Paul Holden: WA has the right idea when it comes to sports betting


Recently, I was in a state where sports gambling was legal. Pull out your phone and place a bet from anywhere type of legal. As a gambler and consumer, I loved it! I finally had the chance to see what it was like to be able to watch along with the action while live betting, as well as building my parlays.

However, I realized … it was too much. The instant access, opportunities for me to get bonus bets, early cash outs, promo after promo telling me that this celebrity believes in this parlay, or over a thousand people took this one. I replaced my social media scrolling this weekend with scrolling through betting lines and parlays. It’s no surprise to see how popular it is and how easy it would be to get yourself in trouble.

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When you are told you get bonus bets back no matter what, win or lose, it creates a daily incentive for you to log back in and take that risk on a multi-leg parlay that might help you WIN BIG!

They do a lot to keep you engaged and on the app and provide you the illusion of playing with free money or as they call it “no risk” bets. But is there really such a thing as no risk when it comes to gambling? Do we really need another reason to be addicted to our phones, especially one that is linked to our bank account?

When the rules for sports betting were announced here in Washington, I was confused and scoffed.

In March of 2021, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that legalized sports betting but only at casinos. This news came as a disappointment to me, as I was looking forward to finally seeing what all the hype was surrounding sports betting and the apps. I figured there had to be some sort of deal that could be made with the casinos to allow gamblers to use certain apps from home. It seemed like a win-win.

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Now? I am thankful for this barrier to something that can be abused. I’m glad I have to make a really thought-out plan in order to place bets. I have to make the trip to the casino and plan out my budget. While inconvenient, these steps help make me a responsible gambler, allowing me to take the risk only if I REALLY want to, and to me, that means the rules are working.

Paul Holden produces the Seattle weekend events calendar for KIRO Newsradio.

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