Sports Gambling - A Controversial Issue

November 13, 2017
Johann Kassim

Sports gambling is a form of betting on sports events. 

It is the placing of money in the hope of winning returns based on the outcome of these events. This may cover sports like football, basketball, and the athletics. Or it could also include non-sporting events such as political elections. And, even non-human competitive sports such as horse and greyhound racing. Any event where there are two parties, but only one winner; has the potential of becoming a subject for sports gambling. The thrill that sports gamblers seek is not in the events per se, but the risk they take on its outcomes. The higher the stakes, the greater the high. It has the potential to become an addiction. This is because the process of thrill-seeking offsets pleasure in the midbrain. Hence, gambling as a whole, is one of what addiction experts, term process addictions. For more on gambling as a process addiction, click here.

When sports gambling becomes an addiction, it becomes pathological. This means it ceases being a game of chance; and becomes in turn; a disease. Without proper interventions, like most diseases, it gets worse. While some parties may see sports gambling as a harmless sport, they may not realise the consequences it has on the addict. Hence, it makes the legality of such sports, a controversial issue. Are we defending the right to gamble or are we taking measures to help our fellow citizens overcome their illness?

What are the types of betting in sports gambling? 

To understand the nature of sports gambling, it's necessary to see how it is played. It is in such processes, that addictions develop. Below is a list of types of betting within the sports gambling arena. They are as follows: Moneyline bets   Betting on the money line means that the team you bet on, needs to win the game outright. Spread betting This type of betting levels the playing field. Either, the bet is won by having your favourite team win based on the margin listed. Or, the underdog has a buffer to lose the game or win it outright.

Total (Over/Under) A sportsbook (the one in whom bets are placed with) will set a predicted score. Wagers come in the form of predicting whether it is over or under that allotted score.

Proposition Bets These bets are based on proposing certain events to happen either during a game. Sometimes such predictions can also be made towards the end of the game.

Parlays These are an accumulation of various types of wagers/bets. Winning a parlay depends on all proposed wagers to be won in a single event. The benefit of a parlay is a higher payoff due to its greater risk.

Teasers A teaser consists of 2 to 10 bets, but adjusted to your own advantage, at a lower return. It can be a parlay, but with added advantages to win. Yet, the turnout will be lower than a parlay due to lowered risk.

"If" Bets The wager has won the bet if the first parameter after the "if" comes true. This could be an all out win, tie, win/tie, lose, or lose/tie. A parlay of 2 to 6 teams gets activated by this "if".

Run-line, puck line, or goal line bets. These are bets based on the various sports to which these terms apply. For example, a puck line is used in ice-hockey and a goal line in football/soccer. Generally, these bets are based on players meeting their goals. I.e, the run-line for baseball, puck line for ice-hockey, and goal line for football/soccer.

Future Wagers Mainly applied to races, it allows wagers to be made on future contestants.

Head-to-Head These bets occur in sport events that have a third outcome. Usually competitive sports like ice-hockey and football involve either one of the teams. But, where a draw is possible, or a neutral position gained; wagers of this type can be made.

Totalizators This is a system of betting based on aggregates. Usually, used at race betting such as with horse-racing.

Half Bets These bets occur either for the first or second half of any given game.

In-play betting This is the process of betting that happens during the event. It starts after the event has begun, and ends, with its conclusion.

A Controversial Issue of Local Interest in Malaysia: 

Sports Gambling in Malaysia Malaysia is a muslim country. As such, its Muslim citizens are forbidden to gamble as it is against their religion. But, for non-Muslims, this is a very different issue. Malaysia has legal gambling options. These range from the one and only casino at Genting Highlands; to slot machines, lotteries, and horse racing. All other forms of sports betting is considered illegal in the country. However, in 2010, there was a short lull in which licences were issued for this type of gambling. According to online sources, Malaysian tycoon, Vincent Tan received a license to run betting on various sports in 2010. At the time, the Finance Ministry reasoned that by doing so; they were curbing the offset of illegal establishments. The government feared a loss in tax revenue, which came up to RM4 billion due to illegal gambling dens. But, this window for licensing sports betting, closed soon after various institutions opposed the move. The Federation of Malaysian Consumers and Islamic agencies clamped down on the move. Their argument was that the government was not supposed to encourage gambling in this country. Hence, today, the controversy of gambling in Malaysia still exists. As a Muslim country, there is a moral conscience to stave the habit. Yet, among the non-Muslim citizens, it has reaped the country, a lucrative income, that has not gone unnoticed by the government. Thus, the dissonance lies between the nation's values and their economic interest.

Sports Betting is Gambling Whether legal or not, sports betting is still gambling. For pathological gamblers, it sets off a process to which all hell breaks loose. They lose their income, their families and friends; and their lives. It can also lead to alcohol or substance abuse as cross-addictions. And as a disease, it will get worse over time. Thus, we recommend treatment. In treating gamblers, we've found that they become better people who are capable of living useful lives. Addicts in recovery are a valued resource. But, all that starts with treating the gambling addiction. Take a read at "why counselling is important for gambling" to understand why treatment helps. For more information, give us a call. We'll be always happy to help you with your gambling concerns.

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