‘Gambling on sport undermines the spirit and should be banned.’ How realistic is this position?

YES: Gambling on sport undermines both the spirit and virtues associated with sport, and society has the required resources and will to both recognize such dangers and realistically address them by banning gambling on sport.     

  1. Gambling on sport may induce or encourage those within the industry to engage in dishonesty, such as match-fixing. Society should recognize how this severely undermines the quality of sports and ban gambling, which can be readily  achieved through legislation and monitoring of illegal gambling activities by authorized sports associations.    
  2. Legalized gambling on sport encourages the public to treat it as a form of easy income rather than leisure or passion for sport in itself. Society should recognize how this severely distorts the value of sport and subverts it into becoming an accomplice of socially undesirable values. Banning of legalized sport gambling should be undertaken and this can be realistically achieved through proper education of the public on the authentic virtues of sport than dubious economic value gleaned from sport gambling.  
  3. Gambling on sport may be undertaken by criminal syndicates, leading to both the erosion of sport and accompanying ill-effects on social well-being. For well-run societies with effective law enforcement agencies, such activities should be (and can be) whole-heartedly challenged by society and eliminated through the deployment of these resources.

NO: Despite the recognized dangers to the spirit and virtue of sport, gambling on sport is an embedded practice spanning all levels of society, making a total ban unrealistic. Instead, measures to  properly regulate and manage gambling on sport are more realistic and should be undertaken, thereby limiting its adverse impacts on sport.      

  1. The banning of gambling on sport should be taken to prevent the erosion of sport and its virtues. However, this is an ideal that may be difficult to achieve in reality, especially if law enforcers and sports associations lack the appropriate resources to do so. In such cases, a more realistic measure would be through proper nurturing of those in the industry to exercise moral virtue and refrain from dishonest acts in support of gambling. This may not totally eliminate gambling from sport, though it may reduce or minimize such occurrences.     
  2. Legalized gambling on sport may not undermine the spirit of sport or social well-being if it is managed and regulated properly by the authorities, making a ban less of an imperative. With the use of technology and well-trained public servants, imposing betting limits and exclusionary orders on problem gamblers may be more realistic options to banning sport gambling.
  3. Gambling on sport may be undertaken by criminal syndicates, leading to both the erosion of sport and accompanying ill-effects on social well-being. Regrettably, some societies may not have the necessary resources to totally eliminate such practices. A default alternative would be to severely punish those who do run afoul of the law, making gambling on sport a highly costly activity and thereby reducing both the incentives towards and frequency of such occurrences.