the bookmakers , contrary to popular belief that the sports books set point spreads based only on which team is better or worse (Oorlog 97). This way the casino doesn t worry which team wins or loses. The casino may not always win, but it never loses because it automatically receives the juice as profit. How are point spreads determined? This is the job of the oddsmaker, who wants to attract an equal amount of bets on each team in a game. The leading oddsmaker in Las Vegas is Michael Roxy Roxborough(Orkin 58). He runs a service called Las Vegas Sports Consultants from the 12th floor of the Valley Bank Building just off the Strip. Roxborough s line goes out by computer to his casino sports book customers and about 70 major newspapers around the country (Savage 32). You might wonder why the point spreads are given to 70 major newspapers around the country if you can only bet on sports in Las Vegas?
The reason is because illegal sports gambling is...

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