Should Peyton and Eli Promote Sports Betting?

Tim Rickabaugh, Professor of Exercise Science

The next epidemic likely to affect young Americans might just be sports gambling addiction. I’ll admit that I watch way too much football, and being an NFL fan since 1970, I know quite a bit about the sport. In fact, my mighty Smashing Bumpkins squad won a fantasy football dynasty league championship this season. This could easily create the illusion that I know more about the NFL than the bookies, but I am wise enough to know that, given time, they always take your money. Recent statistics associated with the growth of US sports betting are actually quite alarming.

Data below from Altenar, Inc. summarizes US betting activity since 2016:

Year Total Betting (All Forms) Sports Betting
2016 $7.5 Billion $4.0 Billion
2020 $12.0 Billion $6.0 Billion
2022 $14.0 Billion $7.0 Billion
2027(projected) $24.0 Billion $13.0 Billion

In addition to the exponential growth of the sports betting industry, it is especially alarming that the highest participation rate is for those individuals that earn less than $50,000 per year (S & P Global, 2023). One can also speculate that young males, many of whom perceive themselves as sports experts, are the target audience for companies such as Caesar’s Sports Book and Draft Kings. Much like the tobacco industry marketing strategy, if you can hook a smoker (gambler) at a young age, you are very likely to have a life-long consumer.

Given the potential of online sports betting to cultivate a young generation of gambling addicts, I am perplexed that they can find wholesome sports figures, such as Peyton and Eli Manning, to willingly market their product (experience). Caesar’s Sports Book, along with Peyton and Eli, only makes money when you lose more bets than you win. The highly skilled professionals that set the odds are simply going to ensure that you lose your hard-earned money given enough time, of which they have an unlimited source. Five dollars to earn $200 in free bets may actually end up costing you thousands!

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