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By Steve Norton
CEO, Norton Management

My comment:

Online gaming might make economic sense during the pandemic, but there are dangerous side effects, if not introduced judiciously. Online gaming allows minors to bet illegally, using a parent’s credit or banking information; in the United Kingdom, 30% of minors bet illegally in the past year. The availability of all forms of casino games and sports bets will definitely increase the number of adult compulsive gamblers.

As long as online gaming is run by licensed existing gaming operators, and the tax rate is reasonable then it will provide more tax revenue to the state, while also adding earnings to existing operators. But once the pandemic is under control, these online gaming options should be restructured, by setting dollar limits on each bet made, and further to restrict sports betting just to game outcomes - no proposition or in-game betting.

These restrictions will move some of the gaming activity back to live gaming sites and create other tax transactions on food and beverage services, room sales and other forms of gaming. Plus moving much of the gaming action back to live sites will bring back the jobs lost to the COVID pandemic, and likely keeps other operators from bankruptcy.

In the UK, online bets have been reduced from 100 pounds to just 2 pounds.

So, my advice is to consider carefully how you add online gaming to any state that already has legal casinos or other forms of gaming.