Sports gambling is not a massive new industrial development

Gambling is a tax on people who are bad at math

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that will open the door wider for legal sports betting, there’s been major press coverage, not just in the sports world, Because Mississippi’s casinos will be among the first in line to facilitate legal sports betting, there’s been no shortage of headlines about the potential for sports gambling in the state. In my opinion, some of the media coverage and other public reaction in the state almost seems like an exciting celebration.

I was already living in Washington, D.C. when casinos were going full blown on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Mississippi River. On my first trip back home after the casinos were in operation, I quickly noticed the numerous pawn shops that had opened in Biloxi and Gulfport. Crime, of course, had also increased. I soon learned the casinos pumped oxygen into their gaming areas. They didn’t want people to get too sleepy while drinking and gambling at all hours of the night. When they first opened, many of the casinos lowered the usual take for the house to encourage betters to think that lining their pockets with gambling winnings might be easier than it eventually would be. School teachers told me that after the casinos opened, the number of school lunches bought by students decreased towards the end of the school week. Early in the mornings, I watched as armored trucks pulled up in front of the major hotels/casinos. The armored trucks were taking money away, not putting it in the casinos. On the other hand, years later when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the casinos were rapidly constructed and back in business. There’s no question at all that the casinos contributed a great deal in the Gulf Coast economy bouncing back from the tragedy of Katrina. The same will happen when Mississippi casinos offer legal sports betting. Additional revenues will flow not only to the casinos but to many other businesses located in the same areas as casinos.

Jim Geraghty is a senior contributor for National Review and National Review Online. Geraghty wrote an excellent column recently about when we might expect when sports gambling is allowed in Mississippi and other states where it is currently not taking place.

In the article he notes politicians are always touting tax revenues of gambling as a “magic wand for every budget problem.” I’m sure there are politicians in Mississippi who will also tout the great economic benefits to our state when sports gambling takes place. He mentions a New Jersey congressman who wrote in 1969 that if the Garden State enacted a lottery, the state could abandon all taxation and increase every service of the state four times over. Geraghty writes that New Jersey residents will assure you things didn’t turn out that way.

Star Mississippi State player shaved points when Bulldogs won SEC basketball title

The big college basketball “fix” scandals took place in the early 1950s. There have been others since then, including one that involved a major eastern crime family. There is one that hit closer to home. In 1961 Mississippi State won the first of three successive SEC basketball championships and what would be the fourth league title in five years. The star player on that team was All-American Jerry Graves. Graves was a second round pick by Chicago in the NBA draft after he graduated from MSU. Graves denied he shaved points and said he just provided “information” to gamblers. Nevertheless, Graves was banned from the NBA after the league examined the evidence from an FBI investigation of Graves. I don’t believe Graves ever tried to throw a game so State would lose, however, there is no question he shaved points. Six games were cited as contests when Graves shaved points so the Bulldogs, even when winning, won by less than the point spread.

Spend your entertainment dollars however you want, be it dining out for dinner, taking in a show or even gambling. Just remember, with sports betting, the winner will eventually be the house.

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