In May 2018, the Supreme Court of the US struck down PASPA, the federal law banning single-game wagering. Each state now can set its own rules for online sports betting. Till now, around 38 states and the District of Columbia have either legalised or offered legislation for gambling on sports.
Richard Daynard is a University Distinguished Professor of Law and President of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at the Northeastern University. He believes that increase in the number of casinos in the US have already eaten into the savings of people who didn’t previously have access to slot machines and roulette wheels. According to him, the emergence of legal sports betting by smartphone will create even more vulnerability.
Daynard says, “Like tobacco and alcohol companies, legal bookmakers will profit most of all from users who are susceptible to addiction”.
According to him, Gambling and alcohol use are similar. Most people who are into alcohol or gambling are not addicted. But there’s a subset in both cases of people who are addicted. The subset produces a very high fraction of the revenue. If out of 100 people, only 10 are addicted, then the addict should be responsible for 10 percent of revenues; but they are responsible for 30 or 40 percent, because they’re at it all the time. Daynard also pointed out that once gambling is available in every possible way, at some point the market will saturate. But at a very high public-health cost.
“There will be an awful lot of unhappy people and unhappy families and impoverished families. A lot of addictive behavior is impulsive, and if you have difficulty resisting something, then having it at your fingertips is going to make it all the harder to resist”, he says.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman