The U.S. Supreme Court jumped into the gambling fray last week when it killed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), effectively paving the way for legalized sports betting throughout the country. Now it will be up to the states to decide whether or not to allow residents to bet on sports.
PASPA, signed into law by President Bush the Elder in 1992, was meant to protect the sanctity of sports and ensure that games would continue to be played for wholesome entertainment and not for gambling degenerates. But with the Internet and mobile gaming granting bettors the ability to blow hoards of cash on professional sports in spite of state limits, the joke was on Bush.
Gambling was built into the fabric of sports since day one. The NFL, for example, makes point spreads and the over/under crucial parts of its pregame shows and meanwhile the NCAA tournament, played by athletes that are essentially children, would practically cease to exist if brackets weren’t inextricably linked to the games. By legalizing sports gambling, states would finally get a taste of the action as revenue would flow in and fill those coffers that always seem to be running low.
But is it morally prudent to go the way of Vegas and legalize sports betting across the board? Are we in danger of creating a generation of citizens whose adherence to financial stability is solely based on Sunday’s underdog covering the spread? Is it just me, or are we barreling toward our very own version of the Roman Empire? Are nationally televised Colosseum-esque duels to the death on the horizon?
That’s probably hyperbole. But at the very least, completely legalizing sports gambling for millions of people whose lives are spent staring at and living in their phones seems akin to hooking an alcoholic up to an intravenous drip of whiskey.
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