Illegal gambling has invaded LSU

Published 10:14 am Saturday, December 10, 2022

Gambling is everywhere in Louisiana. Presently, the state has 15 so called “floating” casinos, a huge land-based casino in downtown New Orleans, four racetrack casinos, 200 truck stop casinos and over 1,000 restaurants and bars that have video poker machines. Wow! So, is there anywhere else where the gambling industry can go in the Bayou State to suck out more dollars from gullible locals?

Sure there is. Go after the college students. Even though it’s against the law in Louisiana to gamble under age 21, LSU is openly soliciting students to sign up for an online account and gamble on any number of sporting events. As the New York Times reported: “LSU in January sent a mass email to, among others, students who were not yet 21, the legal betting age in the state. The email told students of all ages that they could bet “on all the sports you love right from the palm of your hand, and every bet earns more with Caesars Rewards — win or lose.” The company’s website said the rewards include a “monthly free bet” and “an extra free bet” during your birthday month, along with discounted hotel and dining options at Caesars properties.”

“It just feels gross and tacky for a university to be encouraging people to engage in behavior that is addictive and very harmful,” said Robert Mann, an L.S.U. journalism professor.  “You cannot get away from it.  You take a daily shower in sports betting when you walk around.”

Casino supporters point out that the state is broke and about to fall off this so called “fiscal cliff.” But isn’t it interesting that the more progressive states throughout the south, from Virginia and the Carolinas all the way across to Texas, have developed new economic development prospects that offer their citizens better job opportunities without relying heavily on income from gambling?

There are those who will argue that if someone wants to throw away their money, so be it. But study after study has concluded that there are dramatic increases in the social and economic costs, along with the upsurge in crime that can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars in Louisiana.

There are many ways in the Bayou State to “Laissez les bons temps rouler.”  Expanding the present high level of betting, particularly to vulnerable college students, should not one of them.

 

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

 

Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the South and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownla.com. You can also look over a list of books he has published at www.thelisburnpress.com.