Get Bigger ‘Take’ From Sports Bets

Five and one-half million dollars doesn’t even amount to chicken feed in the context of the billions of dollars wagered on sports every year in the United States. Yet that is one estimate, by some in the state Senate, of how much West Virginia government would get annually by legalizing the practice here.

State legislators are right to be working on a sports betting bill. As we have pointed out, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to allow state-sanctioned sports betting later this year.

But this should not be a case of letting haste make waste.

Think about it: Under bills moving through both the state Senate and House of Delegates, the state’s five gambling casinos would be permitted to handle bets on sports events. They would have a monopoly on that.

After buying some computer hardware and software, the casino’s costs would be minimal. Much of the operation would be virtually automatic.

Casinos would have to pay $100,000 each for licenses to handle sports wagering, with renewals at the same price every five years.

While they are raking in the cash from sports betting, the casinos would have to pay state government just 10 percent of adjusted gross receipts.

No wonder so many who warn of the dangers of gambling note that the odds are always with the house. Ninety percent of the take certainly sounds as if the casinos, not the state of West Virginia, would win the pot on sports gambling.

Legislators should take another look at it. Surely the state’s “take” can be better.

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