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For sports gamblers, a possible state of sin
Question of the Day
It’s a losing battle. Delaware will have legalized sports betting, if not now then sometime in the near future. When that happens, prepare for a legal challenge to the federal law from other states.
Delaware, unlike many other states, has no professional sports teams within its borders, and therefore lobbying efforts by the leagues against the gambling measure are considerably weakened.
The NCAA, with the University of Delaware such a major institution in the state, does have a voice. The proposed bill, however, excludes betting on Delaware’s collegiate teams — as if there would be a stampede to wager on the Blue Hens.
Delaware also faces a battle from neighboring states for the gambling dollar. The state for many years has reaped the rewards of the slot machines at its horse tracks — and in doing so helped cripple the horse racing industry in Maryland.
Now, many of the bettors in nearby states who used to travel to Delaware to gamble can stay right at home to donate their money to the one-armed bandits.
Pennsylvania last year legalized slot machines, with 14 casinos approved for more than 70,000 slot machines. And now you have the battle taking place in Maryland, where voters will decide in November whether to approve slots.
If that happens, Delaware will be surrounded by states that offer the same vice they do. Then, really, what’s the point of going to Delaware? Tax-free shopping?
The Pandora’s box of gambling was opened long ago, when states legalized and ran their own numbers operations — government-sanctioned lotteries. Slot machines were a logical next step. And when everyone has slots, lawmakers look for a new revenue stream. Despite the moral objections, elected officials love gambling — instead of taking your money through taxes, you give them your money.
The New Jersey State Assembly passed a bill in February allowing legalized sports betting in Atlantic City casinos despite the federal ban. That measure hasn’t gone anywhere, but once Delaware approves sports betting, everyone will want into the game.
Then, the fight will be on.
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