5/14 Forever: You May Have Heard That Online Sports Betting is Now Legal in New YorkMay 31, 2022, 8:21PM
As legalized online sports betting gradually spread from state to state, coast to coast, New York legislators realized it was high-time to make it legal in the Empire State, and quickly.
In the past, prospective bettors needed to call a local bar where a corpulent, cigar-wielding gentleman wearing a tracksuit, his diamond-studded pinky ring glimmering in the sun, was stationed out front in a deck chair to take the action. It is now a matter of signing up for the litany of websites that allow them to beat the oddsmakers and strike it rich from the comfort of their phones.
Advertising campaigns made sure that every man, woman, child and subway rat in New York knew that sports betting was legal whenever you were physically present in the Empire State. The result? New Yorkers bet $2.4 billion in just five weeks.
No longer was it necessary to make a call to a random voice on the other end of a payphone or boiler room. WiFi and the click a button was enough. Still, the advertising blitz went beyond the ubiquitous noise of insurance and beer commercials and became so prevalent that each entity sought to outdo the other with a different celebrity endorsement and signup bonuses.
The average viewer, couldn't help but be a little annoyed.
It makes me feel a little like a fogey to say it but the intensity and ubiquity of sports gambling advertising really creeps me out. https://t.co/iN34moskCv— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) October 20, 2021
Jamie Foxx, Aaron Paul, the Mannings, Halle Berry – not only did they hawk the product, but they enthusiastically provided star power and amenities to lure in the indifferent and ambivalent customer with in-game options, cash outs and the undeniable adrenaline rush of being heavily invested – literally – in the action.
As for the sites themselves, they varied in their ease of use and promotions. Caesar’s offered $300 in free bets for signees over the first month without a deposit.
Their onboarding process was more layered with valid identification and proof of address needed, but that $300 was an undeniable attraction to bettors. They and others made offers of matching deposits running into the thousands of dollars.
Many bettors opened accounts on several sites to maximize the benefits. In context, these were minor investments by the corporate overseers considering the understanding of layperson’s psychology of either playing for fun with limits or “chasing it.”
The “it” being the rush; the money they lost; wanting to compound their winnings; hoping for that big random hit like Rich Strike winning the Kentucky Derby at 80-1.
Sports gambling advertising must be reined in https://t.co/zlldNspIbP— Stephen Mayne (@MayneReport) February 20, 2022
The primary difference between betting online and the call to the local bookie is that the local bookie – no matter how skilled they are at formulating odds to their advantage – cannot work with the speed and efficiency of the computer-generated algorithms gambling sites use in real time. In addition, the sites are a fraction of a second ahead of the network feeds so they can adjust the wagering opportunities accordingly.
If, for example, a bettor had placed money on the English Premier League where Norwich City was a heavy underdog to Manchester United and Norwich scored the first goal, the betting would immediately shut down, the odds would shift and bettors would need to alter their strategy.
The advertising blitz was stifling and somewhat annoying, but it’s doubtful that anyone who intended to bet was suddenly hit with the bug simply by seeing Foxx swinging a bat, drooling over Berry or wondering when Jesse Pinkman would appear in Better Call Saul.
The endless series of commercials and sports organizations themselves promoting the practice has little to do with people running into financial trouble through sports betting.
Is it any riskier than people believing Matt Damon when he says, “Fortune favors the brave?” or thinking that Tom Brady and Giselle Bünchen’s lifestyle can be theirs simply by investing in crypto?
Those who are betting on sports will at least have some semblance of knowledge about what they’re looking at compared to crypto, where perhaps 50 people in the world can truly explain what it is, what it does and if it even exists with disagreements as to their conclusion.
Before January, if you truly wanted to gamble in New York, you could. The difference now is that it’s legal and corporate instead of a “family business.” This mirrors businesses across the spectrum.
As with any investment, sanity and calculation takes precedence regardless of ease of use and availability. The advertising for online sports betting might be obnoxious, but in the big picture, it’s of moderate impact.
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