First booze became legal, again in the U.S., then marijuana and now sports gambling. For the life of me I cannot figure what would be next but keeping in line with the most popular vices I will go out on a limb and say prostitution. On May 14, 2018 the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was unconstitutional and that the States were the ones who could decide on the fate of sports gambling.
Its not the end of the world and everyone should keep their pants on for now or at least until prostitution becomes legalized, but the gambling climate will be sure to experience a massive change in the next few years. As mentioned above the decision comes down to the individual States, who in their ultimate wisdom will decide what’s best for the State and its voters. There will no doubt be some serious negotiating and backroom dealing on passing many of these gambling laws, but in most cases I believe that a majority of States will adopt sports gambling
What will the happen to those States who adopt Sports Gambling?
There is a short story by the English author W.W. Jacobs called “The Monkey’s Paw”, which has inspired many adaptations in film, T.V., stage and other mediums. In short, the moral of the story is to be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it! It’s a fable that has probably been around since the Ancient Greeks and can be adapted universally to all cultures, peoples, regions, etc. With the decision of the Supreme Court, there will be those in the legislature, casinos and gamblers that see this as their panacea for making money, but in the end, there is only one winner and in some cases none.
Currently many States see this as a potential new source of income, via taxes, and an opportunity to spend more money on pet projects and wasteful programs to revitalize their cities and states. We have seen this all before and in the end, nothing really changes except for those who are on the losing site of gambling. This was true for the once thriving Atlantic City in which the city and state officials believed that by opening casinos, they would be able to revitalize this beach town. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out as planned which I will discuss in the next article.
Who will be the biggest loser in the legalization of Sports Gambling?
Although still not legal in most States, sports betting is ubiquitous throughout the U.S. and its in most cases done through the local “bookie. Of course, many bets occur between friends and work colleagues, but the ones who control most of the betting and odds are the bookies. Many of these are associated with some type of larger crime organization which lends itself to loan sharks and those who benefit from the gambling addict.
Legalization will not only provide legal betting but will make betting more available and in many cases more acceptable. As with marijuana, once an industry or product receives the distinction of being “legal”, then some of those who were somewhat ambivalent might just jump into the arena. Either way the volume of gamblers will increase as the stigma will have been lifted and the dirty side of gambling will no longer be present.
Whether it’s the daily lottery or the Sunday football (American) game, those who take the biggest hit are the poor. Those who are living paycheck to paycheck are always looking for ways to better their financial situation and, in many cases, look to gambling. With the lottery being the biggest form of legal gambling, many will spend what little money they have just to win a jackpot which is in the millions to one. And of course, many of those who win the multi-million-dollar lotteries end up where they started or even worse.
In only a few cases do those who are financially well off have their lives turned upside down. One case is Leonard Tose, who was the former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Mr. Tose had an affinity for alcohol and gambling which is a deadly combination, especially when visiting Atlantic City Casinos. But these stories are few and far between as the laws such as legalized gambling, end up hurting those who they are supposed to help.
It’s very early in this long saga of sport gambling being legalized and there will be many arguments, fights and compromises before most of the States decide to embrace this new “opportunity”. As with the story the “Monkey’s Paw”, you need to be careful with what you wish for, as you just might get it.