Legislators should protect children and not legalize online gambling

Gambling is an unstable source of revenue that comes with high societal costs.

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A man poses for a photograph with the online gambling website Bet365 displayed on a smartphone, in London on December 2019.

PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Illinois is saturated with gambling. Yet the CEO of an online gambling company wrote a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times promoting another massive expansion of gambling in homes.

Making gambling so accessible on cell phones, computers and tablets 24 hours a day, seven days a week will increase youth gambling and addiction. Having a gambling app in your pocket is a constant temptation to gamble.

Online gambling companies “track a person’s betting activity” to predict what offers or promotions work best to get people to gamble more. Countless offers of “free bets” could lead to non-stop gambling for hours or days.

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In New Jersey, 14 gamblers filed complaints against the manufacturer of an online slot game who paid them less than they won because of “a bug” in the product. The attorney general’s office fined the company $1,000 for failing to ensure the game was functioning properly, the Associated Press reported. Is this a better experience?

Children as young as 15 are losing large amounts of money gambling online in Ireland. They start gambling around age 11 in Australia, and there are 55,000 problem gamblers under the age of 16 in the UK. These countries are introducing reforms to limit bets and gambling advertising to address increases in underage gambling, suicide and addiction.

Gambling is an unstable source of revenue that comes with high societal costs. Legislators should protect children and not legalize online gambling.

Anita Bedell, executive director, Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, Springfield

Reactions to Rittenhouse

The verdict in the Rittenhouse trial was no surprise. The judge did everything he could to rig the trial, so that rittenhouse could get away with murder.

Michael Shepherd, Bellwood

Justice in black and white: Rittenhouse intentionally travels out of state, carrying a gun and kills people. He escapes justice. George Floyd was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill and was killed by police before he could get his day in court.

Tom DeDore, Garfield Ridge

Now that Kyle Rittenhouse has been found innocent, it should be obvious to everyone that Wisconsin has sanctioned the use of force to settle arguments, even for gun-toting out of state residents. How sad for our democracy.

Bob Ory, Elgin

Police will be better off without Catanzara

John Catanzara has retired from the Chicago Police Department rather than face being fired and likely losing whatever retirement benefits he is entitled to. Hopefully he will be replaced as head of the Chicago FOP.

He now says he will run for mayor. By all means, he should go for it so he can swallow embarrassing defeat and maybe try to become one of Fox News’ talking heads, spewing their brand of venom that he could easily write in his sleep.

If they have no use for him, other similar propaganda outlets might welcome him. He could become the next Steve Bannon, doing pushups in quicksand.

Then we can all breathe a sigh of relief, CPD can belatedly embrace its court-ordered reforms, and at last, perhaps Chicago can have the enlightened advocate for police officers they deserve without the self-defeating opposition at every turn of Catanzara. With him gone, the holdouts in the department might even decide it makes sense after all to shield themselves and their families from COVID by getting vaccinated.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Corrupt politicians? In Illinois?

We should be shocked that a corrupt local mayor, Crestwood Mayor Louis Presta, was taking bribes from a red light camera company to beef up ticket enforcement and send more money into the coffers of the company. I’m not, this is Illinois.

It is being proven time and again that these cameras are nothing more than a money grab in an industry ripe with corruption. Combine it with a few less-than-honorable politicians looking to pad their retirement funds, and this is what we get.

This technology needs to be reined in or better yet abolished. The tickets being doled out are not saving any lives; they are mostly frivolous violations they do not warrant pursuance.

Scot Sinclair, Third Lake

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