The U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow states to legalize sports gambling leaves us betting Illinois will be scoring taxes in time for basketball season.
Like too many poor, desperate people, state lawmakers will replace hard work with games of chance. No need to watch your pennies when you can win big bucks. No need to seek treatment for your addiction to gambling taxes.
We’re mighty far from the 1990s, when we were so worried about gambling being too accessible that we put casinos on boats in the middle of the rivers. Sports betting holds the potential to gamble on your smartphone, placing bets on every game, inning or pitch.
One argument is that legalizing sports book will protect gamblers by eliminating organized crime. Maybe, or maybe the local bookie figures out how to offer better odds or payouts when he isn’t paying taxes or business overhead.
Taxes are the real prize. One estimate was below $100 million in Illinois, but a gaming researcher put the figure at $300 million to $681 million.
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If sports gambling comes to Illinois, it should not be online. It should require a destination, and that should be the place that’s been betting on one sport since 1925.
Fairmount Park horse race track needs something to save it. Sports book makes more sense than competing with the slot machines found in every local bar and fraternal hall, plus 5,000 gaming cafes across the state.
The camel’s nose is already under the tent. Maybe he’ll let Seabiscuit find a little shelter, too.
Taxes are the real prize. One estimate was below
$100 million in Illinois, but a gaming researcher put the figure at $300 million to $681 million.