Betting gets the better of students


Student places bets on DraftKings app.

Since its legalization by the Supreme Court in May 2018, sports betting has been a controversial topic. Gambling remains one of the fastest growing industries in the world, with massive corporations investing billions of dollars in hopes of attracting customers. While age restrictions exist under most betting authorities, it is still an activity in which many high schoolers participate. This level of prominence among high school students proposes an intriguing question: why do so many high school students engage in sports betting, knowing its consequences? For some, sports betting is simply a recreational activity that has made its way from the Strips of Vegas to high school students.
“Personally, I don’t see much harm in [sports betting],” said an anonymous junior. “I never let myself get out of control with the spending. Plus, it raises the stakes for games I wouldn’t care about otherwise.”
While admittedly down in profits, this student, like others, finds a way to have fun with sports betting, separate from making money. This raises another important question, however. Why, if many high schoolers are able to bet on sports in a healthy way, do some others find themselves in a cycle of addiction?
“I believe it has to do with the ease in which people can bet on sports nowadays,” said an anonymous senior. “It seems as though you can make any bet you want with one click of a button. The whole process has been made so seamless and efficient that most people can’t see how dangerous it really is.”
For many sports betters, the use of specialized apps to place bets has made the process far more time-efficient. With apps like FanDuel and DraftKings allowing bets to be placed with the tap of a finger, it has never been easier to quickly throw money away without realizing it.
“I’ve lost far more money gambling on sports than I’d like to admit,” said an anonymous senior. “The gambling started out as something fun to do with extra money. Once I won once though, I began to feel as though I had to bet on a game to have any fun in watching it. If my friends and family weren’t there to step in when things got bad, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”
There has undoubtedly been a very rapid emergence in sports betting over the past few years. Some believe that the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in this. With the lockdowns and “Stay-at-Home” mandates in place, many people had nothing to do except bet on sports.
“With the pandemic, and the evolution of sports betting online, it has now become much easier for people to access sports-books without having to verify how old they are,” said Mrs. Pamela Kelly, the school nurse. “It turned into something that was keeping people busy and entertained, to now being something that is completely normalized.”
With March around the corner, many college basketball fans are gearing up to place bets on the sixty-three games being played in the annual “March Madness” tournament. This tournament, while some of the best basketball that is played all year, is adored by fans for a different reason.
“Everyone fills out the brackets!” said one anonymous junior. “I don’t even necessarily consider it to be gambling. I’ve had teachers do brackets with us, with the winner receiving extra credit, and no one wanted to condemn gambling then.”
While betting on regular games is not for everyone, putting sums of money on the line in hopes that one team of college students beats another team of college students in a single elimination
tournament seems to be universally loved— but many do not view betting on college sports as ethical.
“I don’t see why it would be,” said one anonymous sophomore. “Before this year they weren’t even allowed to be paid for their own accomplishments. Why should other people get paid based on how a bunch of teenagers play a game?”
It is true that across the entire United States for about a three-year gap, spanning between May of 2018 and June 21st, 2021, college students were not being compensated for their own likeness, all while anyone who wanted to was free to legally place bets on whatever college game they sought to.
It is important to remember with sports gambling, just like all other things, if done in moderation, it can be a very fun activity, and can even make the most meaningless of games feel like the World Series. When done recklessly, however, sports betting can evolve into a slippery slope that seems impossible to climb out of. This pattern of good and evil, of yin and yang, connects to a much larger central theme in life. It is important, beyond anything else, to know your limits, and do most things in moderation.