Letter to editor

To the editor:

SPRINGFIELD (May 24, 2018) – Internet sports gambling is a massive expansion of gambling. Access to sporting events worldwide 24 hours a day makes gambling just a click away and fuels gambling addiction. Internet sports gambling appeals to young people, who could place bets over their phones or computers, without their families knowing.

Sports gambling advertising is very aggressive. A recent study found that Twitter users under the age of 18 who follow popular sports accounts are being “bombarded” with gambling ads. Studies indicate that youths who view these ads are more likely to gamble.

Nearly 10 percent of the high school students are gambling online, and more than 40 percent are gambling in any form, according to a study published in Science Daily. A 2016 survey by the NCAA found 24 percent of male student athletes and nearly 5 percent of current NCAA women wagered on sports in the past year. Millenials (those 25-34 years of age) were responsible for the biggest increase in online gambling last year. Online sports betting will create a new generation of problem gamblers.

Legalizing sports gambling will not eliminate illegal gambling nor prevent underage gambling. Gambling interests have cautioned states not to tax sports gambling too high. Illinois would get a small “cut” of the losses, shoulder the costs of regulation, criminal criminal justice and social welfare, and gambling companies would make a windfall. Sports would be changed forever.

Call your legislators at (217) 782-2000 and tell them no more gambling!

Anita Bedell, executive director, Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, Springfield