The New York Times on Sunday, Nov. 20, published five articles that outline the corruption and damage being done to college students, universities and politicians by the promoters of online sports betting. The Journal’s front page story of Dec. 15, “Taking a gamble,” fails to mention any of the catastrophic depredations being caused by the legalization of online sports betting in dozens of states.
Here are the key findings from the New York Times’ investigative report:
1. At least eight universities in the U.S. are being paid by such gambling interests as Caesar’s Sportsbook to promote online gambling to their students.
2. Gambling industry promotions are being sent to underage students using the college student rolls.
3. Such enticements as free games are used to capture new gamblers at the schools.
4. Professional and college teams and leagues are paid millions of dollars by gambling promoters for the opportunity to advertise and promote gambling at their schools.
5. Gambling promoters make extravagant promises of huge tax benefits to the states from the online gambling revenue, which are almost always wildly exaggerated.
6. Booze, cash and gifts are lavished on legislators to win their votes.
7. Gambling promoters give lip service to treatment of student problem gamblers, but give either nothing or very little to that effort.
8. University regents have been shocked to find out what their athletic departments have negotiated and contracted with the gambling promoters.
9. Teens and young adults, the main target of the predators, have much higher gambling addiction rates than more mature adults.
Online sports betting has expanded faster than any other form of gambling. Eight universities have already signed up with the gambling predators. Caesar’s Sportsbook and other promoters are currently working on dozens of other colleges and universities. They may already be making their pitch to UNM and NMSU. They are certainly making their pitch to our state legislators.
During the past six years, the racetracks have supported legislation called “account wagering” – basically sports betting light, going online or on a phone to bet on a horse race. Fortunately, their efforts have failed to pass the Legislature, but they are threatening to promote similar legislation this coming session. If it passes, the next year, they will say, “We already have online gambling now, so we need to get more tax dollars to the state by expanding to full-scale sports betting.” The next step, taken in about 20 states, is expanding to full-blown online casino-style gambling using the casino in your pocket.
State officials and legislators need to oppose legislation to enable online gambling.
From ‘Got Questions’: The Bible does not specifically condemn gambling, betting, or the lottery. The Bible does warn us, however, to stay away from the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5). Scripture also encourages us to stay away from attempts to “get rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11; 23:5; Ecclesiastes 5:10). Gambling most definitely is focused on the love of money and undeniably tempts people with the promise of quick and easy riches. Is gambling a sin?