COUNTERPOINT: Expanding sports gaming a bad bet for South Dakota
Guest column by Norman Woods, Family Heritage Alliance
This year the legislature will be looking again at the topic of online sports betting. House Joint Resolution 5006 seeks to expand the constitution’s language on sports betting to include mobile platforms. The change would enable casinos in Deadwood to receive bets from a mobile device anywhere in the state, which is a dramatic expansion from what voters passed previously — the ability to place a bet inside a Deadwood casino.
The current laws allow for someone to place a bet inside a casino in Deadwood. This barely passed the House of Representatives, after failing the previous year. The legislature generally defeats expansions of gambling because they see the harmful effects of addiction. But this didn’t appear too harmful. Sitting with your friends and betting on a game while you enjoy a burger didn’t seem like a harmful thing. Definitely not something you could compulsively spend your paycheck on without anyone noticing. Definitely not something with a high risk of addiction.
Talk to any counselor, any pastor, any therapist, any addiction specialist and they will tell you that isolation is a key ingredient in any addiction. The addicted person will always seek isolation. As one former addict explained, “If you are a compulsive gambler, you will not win on willpower alone. You will go deeper and darker than you ever imagined, and it takes a community of people to overcome this.”
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