There are dangers associated with the public sale and consumption of alcohol, but most of us would agree that Prohibition was an overreaction to them and only made matters worse. Ironically or not, much of the support for Prohibition came – surreptitiously, of course – from mob interests, and more than one temperance advocate was later found to be funded by those same interests.
What the mob wanted was a monopoly on liquor sales, and the best way to establish one was by criminalizing the enterprise, thereby removing all legal competition.
Likewise, there are dangers associated with gambling, legal and illegal, but banning it altogether is probably not the best solution, and the sincerity and disinterest of persons expressing opposition to wagering bears consideration.
After all, the mob – or a mob – might desire to have a monopoly on gaming, too, and be sophisticated enough to feign a concern for public safety to achieve it.
For instance, there might be good arguments for regulating or even banning fantasy sports contests with buy-ins and pay-outs, but we should know if those arguments are being advanced by rival gambling interests.
As it turns out, here in Illinois, most of the opposition to the services of DraftKings and FanDuel is coming from a single source: the single biggest gambling interest in our state.
Are they concerned about the safety of our citizens, or are they trying to protect their market, discourage competition, and maintain a monopoly?
What mob is this that controls most of the gambling in our state? It's the State.
That's right, the State of Illinois, purveyor of Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto, Pick 3 and 4, Instant Games, etc. The State of Illinois, recipient of largesse from the Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Argosy's Alton Belle, and other casinos statewide.
Does this have a role in Attorney General Lisa Madigan's decision to declare daily fantasy sports illegal in our state?
Who knows? But it's something to consider.