The $250 billion domestic gambling industry gained access to a new $150 billion market, thanks to the Supreme Court in May. The 6-3 decision by the Court in Murphy v. NCAA opens the floodgates to sports gambling, while naively inviting Congress to clean up the mess that the Court just created.
Gambling wrecks families with a vengeance. The suicide rate among gamblers is higher than for any other addiction, and estimates are that a wagering habit pulls down ten people associated with the addict.
A family can lose its entire savings in one gambling binge, and many do. Gambling also corrupts our political system more than other addictions, as casino owners toss donations to candidates who then return the favors in spades after their election.
Gambling afflicts the poor more than the rich, and the uneducated more than the college graduates. Minorities and youth are particularly exploited by gambling.
Congress and most states have repeatedly expressed strong public policy against gambling, which was illegal nationwide at the turn of the 20th century but expanded during the Great Depression.
Today, 60% of Americans are sports fans, most of whom rearrange their schedules to watch their favorite teams. Until now, it has generally been illegal to target those sports fans with solicitations to bet on games.
But the Court dealt the gambling industry a royal flush, when they held that Congress was wrong, the Trump Administration was wrong, and conservative groups (including Phyllis Schlafly Eagles) were wrong in urging the Court to uphold the federal law against sports gambling.
Justice Sam Alito wrote this decision that struck down an Act of Congress, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which has worked well for 26 years in limiting sports gambling. This ruling illustrates that when the Court makes headlines, it is almost never in a good way.
As a result, the task of defending against the scourge of sports gambling falls on state legislatures and the Department of Justice. Families will need to be more vigilant to keep their sports-fan children from getting pulled into the dark underworld of gambling that will destroy their lives.