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Easy access to sports gambling greatly concerning

edit:casino time:2018-05-26

In fact, the General Assembly with the support of Gov. Tom Wolf — once again turning to gambling expansion as a cure-all for the state’s never-ending financial problems — put the framework in place for legalized sports betting well before the justices ever gave us their opinions.

Under Pennsylvania law, anyone who has a slot machine license can also apply for what the state terms a “sports gaming certificate,” provided they’re willing to pay the $10 million upfront fee and give the commonwealth 36 percent of all sports gambling revenue in taxes each year.

The key is that now, just like other forms of gambling, casinos will be able to offer gambling to anyone with an internet-connected computer, cellphone or tablet anywhere within Pennsylvania’s borders, including right here in the Juniata Valley.

Needless to say, that’s quite concerning.

It would be one thing for the state’s 12 (soon to be 13) casinos to open a sportsbook on site, take wagers there — which many of them will — and leave it at that. But to make it so that anyone in Pennsylvania age 21 or older will be able to whip out their phone and bet seems like gambling addiction waiting to happen.

Sports leagues have made it no secret that they want in on the action (and the revenue that comes with it), so you’ll almost certainly be able to not only bet on the outcomes of games, but various “prop bets” on occurrences within the game like who will score the next touchdown, hit the next home run, score the next goal, etc. That means dozens of bets could be placed by one person during a single game — an environment that will almost certainly be a breeding ground for addiction.

Easier access via mobile phones, computers and tablets also means easier access for people younger than 21, especially children, to illegally participate under the username and account of a parent or other adult, possibly without them knowing about it beforehand.

Despite what the casinos will tell you, they’re more than happy to put the onus on the gambler to make sure that doesn’t happen.

And we haven’t even gotten into the incentive for high-stakes gamblers to try to affect the results of sporting events for their own personal gain.

What hasn’t helped either is the recent glorifying of sports gambling, with the running of the Triple Crown horse races (the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes) to the improbable story of the National Hockey League’s Vegas Golden Knights making it to the Stanley Cup Final in the franchise’s first year of existence despite being listed as a 200-to-1 or greater longshot at the beginning of the season to win the championship.

But for every longshot that hits, there are tons of bets that don’t. There’s a saying in Nevada (where single-game betting has been legal for years), that the casinos (and the sportsbooks within them) weren’t built by their patrons winning. Gambling operations are always set up to favor the house. The allure of winning big often clouds the judgment of many from understanding the unlikely odds of doing so.

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Casino websites wishes you to enjoy online casino responsibly.

Never play online casino with money you can't afford to lose and be aware of the fact that gambling is not a way of earning money.

Gambling may cause pathological addiction if it is not enjoyed in moderation.

If you feel like you have to limit your gambling behavior, contact Gamcare for professional help.

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