Confine Sports Gambling To Adults

October 1, 2018

There is no surer bet than that legal gambling on sports will grow exponentially over the next several years following the Supreme Court’s ruling that a federal law barring it was unconstitutional. Nevada has had sports gambling since 1949. After the Supreme Court decision, New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware and Mississippi quickly established. Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware have passed laws authorizing it, and 15 other states have pending bills to authorize it that are likely to pass. The vast markets soon to be open to gambling pose risks to the integrity of the college and professional sports on which gamblers will place wagers, and raise the question of how such gambling will be marketed, especially to kids who spend a great deal of time online. Sports gambling regulation so far has fallen to the various state agencies that regulate other types of gambling within their borders. In Pennsylvania it is the state Gaming Control Board. Recently the U.S. House Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing on whether federal regulation is needed to oversee sports gambling, which inevitably is conducted across state and even international borders. Professionals sports leagues are concerned. They want 1 percent of the take to ensure the integrity of their games, which is ridiculous. They bear that burden regardless of whether gambling is legal, illegal or both. Ensuring the integrity of games is part of their cost of doing business at all times. The biggest question, and the one that Congress should tackle, is marketing to kids. Gambling is highly addictive, like tobacco and drugs, and Congress should approach the matter accordingly — establishing strict rules and penalties that preclude use of the internet to market sports gambling to anyone younger than 21. Illegal sports gambling long has been a addictive, destructive force on college campuses. Congress should strive to confine sports gambling to adults.

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