Letters to the Editor

Letter: Online sports betting bad idea

To the Editor:

Internet sports gambling is a massive expansion of gambling. Access to sporting events worldwide 24 hours a day makes gambling just a click away and fuels gambling addiction. Internet sports gambling appeals to young people, who could place bets over their phones or computers with no one knowing.  

Sports gambling advertising is very aggressive. A recent study found that Twitter users under the age of 18 who follow popular sports accounts are being “bombarded” with gambling ads. Studies indicate that youths who view these ads are more likely to gamble.

Nearly 10 percent of the high school students are gambling online, and more than 40 percent are gambling in any form, according a study published in Science Daily. A 2016 survey by the NCAA found 24 percent of male athletes and nearly 5 percent of current NCAA women wagered on sports in the past year.

Millennials (those 25-34 years of age) were responsible for the biggest increase in online gambling last year. Online sports betting will create a new generation of problem gamblers.

Legalizing sports gambling will not eliminate illegal gambling nor prevent underage gambling. Legislators were cautioned notto tax sports gambling too high, so the state will get a small “cut” of the losses and shoulder all the costs of regulation, criminal justice and socialcosts.  

In New Jersey, which led the way for sports gambling, the governor does not considersports gambling to be a game changer and is still trying to raise income andsales tax. Gambling interests would bethe big winners in this scheme and could make a fortune luring people to gamble.

Anita Bedell, Executive Director

Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems

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