“It came down to the very last play of the game,” said the Sophomore passionately. “I couldn’t stand still. They had to win.” The fifteen-year-old ended up winning 1500 dollars. The winter sports season is now in full swing and engulfing the halls of Minnehaha Academy is a new topic of conversation: sports betting.
The concept of sports betting is not new, but the ability to make (or lose) money just with the click of a button is a
new manifestation of the idea. In 2018, the Supreme Court knocked down a law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. After this ruling, each individual state could now decide on its own sports betting laws. Sports betting is now legal in over 30 states, however, it is not currently a legal activity in Minnesota.
When the ability to make lots of money is at the tip of your fingers, it seems hard to resist the temptation to bet or “gamble.”
According to a psychologist at the University of Las Vegas Nevada, “Vulnerability is high in people with low incomes who have more to gain with a big win.” However, the effect of sports gambling is seen in all groups of people, no matter what level of income or background they come from.
Gambling is not something to mess around with. According to Yale Medicine, 2-7 percent of youth develop a gambling disorder, more often in males than females. “Many people may take gambling lightly, not realizing that it may be addictive and harmful in many of the same ways as drugs are,” said the report.
Lance Johnson, Head Basketball Coach and Dean of Students here at MA shares similar views to the Yale Report. “ For those who can handle it in our nation, it can be very fun, but unfortunately gambling is extremely addictive.”
There are many people in the MA community who participate in the act of sports betting. Since it is technically illegal for minors, anonymous sources will be used.
An anonymous boy in the Junior class said, “I really enjoy participating in sports betting because it is an easy way to make money.”
Another source, a boy in the sophomore class, used his dad’s name to sign up for an account.“It is actually nice because my parents helped me set up an account,” said the sophomore, “and they help me manage my money in it… they actually think it is cool that I am investing and trying to make money.”
Just within a small number of people that participate in sports betting around Minnehaha, there have been a lot of profits made. “I have already won a couple thousand dollars through Fan Duel,” said the anonymous Junior.
Considering sports betting as an investment is a very interesting idea. In both, there are levels of risk that one must take into consideration before putting their money somewhere where it could be lost. There are many different sports betting apps, such as Fan Duel and other websites, but they all have an age requirement of eighteen years old.
This brings up a question, should minors be allowed to participate in sports betting? There have been certain states that have faced a larger issue around underage sports betting.
According to an employee from the Long Island Problem Gambling Resource Center, “We have definitely seen a marked increase in the number of young people calling our help-line identifying a problem with gambling,”
For some, the sole fact that it is illegal for minors is enough to keep them away. “I actually don’t [bet] because I know that it is illegal. If it was legal, I definitely would,” said a Senior here at MA.
Regardless of legal or illegal, many adolescents have taken up an interest in sports gambling. It is key that anyone who participates is well informed of the risks and dangers of gambling before they participate. If used correctly, however, gambling can be a fun way to try to make some money.