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The Scoop - Sports gambling bad bet for state

It's hard to believe it's already time to make another New Year's resolution. It seems like only yesterday I was vowing to spend less time at work. Unfortunately my strategy of arriving later, leaving earlier and taking longer lunch breaks wasn't embraced here at the newspaper.

This year my resolution is going to revolve around the age-old goal of losing weight. But instead of losing actual pounds, I've decided my resolution is going to be based on "Feels Like" pounds.

Many of us are familiar with this "Feels Like" philosophy used by TV meteorologists everywhere. They will say something like, "The temperature is going to be 38 degrees tomorrow, but with a chilling wind it's going to feel like 25."

So I'm going to disregard what the scale actually says and go with what it "feels like" I weigh. I figure this improves my chances for success.

If you've made a resolution to reduce your gambling, which can be a serious addiction, don't bet on the Tennessee General Assembly giving you any help. Tennessee is one of the states expected to introduce legislation to legalize sports gambling in 2019. This comes after six states did so last year when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Nevada had an unfair monopoly on the practice and allowed it in all 50 states.

Tennessee legislators have shown they absolutely love to pass laws, with 196 new laws taking effect in our fine state since Jan. 1, 2018. I'm not sure what the over-under is, but I'm willing to wager sports betting will become legal in Tennessee this legislative session.

I don't like the idea because the benefits are minimal and the problems could be immense.

For starters, I'm sure we're going to hear all about how legal sports gambling will be an elixir for all the state's budget problems.

I'm confident there will be some lawmaker to echo these words: "People are going to do it anyway so why not make it legal and let the state make money off it."

But if Nevada is any indication, revenue from sports betting has accounted for roughly one half of 1 percent of the entire state budget, the Associated Press reports.

The main problem, however, is that people place bets to win money and sports books don't make it a habit of losing. That's why it made headline news Nov. 4 when 11 NFL teams covered the spread and oddsmakers lost an estimated $7 million to $10 million in one day.

That was an aberration. Usually the people placing bets, and hoping desperately to win money, are left with even more financial woes.

This is not to suggest I'm in the business of tossing out scare tactics. Just like everyone who wanders into a liquor store is not going to becomeĀ  a stumbling alcoholic, everyone who places a sports bet is not going to lose his, or her, house if the Patriots don't cover the spread.

But Tennesseans expecting to win big money from sports betting aren't going to come out on top in the long run. It seems like sports betting is an unneeded gamble for Tennessee.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.