Opinion: Sports Betting Ira Boudway, Bloomberg · December 2, 2019 at 11:36 am One of the main objections to legalizing sports betting used to be that it would tempt players and officials to rig games. But that’s become something of a moot point following an explosion of illegal sports gambling via online bookmakers. In fact, many sports bodies and law enforcement agencies now argue that the best way to combat match-fixing is to bring sports betting out of the shadows. Whatever the risks, the potential tax windfall from legalization may be too alluring to pass up for many jurisdictions. By legalizing the practice in 2018, the U.S. is becoming the biggest test case in sports gambling history. The Situation Betting on sports is legal from Australia to western Europe, but flourishes globally even when it’s outlawed. Sportradar AG, a Switzerland-based data company that monitors betting markets for fraud, estimates that 1.5 trillion euros ($1.7 trillion) in wagers are placed worldwide annually, with the majority going through unregulated markets.