The UK’s GambleGate scandal should be a “cautionary tale” according to the Legal Sports Report.

During the Legal Sports Report podcast, host Matt Brown and Legal Sports Report Managing Editor, Adam Candee, discussed what the US market can learn from the saga as the debate to allow election betting in legal US markets continues.

Candee said: “I have always brought up the idea of people betting their financial interests instead of betting their political or community interests in elections as a potential problem with election betting. I wasn’t thinking about the actual candidates themselves, trying to get action down nor was I thinking about those with inside information inside politics trying to place bets as well.”

Brown agreed and also questioned whether election betting was needed given that US elections happen once every four years and it would be unlikely to generate significant revenue for operators.

The Conservative party were forced to withdraw support for two of their candidates after allegations were made the pair used insider knowledge to place bets on the timing of the General Election.

Protection officers from the then prime minister Rishi Sunak‘s protection detail are also being investigated for placing similar bets.

The pair considered the impact of a similar incident to GambleGate in the US given the fledgling nature of US-regulated betting markets and recent scandals in professional sports that called into question the integrity of contests.

On a similar situation in election betting, Candee said: “Think about what would happen if we were talking about the integrity of an election that was compromised by betting markets. That is something that would probably swallow up the entirety of legal US sports betting.”

“That is what would get Congress involved in legalising sports betting immediately because then it would be their own interests that would be threatened. So is the juice worth the squeeze, I don’t think that it’s anywhere close.”

Election betting offers learning opportunities

Although Brown and Candee are sceptical about the benefits of election betting, one man who isn’t is Eric Zitzewitz, Professor of Economics at Dartmouth.

He appeared on Slate’s Hear Me Out with Celeste Headlee to explain how he believes that election gambling should be legal as market prices can be used to learn about the probability of different outcomes during the elections.

He also refuted claims from Headlee that opening up the election betting market could impact the democratic process, lead to problem gambling and shape voter intentions in the same way as opinion polls.

UK GambleGate scandal “cautionary tale” for US election betting