In our opinion: Legalizing online betting is a bad wager for Americans


Return To Article
  • krischem Norwalk, IA
    April 2, 2013 7:37 p.m.

    Gambling is different from other forms of entertainment precisely because it hurts others. I have done many hours of research on the affects of casinos because they are currently trying to put one in my town. Most of the jobs offered by casinos are at the poverty line. Unemployment goes up in counties with casinos. Crime is more than double that of cities without a casino. Even tax levy rates are higher with casinos (despite all of the money they say it will bring). If you look at the schools, 10 of the 28 worst rated school districts (out of 348) in my state are cities with casinos, even though there are only 18 cities with casinos. Bankruptcies go up by 49% with 19% of the bankruptcies being due entirely to gambling debt. And who pays the price? The companies and the government that are owed the money. Which really means that those businesses will either raise prices (or taxes) on everyone else, or they go out of business and have to fire all of their employees. I've never heard of anyone going bankrupt by watching a movie. Have you? Yet most of the problems with casinos are shared with online gambling.

  • Turtles Run Missouri City, TX
    March 6, 2013 10:39 p.m.


    The difference between gambling and a DUI or diving without insurance has a direct affect on others. If I drive drunk without insurance and I kill someone then I have committed a crime that affects others due to my choice.

    Gambling affects only the user. I will not kill anyone because I choose to gamble all night.

    The consequences are less dramatic in gambling.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    March 5, 2013 6:45 a.m.

    People lose money gambling while others make money at the same time. People are employed in the industry. Many states have lottery programs and they seem to be working OK.
    Why be against gambling?

  • Normal Guy Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2013 3:44 a.m.

    Dropping several thousand in an evening of gambling is extremely easy and common. I had a friend suggest to me that gambling was just his entertainment. He then promptly lost $600 in about 40 minutes of low level craps and 21 while I observed him 'being entertained'. You could take your whole neighborhood to a Jazz game for those amounts and have a great experience and memory for the purchase price. Nor will anyone become addicted and continue buying more Jazz tickets when the money has run out.

    Warren Buffet had it right, 'gambling is a tax on the ignorant'.

  • merich39 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2013 11:55 a.m.

    As someone else pointed out earlier, gambling is a form of entertainment. If someone spends $100 for a Utah Jazz ticket, hot dog and drink, noone would even consider trying to ban that. However, if someone spends $100 for an evening of on-line gambling, all of a sudden people are clamoring to enact legislation to save that second person from his vices. I just don't understand the need to save the second guy and not the first. Other than trying to force religious beliefs onto others, can anyone explain to me the so-called logic?

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    March 4, 2013 7:43 a.m.

    Free is free. Free to spend money on a AK-45 or play some poker or buy alcohol not controlled by big government. If you going to wave the freedom flag you cannot be a control freak.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    March 4, 2013 7:22 a.m.

    I've heard the arguments for gambling and other so-called "victimless crimes" my whole life. Those who make such claims are showing how irresponsible they are.

    Responsible adults have others to care for. Their money, time, and attention is a shared resource. One's dependents are victims when that money, time, and attention is wasted on destructive, addictive entertainment.

    Some who justify gambling by comparing it to securities trading make a good argument--a good argument against the wild, speculative and irresponsible trading of our recent past. We have already seen how the entire 99% become victims when such gambling is allowed. Just as regular gambling should be regulated to help keep responsible adults responsible toward their vulnerable dependents, the equities market--especially in complex derivatives--must be restricted to protect our entire economy from ever again being held hostage by greedy, irresponsible traders.

    I assume such traders are jumping with joy now that the sequester has cut the budget of the Securities Exchange Commission by $75.6 million. Again we are the victims of politicians who, like gamblers, care more about their selfish games than their constituents.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    March 3, 2013 11:56 p.m.

    A government that plays on the weakness of people is not a government for the people. It is a government against the people.

    But with that said, how many of the 47% who don't pay income tax would pay the lottery tax? I might have to reconsider if which is the lesser of 2 evils, not contributing to country, or having a lottery tax.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 3, 2013 8:11 p.m.

    @ Dave- I don't care if Mother Theresa ran a lottery to build a hospital- in my opinion state sponsored lotteries are unethical. That said, I think one good point of lotteries are that they are truly a voluntary tax (which is why they are often referred to as an "idiot tax")

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 3, 2013 7:51 p.m.

    (It looks like the week-end gremlins have struck again - my comment was truncated.)

    It looks like too many have no idea what is at stake. Anybody has the right to buy stock in a publicly traded company - stock market. They own part of that company. They can buy or sell. Their money is at risk. They "bet" that their money, when used by people with skill and training will produce products or services that benefit others.

    Gambling also allows people to use their own money. They "buy" a chance to "win" something. No product is produced. No service is provided. They're "betting" that someone else will lose and that they will win.

    That is the problem. Something for nothing. Gain without work.

    I've found the best way is to work at least 10 hours a day and to invest wisely when excess profits are available so that others can have a chance to become employed. Wanting something for nothing - or even worse - at the expense of another is not how I choose to live my life.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    March 3, 2013 6:52 p.m.

    It looks like too many have no idea what is at stake. Antibody has the right to buy stock in a publicly traded company - stock market. They own

  • dave Park City, UT
    March 3, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    red state pride,

    Lotteries have been around since the beginning of time. Look in the Book of Numbers (Bible). You will see that God ordered Moses to draw lots to distribute the land around the River Jordan.

    Thomas Jefferson wrote that lotteries are “Far from being immoral, they are indispensable to the existence of Man”.

    John Hancock organized several lotteries, including one to rebuild Boston’s Faneuil Hall. I've been there. It's a cool place.

    Ben Franklin used a lottery during the Revolutionary War to purchase a cannon for the Continental Army.

    George Washington ran a lottery to pay for a road into the wilds of western Virginia. I saw one of the tickets on the Pawn Star show a few months back. Washington also purchased the first ticket in the Federal City lottery which built up the District of Columbia.

    The facts are that a lottery has been run by our government since the inception of our country. Our founding fathers ran and participated in lotteries.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 3, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    @Shaun- the difference is that if you look at a graph of the Dow Jones since it's inception you'll notice that over time it has gone up at a 45 degree angle. Over time you cannot lose. However, if you gamble over time there is no way you can win.
    I tend to be a more libertarian conservative and I agree that people should be allowed to make choices for themselves but state sponsored gambling (aka lotteries) turn my stomach. If we're going to let Government run gambling rings why not let La Cosa Nostra handle road building and maintenance?

  • dave Park City, UT
    March 3, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    "...he struck another blow against the concept of responsible and ethical government.." That is a statement a liberal would make. As conservatives we believe in less government and freedom. To be intellectually honest we must be consistent. This want for regulation shows inconsistent thinking. No exceptions, we must accept the "bad" with the good. If not we are hypocrites.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    March 3, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    Discussing the very real societal costs of state sponsored gambling is not pandering to the LDS church or the DN. When advocates of lotteries and unlimited gambling start using the "adult freedom" excuse they also argue against helmet laws, mandatory auto insurance, DUI laws and many other government policies that protect and "...promote the general welfare."

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 3, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    How is the modern stock, bond, and commodity market any different from gambling. Bucket trading was made illegal with the glass steagall act, but it was repealed because Clinton is really a republican. Traders now have super computers and servers that can make millions of transactions in seconds.

    So what is the difference between betting on whether the dice go a certain way or whether a stock goes up or down in a day?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 3, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    Imagine your car going down the road, One fount tire is straight the other tire is turned. Boom crash burn. I can go through the motions like I understand, I can mesmerize every thing about it. But until I get the inkling that finally can touch my inner being there isn't understanding. There is a lot of dis-eases that can destroy life.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 3, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    The conundrum of utah is always how we so espouse individual freedom and responsibility but when it suits us we embrace the hyper nanny state. Let people be adulte all the time, not just when it suits the DN or the church.

  • isrred South Jordan, UT
    March 3, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    "Opposition to legal gambling is more than just moralizing. The industry adds nothing of value to the economy."

    Tell all of those people that have jobs on the Las Vegas strip that the industry adds nothing to the economy. Gambling is not a vice, it is a form of recreation and entertainment (gambling addiction, just like any addiction is a problem but the vast majority of people who gamble do so responsibly).

    If I lose $50 over the course of an evening gambling it is no different than if I spent $50 to go to the Jazz game to be entertained for a few hours except in the first instance I actually get to participate and stimulate my brain with thinking and strategizing.

    This editorial is just another in a long, long line of pointless moral grandstanding by the Deseret News.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    March 3, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    Sounds like this article is advocating a nanny state. People would have had more money in their pockets if the hedge funds and banks had announced they were gambling.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    March 3, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    "What is perhaps more disturbing, however, is how it redefines the relationship between government and the people. The more government relies on gambling revenue, the more it relies on its people to be losers, rather than partners in building a strong nation."

    That's a good point. It's also true, though, that prohibiting online gambling gives government more control over our lives and is one step towards government being our "nanny". People, not government, are responsible for their choices!