Will betting on sports be the next public health menace?

Sports betting could soon be legal throughout the United States.

Wagers on professional and college games had been permitted solely in Nevada until last May, when a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court enabled states to decide whether to sanction it. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or offered legislation for gambling on sports. A bipartisan federal bill has also been introduced by the U.S. Senate.

A proliferation of casinos across the country has already eaten into the savings of people who didn’t previously have access to slot machines and roulette wheels, says Richard Daynard, University Distinguished Professor of Law and President of the Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern. He argues that the emergence of legal sports betting by smartphone will create even more vulnerability.

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