This spring or early summer, the U.S. Supreme Court might allow sports betting across the country. Not sure I view that as a good thing. Maybe it’s my Puritan roots — more likely, it’s my utter lack of success at any form of gambling, as evidenced by a recent trip to Las Vegas.
My sad tale notwithstanding, those in the know say the Supreme Court seems prepared to let states make their own determination on whether to allow sports gambling.
The lawsuit was brought by the state of New Jersey and seeks to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, a 1992 law that said any state that did not legalize sports betting by 1993 was prohibited from doing it. Interestingly, Oregon is one of four states not directly affected by the case, because prior to 1993 it had approved the Sports Action state Lottery game, which has since been dropped.
If the court rules in favor of New Jersey, somewhere between 18 and 30 states are expected to introduce bills this year to allow some form of sports gambling, according to a company that tracks gambling legislation nationwide.
Oh, boy, more chances for people to throw their spare change, or mortgage payments, into the coffers of their state governments. Strange how people who don’t like taxes are so quick to line up at the betting window — or while sitting in front of their own computer — and make deposits into the state’s bank account.
Wait, you thought the states support sports gambling, or any form of gambling, because it’s a fun pastime for their residents? Ha, keep thinking that, and the states will keep thanking you as they collect their piece of the action.
States are already hip-deep in gambling. There are state-run lotteries in 44 states, including, of course, Oregon, which had revenues of $1.25 billion in 2017.
Some say that gambling is also an economic stimulus — and who can argue given the number of Purple Parrots that have popped up in Oregon? Those provide not only minimum-wage jobs for clerks, but also increased economic opportunity for armed robbers. Jobs, jobs, jobs.
So you don’t like the crime associated with gambling? Garry McCarthy, candidate for mayor in Chicago, has an idea: “How about we put a casino in O’Hare Airport where now it’s for travelers coming through and it’s not going to affect the community,” McCarthy said last week.
Now we’re talking — slot machines in the Medford airport, anyone?
Speaking of slot machines in airports, that’s where I scored my greatest gambling victory on the recent Vegas trip. That followed several days of bad luck being my only luck, a misfortune compounded by someone else in my party constantly winning at the penny slot machines. Fortunately, my losses were kept to a minimum by my basic aversion to poverty.
That aversion produced my biggest win in the airport, where slot machines stand between the gates and departing passengers — just in case they try to escape town with any money at all. But I beat ’em.
I didn’t bet.
Bob Hunter is associate editor of the Mail Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.