SI Vault
 
A Losing Bet
William F. Reed
August 26, 1991
The line on legalizing sports gambling? The author says it's a bad idea
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
August 26, 1991

A Losing Bet

The line on legalizing sports gambling? The author says it's a bad idea

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

?Legalized gambling just doesn't make sense from a practical standpoint. For openers, who would establish the betting line? Are states willing to trust some guy in Las Vegas? How would the states know that the oddsmaker would not be susceptible to a bribe? What would a state do if it suddenly found itself taking a bath because of a bad line? A bookmaker can balance his books by laying off bets with other bookies. I'm not sure states would be willing or able to do the same thing.

Oh, yes. I also should mention the moral contradictions. Let me see if I've got this straight. The numbers racket is illegal if it's run by mobsters but perfectly all right if the states run it and call it a lottery. And betting on games is illegal if you call your friendly neighborhood bookie, but it's O.K. if the government gets into it. Everybody see the difference? If so, there area lot of guys in jail for illicit gambling—most of whom have been apprehended at considerable cost to the taxpaying public—who would like an explanation.

1 2