Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Legalized sports gambling would be bad for Vermont

I write because I have heard a rumor that Vermont is considering legalizing gambling for sports. Although I am aware that this could bring a great deal of money to the state, I think this is a bad idea for several reasons.

1. We already have a mental health crisis in this state, and a problem getting enough counselors to treat.

2. Children are surreptitiously partaking. This will put more strain on their mental health and cost parents beyond reason or ability to pay.

3. We do not have the capacity to treat the adult problems our population has with addiction.

So, given that this is already happening illegally, the state craves a piece of the money pie, we have a serious situation.

I have read that some states have made sports betting legal, like Nevada, and also require betting to be done in person. If Vermont is moving in this direction, it should be controlled in this manner, like lottery tickets. Also, no youth under the age of 21 should be allowed to bet and all must show identification, like for alcohol.

Gambling is extremely dangerous to the individual’s wellbeing. Like other addictions, some can do it in a responsible way and others cannot. The individual addiction will cost the state in numerous ways: health, taxes, housing, and psychotherapy come to mind readily.

I read in the Kiplinger Letter Feb. 2, 2023, that “4% to 6% of high school kids qualify as having a gambling problem,” now. Also, they state that “calls to national gambling addition hot lines have been soaring.”

I hope you will think very carefully about this sticky problem.

Charlotte McGray

Psychologist Doctorate, PSYD

Bristol

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