Mar 28, 2024

Weekend Read March 29-31

Yesterday was Opening Day of baseball season and the sport's highest-paid player and two-time American League MVP, Shohei Ohtani, is mired in a sports gambling scandal. It didn't affect his performance last night, but will it affect the future of sports betting?


High Profile Case Reflects Rise of Sports Gambling Across the Country

Last week while the Dodgers were in South Korea, the story broke that Ohtani’s lawyers had accused his longtime interpreter and friend, Ippei Mizuhara, of theft of $4.5 million in wire transfers from his account to place sports bets. (CNN)

Mizuhara was fired and is being investigated by MLB for his alleged involvement in a sports-betting ring operating out of California, where gambling on sports remains illegal. Details of the case are still unclear. (The Atlantic)

While this case has garnered attention because of Ohtani's stardom, he's not alone. 

Earlier this month, the National Basketball Association fielded complaints from players and a head coach about betting’s growing influence and its potential dangers. Days later, Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter became the subject of a league investigation of alleged suspicious betting activity. The National Football League, meanwhile, suspended 10 players for betting just last year. (Wall Street Journal)

As many of you know from observing your classrooms, sports gambling has exploded since 2018 when the Supreme Court struct down a law that limited wagering on games to Nevada. 

Americans legally bet nearly $120 billion on sports in 2023, according to the American Gaming Association. Nearly 25 million more Americans bet on sports last year than in 2018, the group said, and the number of states where betting on sports is legal will reach 38 this year. (The New York Times)

Critics worry that many participants are getting themselves into debt too young. A representative from Gamblers Anonymous reports that support group members keep getting younger. (NBC News)

>> Check out NGPF's Behavioral Economics unit for lessons on identifying cognitive biases and strategies to overcome them.

>> Watch two related FinCap Fridays about this issue:  Fretting Over Online Betting and Teenagers Making Wagers


In Other News

The founder of the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange, 32-year-old Samuel Bankman-Fried, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a judge on Thursday for stealing $8 billion from customers (Reuters)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) added an unfinished Dodd-Frank Act executive compensation rule to its short-term agenda. Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 in response to the 2008 financial crisis. Section 956, which is what is back on the agenda, is intended to reign in reckless behavior on Wall Street caused by imprudent incentive compensation packages for bankers. (Reuters)

The economic impact of the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is estimated at $2 million dollars in wages a day and 8,000 jobs. (USA Today)

About the Author

Hannah Rael

As NGPF's Marketing Communications Manager, Hannah (she/her) helps spread the word about NGPF's mission to improve the financial lives of the next generation of Americans.

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