New Jersey state senator Raymond Lesniak has decided that with his state in financial distress, it's about time to start legalizing naughty things just so they can be taxed. Today's money grab involves legalized sports gambling; Lesniak filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn a federal ban on betting on sporting events. He cites millions of untaxed dollars heading out of his fine state:
"Sports betting in the U.S. is unregulated, untaxed and illegal," Lesniak said at a Statehouse news conference. "Rather than supporting thousands of jobs, economic activity and tourism, the federal ban supports offshore operators and organized crime."
Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana are currently exempt from the ban; only Nevada has legalized the practice and we all know what a wonderful place that is to live. Lesniak claims that the law unconstitutionally regulates commerce and discriminates against the forty-six states that aren't exempt from the law. New Jersey had a chance to legalize sports gambling when the ban was enacted in 1992, but a referendum vote never left the Legislature. Thank goodness, because otherwise Atlantic City would have become a haven for crack addicts, junkie gamblers, and hookers. Oh...wait.
Legalized sports gambling would generate tons of tax dollars but that doesn't make it the right thing to do. Baseball has had its problems with gambling before; expanding the reach of betting would only increase the temptations of modern-day Pete Roses to do something unsavory. Besides, who in their right mind would want to bet on baseball? Could there possibly be a less predictable sport on a day-to-day basis? With one hundred and sixty-two games going down in just six months, it's far more common for a team's high-powered offense to strand an inordinate number of runners, or for an ace pitcher to have a bad day and poop the mound.
Count me out of sports gambling entirely, whether it's legal or illegal. I wager enough as it is, with my entire blood pressure rate dependent on the success or failures of my favorite teams.