Legal Sports Betting Leads To Uptick In Problem Gambling

I Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

A recent report from New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli revealed that online gambling allowed the state of New York to rake in $727.4 million in tax revenue during the most recent fiscal year. However, during that same period, tax revenue from sports gambling at New York’s casinos decreased by 45%, and overall revenue from the upstate casinos fell short of expectations.

More ominously, Comptroller DiNapoli’s report showed that the legalization of online sports gambling in New York coincided with a 26% increase in calls to the Office of Addiction Services and Supports from persons with gambling addictions.

Any reasonable person would respond to this data by shifting resources toward helping problem gamblers and declining to further expand the availability of gambling in New York. Unfortunately, the New York State Legislature is not always reasonable. On October 31, Spectrum News reported that lawmakers are discussing the legalization of iGaming, which would allow gamblers to play roulette, blackjack, and similar games on their mobile devices. Of course, the state is already in the process of selecting and licensing up to three new casinos in the New York City area.

If state legislators believe that they can continue to make new modes of gambling available to the public without affecting the market share and profitability of the existing gambling facilities, they are living in a fantasy world. Worse yet, legalizing iGaming would only increase the incidence of gambling addiction amongst New Yorkers. It is morally wrong for our state to profit from an inherently predatory industry.

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