Specifically, Levitt argues against the practice being illegal:
Laws that are so widely violated and blatantly ignored do not make sense to have. History (and economics) tells us that it is typically better to use the price mechanism in the form of legalization with taxes to alter peopleâ€™s behavior when that is societyâ€™s desired goal. Moralistic arguments against sports betting hold no sway when governments have so broadly institutionalized the lottery.
I consider myself a law-abiding, productive citizen in our society, yet I also enjoy wagering on sporting events as a hobby and small-time investment strategy (I’ll probably make my picks a regular feature here at Freelance Dogs).
I’ve wagered online for over four years, and have managed to hang on to my house, car, and life savings. I’ve also succeeded in avoiding attempts to fix games or otherwise corrupt the purity of sport. In short, there’s no good reason for the government to use the force of law in an ultimately futile effort to prevent me – or any other citizen – from gambling on sports.