Who suffers when we put the casino in our pockets?
I include all those apps that allow people to engage directly in the stock market as part of online gambling. These do it yourself investing tools will probably wreak as much havoc as sports betting.
I'm reminded of the fact that the initiative for Prohibition was driven by women who couldn't take it anymore when their husbands came home drunk and broke on payday. Their suffering shouldn't be minimized but what we did learn as a nation is that prohibition doesn't work. In this context I support Abdul's call for regulation. My concern is the fact that, over time, frustrated regulators turn back to prohibition. Rather than monitoring people to head off dysfunctional behavior, why not consider incentivizing positive financial choices instead. What if the federal government offered a $100 match for each monthly $100 individual contribution to a retirement date deferred account? If you want to bet on your future, why not a sure thing? The real dollar cost of social disfunction is way more than $100/month.
The rapid growth of online gambling is a symptom, a metric of the economic despair felt by so many. The difference between those who have money versus those who don’t and live pay check to pay check is growing. Today’s Ann Arbor News reported that the median Michigan household has a net worth of $117,600. More than 60% of that amount is from equity in their home! As a nation, we are as strong as those in the middle class. In a recent book by Matthew Stewart, he details “The 9.9 Percent, The New Aristocracy That Is Entrenching Inequality and Warping Our Culture.” This growing disparity will negatively affect all of us. A prosperous middle class keeps us stable and supports economic health. Our elected leaders need to understand and act on this dynamic.
When I first saw these ads, I told my wife "You know, Alcohol and tobacco products are often harmful, but they are still legal. However, I don't have to watch dozens of their ads on the evening news anymore." You want to gamble on your phone? OK. I support banning their advertising on television.
I mute these ads. They are part of the materialistic culture not realizing whom they are harming. Sick
I do not oppose legalized wagering, but I am surprised that it has been embraced by the major sports so completely. It was just over a century ago that a gambling scandal threatened the entire sport of baseball. The owners had to create the office of Commissioner to clean up their public image because they did not want an association with gamblers. Now if I want to watch the Detroit Tigers, they are on the Bally Sports Network. I believe it's just a matter of time before another point-shaving or series-throwing scandal occurs in college or professional sports. Then all the experts will pontificate on how shocked they are and how they never saw it coming. Meanwhile, Pete Rose is still banned from the Hall of Fame—for gambling!
I am a frequent user of online poker sites, wagering the munificent sums of $5, $20, or $40, although I have not waded into sports betting. Recall that the federal legislation barring online poker was snuck in as part of a port security bill promoted by Trent Lott to appease his Bible-thumping adherents who wanted to impose their view of morality on everyone else---the American Taliban in essence. Not very appealing spokespersons for abolition of online wagering. As you correctly point out, the percentage of "problem" gamblers is fairly small, although there is no doubt that for a few the allure of having a rooting interest in a sports event is irresistible. It is also true that some are inclined to wager money that they can't afford to lose. Does that mean that Big Brother Government should disallow online wagering to protect a few who cannot control their wagering? As I recall, in the Bahamas locals are barred from casinos where only tourists are allowed to play. While that protects poor people from losing money they can ill-afford to lose, it also denies them the opportunity to win money they can use. I believe that the allowance of online gambling generates significant revenue, part of which is used to address the problem of those who cannot stop themselves. Of course without sports betting or poker many might gravitate to the lottery which offers much worse odds. For my money (pun intended) adults should not be prohibited by Government from petty vices, but a portion of the revenue should be directed to helping those who are harmed by the ability to make choices.