We recognize that gambling can be a legitimate recreational activity in an atmosphere of moderation and control, and we appreciate the assistance that some of our charities and institutions have received from casinos over the years.
However, gambling becomes morally unacceptable when it deprives someone of what is necessary to provide for his or her needs or those of others. The legalization of sports betting, especially through mobile apps, would be one of the biggest gambling expansions in our history.
If sports betting is legalized, the high quality of life that we Iowans prize may suffer from a greater number of people becoming addicted to gambling, and the suffering and damage that gambling addiction causes to families. It also promotes reliance by government on a regressive form of revenue which takes money from those who may be the least able to afford it.
The fact that illegal sports betting is already be taking place, in our view, is not a good reason to legalize it. We also note that this legislation appears to exclude revenue from sports betting from the percentage of gambling receipts that get donated to charities and community projects. In other words, the casinos wouldn’t have to donate anything out their sports betting revenue.
Every public policy proposal ought to be judged by its probable consequences in the long-run and not just its popularity or positive effect on the state’s budget. We ask the legislature to consider the negative impact that an ever-growing gambling industry will have on our families and communities. Proponents of legalized sports betting in Iowa should have to make a compelling case for change.
During the last 40 years, gambling has been taking a bigger and bigger foothold in our state. The number of casinos has grown from zero to more than 20. The legalization of sports betting, especially through mobile apps, would be one of the biggest gambling expansions in our history.