The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Playing the odds

MVHS community dives into the sports betting culture

Student A will remain anonymous due to privacy concerns.

Social Studies teacher Scott Victorine recalls when he was in his 20s, a time in which he gambled money on different sports games. Especially during events like the Super Bowl and March Madness, Victorine would place bets on various games and players, as well as create parlays through the Prize Picks app. However, after experiencing the world of betting firsthand, Victorine concluded that gambling money on sports was not for him. 

“I’m not into gambling myself, just because I feel like I work hard for my money and there is a lot of stuff I have to spend it on,” Victorine said. “I’d rather not leave it to chance because I would rather spend it on something tangible, like a new jacket. That chance at winning a lot of money quickly is why I think people get addicted.”

Contrary to Victorine’s belief that sports betting is purely by chance, Student A believes that there is more strategy involved in the process. However, due to Propositions 26 and 27, which outlawed sports betting in California, and the legal age for sports betting, Student A has to place bets on sports games through relatives’ accounts. 

“I have my money and I should be able to spend my money on whatever I want,” Student A said. “If I can buy a Juul at the age of 18, why can’t I bet money on games? I somewhat understand because it depends on how developed your brain is, but at the same time, I think it should be a little bit lower since when you become an adult, that’s when you start to make all of the financial decisions in your life.”

Unlike Student A, legal sports bettors such as Victorine believe that the current legal age is perfect for people to get into sports betting, also because the legal age for gambling at casinos across the country is 21.

“Anything in excess that gets in the way of doing other things in your life can be an addiction,” Victorine said. “Gambling is certainly one of them and it can be a destructive and dangerous one. I think that sports betting before 21 could get a little out of hand and developing this type of pattern early on in life could potentially lead to such an addiction.” 

According to Victorine, addiction in gambling has become a huge problem, and according to a poll from the American Gambling Association in November 2022, 71% of sports gamblers place at least one bet a week, with the average betting amount being around $35. However, Greg Matson, owner of betting consulting company California Wager sees this problem differently. Although he agrees that it is a major issue and takes action within his company to try to raise awareness and prevent addiction from happening, he views addiction as an unsolvable problem that will occur whether or not he runs his company. 

Matson began his company in 2019 with the main incentive of bringing information to sports bettors through social media and advising them about the best ways to place bets on different sports. Although the illegality of sports betting and the legal age decreases Matson’s potential clients, he supports the legal age as well as the ban on sports betting in California. 

“It makes my product a little bit more invaluable, in my opinion, because I’m doing something harder to get a hold of, but still something that people in California are doing on a full-time basis,” Matson said. “However, with the availability of being able to bet on a phone and everyone, including ten-year-old children having phones, there is just too much availability out there which could become a massive problem.”

Despite contrary beliefs on the world of sports betting, Victorine, Matson, and Student A believe that addiction is a major issue, regardless of how old they are and what types of bets they place. They believe that there is always a possibility of someone falling into the trap of addiction and that people should remain cautious after getting into the community. 

“The biggest thing that I tell all of my clients is that this isn’t some get-rich-quick scheme,” Matson said. “This isn’t. You see all these ads and commercials of guys hitting these big wild plays. It’s imperative to be cautious because what they don’t show you is the millions of people that are struggling because of addiction.”

About the Contributor
Arjun Dhruv
Arjun Dhruv, Sports Editor
Arjun is currently a junior and a sports editor for El Estoque. In his free time, he enjoys watching TV Shows and playing/watching sports with his friends.
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