Sports betting, beginning of a probable huge wave of money

I have been against gambling since doing a class report in middle school. At that time, all gambling was illegal in New York State (I’m not sure whether Nevada had legalized gambling at that time). The harms were so obvious that I was aghast when NY legalized off-track betting and lotteries.

According to the NY Times, sports betting has recently become more prevalent. Whenever a previously illegal addictive activity becomes legal it usually results in a huge wave of money.

Key Findings From The Times’ Investigation of Sports Betting

The New York Times examined thousands of pages of documents and interviewed lobbyists, executives, lawmakers, regulators and others to understand how the sports-betting industry grew so big so fast.

David Enrich

By David Enrich, The New York Times, Nov. 20, 2022

Four years ago, it was illegal to gamble on sports in most of the United States. Today, anyone who turns on the television or visits a sports website or shows up at a stadium is likely to be inundated with ads to bet, bet, bet…

After the Supreme Court opened the door to sports betting in 2018, lobbyists pushing for the legalization of online betting lavished state officials with gifts, parties and millions of dollars in donations, at times skirting campaign finance rules. Many lawmakers proved pliant…

The federal government doesn’t regulate sports betting. A Times survey of states that have legalized such betting found that the enforcement of rules has been haphazard, that punishments have tended to be light or nonexistent and that regulators are counting on the industry to police itself.

The more people bet, the more states collect in taxes. … The sports-betting industry has been creative in devising ways to persuade people to keep betting even after they lose money, but tools to make it easier to quit — some run by gambling companies, others by states — do not always work. … [end quote]

Gambling can be addictive. Some people can’t control the urge to gamble, as described thousands of years ago in the Mahabharata when a husband gambles away everything he owns, finally gambling away his wife.

The New York Times published several articles today detailing its research on the spread of sports gambling.

In the first half of this year, Americans placed an average of nearly $8 billion per month in legal sports bets, compared with less than $1 billion a month three years earlier, according to SportsHandle, a trade publication. By 2026, some analysts predict, the average could hit $20 billion a month.

This money comes out of consumer pockets. I did a tax return (volunteer AARP Tax Aide) for a native American tribal member whose losses at the local casino were about half the earnings shown on his W-2.

I think this is deplorable, but it is what it is. A new development in our economy.
Wendy

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On-line sports books and gambling are now legal in Michigan, making it much easier for people to throw their money away, with only a few pokes at their phone. Of course, there is still the lottery, with the deafening hype by the “news” media whenever the pot gets above a trivial level.

Steve

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Hey, don’t go fooling with my lottery. I buy a ticket every time the payout goes over a billion dollars and those few moments of fantastical dreams are well worth the price.

JimA

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There were two different proposals to legalize sports betting on the California ballot this month. Both were soundly defeated.

The increase in sports betting is not a sure thing.

—Peter

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Widespread sports betting? I didn’t think that the trend towards providing more gambling options could go further, but it has.

I’m a child of the 1980s, when going to a gambling casino required going to Nevada or Atlantic City. Gambling had a seedy reputation. Remember the movie Back To The Future 2?

Gambling casinos proliferated during the 1990s. Since then, most Americans now live within easy driving distance of a casino. The proliferation of gambling casinos and sports betting reminds me of the Alternate 1985 from Back To The Future 2.

The original series The Twilight Zone had an episode involving a gambling addict called “The Fever”. This is one of those episodes that’s even more relevant now than it was when it first aired back in 1960. Only a very small percentage of Americans had access to casinos back then. You can bet that gambling addiction has multiplied by orders of magnitude since those days. The days when the average person had to travel over 500 miles to reach a casino are long gone, and it’s hard to imagine how this genie can be returned to its bottle.

In Michigan, the (L&Ses) address the moral issues by reassuring people that lottery proceeds fund education. Of course, the (L&Ses) do what they always do: play a shell game. Money from gambling goes into the education budget, so they take money from other sources away from the education budget.

Steve

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OK - I agree that sponsoring gambling is despicable, but on a lighter note: How do we make money from this trend?

Jeff

You have to be careful about what you outlaw because “some” people abuse it. We tried that with Prohibition and it was a miserable failure. We tried that with marijuana and the results, although it took longer to play out, destroyed many lives before being legalized in much of the country.

We’ve done this “ooh, ooh watch out” with many things, and sometimes it’s effective an sometimes it’s not. The lottery was just the first step in normalizing gambling, which has had a Puritanical history in the country, even though it was common in saloons in the West and at horse facing tracks in the Northeast. Once the lottery spread it was just a short hop to “legalized gambling.”

I am against sports betting for the simple reason of corruption of vulnerable young sorts players, not because “some people will bet too much”, although that will certainly happen too.

I don’t know where the line is: it seems to keep moving.

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On thing the moral crusaders will probably hold the line on is prostitution. Legal gambling puts lots of lovely money in the hands of the (L&Ses), and has barriers to entry, because it takes some CAPEX to get a gambling facility open. Barriers to entry for prostitution are low however, so the “JCs” and the (L&Ses) would have a harder time cashing in on it.

Steve

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