Will Biloxi sports betting hurt Alabama athletics?
Will Mississippi’s newly legalized sports betting hurt Alabama athletics? One state legislator has a dire warning for college football fans.
Representative Rich Wingo (R-Tuscaloosa) played five seasons for the Green Bay Packers and knows the dangers of mixing sports and gambling first-hand. Wingo told WBRC that the FBI would show up every year at team meetings to talk about sports gambling and how gamblers will try and get involved with players to affect the outcome of a game.
“College sports are going to eventually be compromised and people are going to wonder if that kid missed that field goal on purpose or dropped that catch on purpose,” Wingo warned.
Sports betting is only legal in a handful of states, Alabama’s eastern neighbor now included. Mississippi’s first lawful sports wagers took place Wednesday at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi.
Gamblers can now travel from far and wide to Mississippi and bet on just about anything from college football to the NFL, to basketball and baseball. Many Alabamians are expected to make the trip across the state line to do just that.
However, detractors worry that legalized sports betting will take the fun out of watching, and perhaps playing, the game itself.
“When a kid misses a field goal, instead of feeling bad for him now you are going to have people that are probably going to send him death threats because they lost a bunch of money,” Wingo added, via WBRC.
Could legalized sports betting in Mississippi compromise the integrity of college football and other sports in Alabama? Will the fan experience be diminished? These are the questions being asked, and time will provide the answers.
In Alabama, gambling on greyhound and horse racing is legal. Gambling involving other sports would need to pass a referendum of the people.
Alabama is also one of nine states that outlaw the nationally-booming online business of daily fantasy sports.