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Other View: Will states place their bets? Minnesota will go slow -- and that's good

According to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Minnesota isn't likely to jump on legalizing sports gambling within five years.

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Denfeld’s 1947 boys basketball team is the only Denfeld basketball team to win a state title. The team’s head coach was Lloyd Holm. Team members were Rudy Monson, Larry Tessier, Paul Nace, Kenneth Sunnarborg, Eugene Norlander, Howard Tucker, Tony Skull, Jerry Walczak, Bruce Budge, Keith Stolen and student manager Bob Scott.

According to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Minnesota isn't likely to jump on legalizing sports gambling within five years.

Good.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on the outcome of sports events. Until Monday, sports gambling was only allowed in Nevada, where it's been legal since 1949 and was grandfathered in. New Jersey challenged that, backed by 18 other states.

Now there'll be a rush of states to the starting line, jockeying to get a piece of the action. An NBC News report Monday said up to 32 states are prepared to take the plunge within the next five years, including Iowa and North Dakota. Wisconsin and South Dakota, like Minnesota, haven't tipped their hands at this point.

The Supreme Court ruling wasn't a surprise - there were issues of states' rights involved from the beginning with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which dates from 1992, and in fact the ruling may strengthen the hand of state governments in fending off other federal dictates such as sanctuary cities, which would be a rich irony. For that reason and others, the Trump administration stood behind the 1992 law.

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Many state legislatures have been champing at the bit to act as soon as the court did. Michigan and Montana are among the states that could have laws in place within two years, if not sooner.

We believe Minnesota is right to go slow. There are a vast array of issues to be resolved before even the most revenue-hungry states move forward. And let's be clear: This is about states harvesting tax windfalls as much as it is allowing gamblers to bet on the NBA Finals. Among the issues to be worked out: how the National Football League and every other pro and amateur league can assure the integrity of their sports amid a torrent of legalized gambling options.

If you're the NFL's Roger Goodell, for example, you'll want to figure out every conceivable way to protect your "product" from as many as 50 states having different rules and regulations for gambling on it. If you're Goodell, you also want to squeeze every cent of profit from it, including possibly allowing gambling inside stadiums.

Despite the court ruling that Congress overreached - again, ironically - it's likely that the leagues, players associations, and states will invite Congress to get involved again, as Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch has said, "to protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena."

The NFL put out a statement Monday that said, "Congress has long recognized the potential harms caused by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events. Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting."

That's appropriate and necessary before any state gets too eager to move forward.

Among all the cultural changes in America in recent decades, the acceptance of gambling in just about all its forms ranks among the biggest. Not so long ago, what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas. Now it happens everywhere. The genie is out of the bottle and wide-open sports gambling inevitably is headed our way.

The longer it takes to get here, to make sure we get it right, the better. And if you care about the integrity of what we used to call "games," you'll want as many regulatory referees as possible.

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- Post-Bulletin, Rochester, Minn.

Related Topics: U.S. SUPREME COURT
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