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The floodgates are already open

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LettersEditor

The Herald & Review Editorial Board is asking the wrong question (“Our view: We also must decide how we want to gamble,” July 25). Instead of asking whether “betting should be available by smartphone,” we should ask: “What technologies and innovations will be put in place to ensure that limits can be set?”

Online wagering is already available on smartphones in Illinois from unlicensed bookmakers offshore. That means the state is unable to insist on reasonable protections because the activity is taking place in an unregulated platform.

By legalizing mobile gaming, the government can ensure the proper technologies and innovations will be put in place to protect players. The government can set regulations so that only those of a certain age, with verifiable IDs, and legitimate financial resources can play; players can be limited in the amount they can wager; and their privacy and personal information will be safeguarded.

The editorial board’s fear of opening the floodgates is misplaced: they are already open. The world is now one that seeks convenience in all products from the touch of our finger, whether it’s playing games, ordering pizza, finding a ride and yes, participating in sports betting. As we’ve seen in states across the country, online and mobile gaming are the future of the wagering industry. The horses have already left the gate.

Regulating and legalizing the industry is what is needed to protect the players and the industry. As Illinois debates legislation and regulations to legalize sports betting and online gaming, it only makes sense to include mobile provisions.

Jeff Ifrah, iDevelopment and Economic Association, Washington, D.C.

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