Gambling is a topic that can stimulate fierce debate among people. Although most people can place a wager responsibly, there is a fine and delicate balancing act between regulating the industry properly and protecting bettors. American mainstream media has long had a stern approach to gambling, but this has been predominantly because of the harsh regulatory conditions many states levied nationwide.
Now that nearly two dozen American states have regulated and legalized online gambling, has this more advantageous legal and regulatory approach trickled down to the media warming to the idea, or does the rhetoric remain as frosty as it was a decade or two ago?
Due to the size of America and the devolved nature of its regulation, many casino companies believe there’s still a disparity between states. Some have got on board with the idea of adequately overseeing the sector and allowing adults to bet at licensed establishments. However, some states still employ a more draconian method and do not allow gambling to become a viable entertainment industry within their state lines. Historically, Nevada and, more recently, New Jersey have been the only two areas in the country with strong gambling cultures. Nevada has the world-famous Las Vegas strip, which still generates billions in profit annually. New Jersey adopted a slightly less successful approach to turn Atlantic City into something rivaling Las Vegas on the East Coast.
However, in 2018, the biggest shake-up in a generation occurred when a Supreme Court judge ruled that sports betting should be allowed and that 1992 legislation could be repealed and updated. While this didn’t directly impact the casino betting industry, it illustrated how much the attitude around gambling changed. Delaware became the first state to legalize online casino gaming, which opened up the floodgates for states to follow the same legislative approach to try it themselves. Just five years on, there are now over 20 states that have joined Delaware, with millions of Americans placing their bets at a live casino online and many other states expected to join the ranks between now and the end of the decade.
The Georgian state government and legislators follow a harsher line than many of these states, and sports betting and casino gambling are still outlawed across the state, except for State-based lotteries.
Overall, it does appear that the gambling industry in America has been able to convince some large media organizations that having a taxable, regulated gambling industry is a lot better than driving it to an undesirable black market. Regardless of the legality of gambling, portions of any country’s population will look to gamble or place bets, so the idea that it could be monitored appropriately and turned into a solid tax base is something that American legislators took a lot longer to grasp than in countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom, where gambling has been controlled and regulated for generations, providing billions in taxes for centralized governments.
The internet is now the only place many people go to find their news, especially those under 35. Very few people within the 18-35 bracket get their news via traditional sources like television or newspapers and instead opt for social media and the internet. Many analysts believe this trend will grow even further, with a huge portion of Gen Z digesting news stories via TikTok and other social media platforms.
Therefore, to understand the media landscape, we must look to the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and news websites. Sites like Bloomberg, which delivers high-quality economic news, seem to sit in an impartial zone. However, this can’t be said for all American media companies, many of which are still not getting on board with the idea of digital gambling.
Given that America is vast and divided into many types of local and national media, it’s hard to detail whether or not the rhetoric is changing. But as more big celebrities lend their name to gambling adverts and billions of dollars move into the public purse due to tax revenue, it does feel as though the dynamic is slowly changing in the United States.
Although it has only been five years since sports betting and casino gaming began to experience a golden era, the early signs would suggest that the media is getting on board and allowing these companies to operate in a fair and well-legislated market. Of course, the media is made up of voices that stretch right across the spectrum, so there will be those who are in favor and those who will always be against the idea.
However, on the whole, as sports betting becomes more commonplace during big sporting events, casino, and sports betting companies are noticing a spike in activity, profits, and people looking to seek out their services, and it’s unlikely this would occur if the media was vehemently against it.
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