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Opinion: Legalized sports gambling hurts the workforce

I suspect many people are unwilling to work because they would rather gratify their passion for sports, just like investors do by placing bets on the stock market

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Men watch horse racing on an array of screen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J.

Men watch horse racing on an array of screen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2018. The Supreme Court in 2018 gave permission for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

America has opened her arms to many legalization movements over the past 70 years. We embraced the legalization of adultery in the 1950s. Then came legalization of pornography, starting in the 1960s. We legalized divorce through no-fault laws in the 1970s. In the 1980s, we blessed the practice of loan-sharking, making high interest rates easy and legal. In the 1990s we removed restrictions on Indian reservation gambling. In the first two decades of the 21st century, we legalized medical marijuana and began to legalize recreational pot.  

In 2018, sports gambling was legalized, and now states are rapidly climbing onboard just like in all these other cases. This latest freedom we have granted ourselves combines two great national pastimes, athletic competition and get-rich-quick.  

I can’t help wonder about legalized gambling’s explosive effect on today’s reluctant workforce. I suspect many people are unwilling to work because they would rather gratify their passion for sports, just like investors do by placing bets on the stock market. It’s not work, but it can replace work. It’s fun, and it pays big! 

I know it happens. My physician brother quit his Seattle practice to make it as a day trader in the stock market, and as a Vegas gambler too. His assets dwindled steadily until, in great poverty, he finally committed suicide. He anticipated today’s wild party by a couple of decades.  

Kimball Shinkoskey 

Woods Cross