March Madness is over, but what isn’t over, is the annual ritual of cash exchanging hands, of bets cashed in and those who are lucky acquiring a little more wealth through sheer dumb luck.
Legalization is a word thrown around a lot in this country, regarding different subjects, and there’s one thing many people can agree on being legalized.
You guessed it, sports gambling. That $5 bet you made with a friend or relative about 16-seed UMBC beating one-seed Virginia is technically illegal.
Sports gambling is only legal in regulated casinos or racetracks, said casinos are concentrated in places accessible to all fans. These places include Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
That needs to change, now.
According to a yearly estimate done by the American Gaming Association, a total of $10 billion is expected to be wagered on March Madness in 2018.
Here’s the catch, a meager 3 percent of that money changes hands legally.
Yet, the question remains of whether to remove the ban on state-sponsored sports gambling.
In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer.
All these politicians on both sides blustering about fixing the infrastructure have overlooked perhaps the biggest internal revenue source in the country, the American sports fan.
Think about it, the fan places a bet from their own home on a mobile device. A small portion of the betting fee is for tax purposes, but included in the price of the bet, similar to how taxes are built in to gas prices. If the fan wins, a small portion of their winnings are taxed, similar to the lottery.
The infrastructure isn’t the only thing taxed gambling money could fund. The money could fund schools and other government programs useful to the common people that cannot be funded through other means.
Another alternative would be taxing the private betting-companies, who then pass the fee onto the person betting.
While the counter-argument is that sports gambling is hard to regulate, and can often lead to loan sharks and bookies potentially harming debtors. This argument would be rendered invalid if sports gambling is regulated at the state and federal level, similar to the oversight given to places such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
If the American infrastructure has as much of a problem as politicians say, then the everyman sports fan’s betting slip is the answer.