Illegal Sports Betting Causes Many Bettors to Question the Legitimacy of Online Gambling
There has been a lot of recent buzz in the world of sports betting: The New Jersey legislature has been fighting in court to legalize sports betting in the state; the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament has incurred a sudden growth in the global demand for soccer betting picks; and (again in New Jersey) a huge illegal betting ring has recently began dismantled.
The illegal ring has many people — bettors and non-bettors alike — wondering whether the U.S. should impose such tight restrictions on sports betting. Confusingly enough, Nevada is the only state where sports betting is legal, regulated, and taxed; however, the world of online sports betting is much more hazy and creates many possibilities for illegal and untrustworthy sites claiming to be “expert bookmakers providing completely free professional sports picks” can easily take advantage of bettors. Bettors simultaneously rejoice that it is so easy to connect with other fans across the world and that the number of expert betting picks offered without charge is virtually endless, but they also have reservations about which sites — both those that let bettors buy sports picks and those which offer free sports picks with the hope that bettors will subsequently places wagers — are credible. Many bettors want to make sure that they aren’t engaging in illegal betting, since the recent charges against the NJ betting ring illustrate how serious the crime can be.
This illegal betting ring, which saw the movement of roughly $3 million in just one year by wagering on various professional sports, used internet “wire rooms,” according to nj.com, in an attempt to avoid federal detection. Their efforts clearly were not successful, and 29 participants were caught in a sting operation this past June. The two major perpetrators, both of whom have been charged with illegal sports betting in the past, were held in jail on a steep $1 million bail, and the future is not looking bright for either man.
Of course, the casual sports bettor isn’t going to suffer the same repercussions that the NJ betting ring participants will. It is worth noting that the criminals involved in the betting ring did in fact know how risky it was, and they took significant measures to avoid detection. Nevertheless, this incident is indicative of how quickly a betting ring can be set up, how easily false “bookmakers” and “agents” can fool bettors, and how much the internet is being used to accomplish all of this. Many sports bettors are now left wondering about the credibility of their favorite betting site: Are these professional sports picks legitimate? Could my personal information be stolen if I place a bet?
Legitimate sites offering secure betting and professional sports picks encourage bettors to do their own research before delving into the world of online gambling, and these sites also want to provide customers with as much information as possible to make sure that online betting stays fun and safe. It is becoming evident that the world of sports betting can find success online, but that agents and bettors still need to communicate freely to ensure trust.