Opinion: Sports betting in Arizona may have set national records, but the state treasuries saw little money. Meanwhile, “Free” bets have attracted players who rarely win.
Sports betting is exploding in Arizona, but don’t get too excited as only a handful of already wealthy people pocket most of the money that gamblers have predictably lost.
The sports betting mechanism is an intricate network precisely designed to attract sports fans to gambling while some operators enjoy most of its wealth.
Almost nothing, or very little, goes to the Arizona Treasury to fund residents’ needs.
Arizona sports betting took bets of $ 777 million and won nearly $ 70 million from players in the first two months of operation, reported Ryan Randazzo of The Arizona Republic. That was a new monthly record for US sports betting.
But the professional sports teams and Native American tribes that have been licensed to operate the personal and mobile betting sites keep most of that money.
Sweet deal right?
Sports betting works as planned
That is by design. This is exactly what Republican Governor Doug Ducey wanted last year when he signed a law to legalize online sports betting.
The result is not surprising. It works exactly as it was designed, but that still doesn’t make it right.
Oddly enough, Republican Senator Michele Ugenti-Rita, who voted against the law, appears to be the only one who is still angry about the public being kidnapped about the gambling deal.
For example, Randazzo reported that mobile sports betting only won $ 32 million from players in September after paying out the winners but not paying all of them to the state.
Why? Because the mechanism allows licensees to write off all “free bets” in the early years, and they offered many of these incentives.
“It was precisely for this reason that I voted against the expansion of gambling. The public got screwed, ”said Ugenti-Rita, who is running for the office of foreign minister, on Twitter.
“You lost $ 32 million and the state got nothing. The real winners are the voracious sports teams who drain their fans. The rich who get richer will be the legacy of @dougducey $$$, ”she said.
For gamers, things will get worse in the future
Ugenti-Rita is absolutely right. But everyone knew that from the start and said nothing. Only a handful protested against this huge giveaway for the rich.
The thought is that the state or the public should take some of the benefit from these losers when people are ready to bet.
That exists. But something more sinister happens.
The “free” bets that allow licensees to keep most of the money for the first few years could be addicting.
And once they are addicted and the “free” bets disappear because they are no longer so lucrative for licensees, the addicted players have to start selling everything they have in order to place these bets.
Do not believe me? Just wait and see.
Unfortunately by then it will be too late for the losing players, almost all of whom are betting. Who will be responsible for the lives ruined by gambling?
Until then, the ex-governor at the time, who set the whole thing up, will certainly fall back on his mantra of “personal responsibility” and wash his hands.
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