Legalization of Sports Betting Could Be a Final Step in the Conversion of the US to a Banana Republic
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Legalization of Sports Betting Could Be a Final Step in the Conversion of the US to a Banana Republic

I have lived in and done business in some of the most corrupt and broken places on earth. Regrettably, America is now quickly joining the ranks of third world banana republic-type countries. Michael Cohen scampering around and trying to shake down companies like ATT, Novartis and Ford in order to raise money to pay back loans on his taxi medallions is among the most telling evidence.

In any emerging market country (or “submerging” in the case of the US as it used to be a law-based state and a 1st World Country), fraud becomes accepted and commonplace as societal values begin to erode. And, there are now multiple examples of fraud becoming quickly and widely accepted. I’d even point to bitcoin and the emergence of illegal initial coin offerings (ICOs) as examples.. Here is an amazing article where an attorney is arguing, speciously, that the US should not be prosecuting those fraudsters who have been perpetuating unregistered offerings. When we were a law-based society, just a short time ago, nobody would have ever proffered such an argument.

After societal values erode, laws change in order to try to account for the erosion. They become peeled away, layer by layer, in an effort to accommodate to the new normal. While I personally am not morally opposed to sports betting, I think we may have seen this with the Supreme Court moving to legalize sports betting last Monday.

The problem at this final stage is that unintended consequences regularly emerge. While making sports betting legal may seem harmless, doing it at the same time as we have a full erosion of our law-based state and our societal norms could easily lead to the undue influence of money (and big big money, organized crime money) in determining sports outcomes.

It may not be long before betting syndicates completely affect outcomes in tennis matches and then we may even have our own Andres Escobar in the US.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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