The Supreme Court last week tossed a federal law that prohibited states from legalizing sports betting. The general expectation is that states will hurry to do so. In some cases, that’s true. New Jersey, the plaintiff in the case, already has the infrastructure in place.
But that Minnesota can do this does not mean it should do this. And the bizarrely giddy reaction from legalization advocate state Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, gives an unintentional reason why: “This is going to be like Sunday liquor on cocaine.”
The easier we make it for people to lose money betting on pro or college sports, the more money they will lose, and the more problem gamblers we will create. And be under no illusion about the losing. The reality of legal gambling is that the games are set up for players to lose. The specific game doesn’t matter — slots in an Indian casino, a Powerball ticket at the gas station, pari-mutuel betting at Canterbury Park, pulltabs at the corner bar. In the long run, the more you bet, the more you lose. Sports betting is no exception.
The lottery, it has been said, is a tax on people bad at math. Sports betting will be a tax on people who think they know more about sports than they do, and there are a lot of us. That’s bad public policy.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE Mankato Free Press