It turns out the sports betting-saves-journalism concept is the brainchild of Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of the Daily News. Apparently Maureen Dowd referenced the idea last week. Matt Welch of libertarian standard-bearer Reason doesn’t like the idea because, true to the libertarian credos, he thinks online gambling should be legal for everyone.
My attitude towards gambling is about the same as my attitude towards heroin: people shouldn’t be prosecuted for engaging in it recreationally, but there shouldn’t be a legal industry developing or advertising it, and the government should do whatever it can to discourage it and to offer rehab to those unfortunate enough to get addicted to it. We have developed a habit in America of funding public goods by granting monopolies to engage in public evils. We do this because we’re unwilling to pay enough taxes to support the social goods we want as a society. There are very limited cases where this is acceptable, but in general, it’s a lousy way to run a society and a ridiculously distorted way to run an economy.
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