Yesterday the New York Times reported that a bill to legalize internet gambling is making progress in Congress. I would love to be able to get a legal bet down from my living room on derby day, the Super Bowl, or any football weekend, for that matter.
Legislation of this sort has been pending, but stalled for a number of years as anti-gambling forces have held the upper hand. But the current financial crisis changes the political dynamic considerably, and history suggests that legalization has a legitimate shot. I briefly describe the historical connection in my contribution to the the Times' "Room for Debate" column, on the issue, "Should Internet Gambling Be Legalized?"
My contribution sticks to the history, which I studied in my 2001 paper, "The Political Economy of Gambling Regulation (here's a link to the working paper version for those without access to the journal)." If history repeats itself, I might be able to get my bets down on the Derby more easily in the future.
Update: As Harmy notes in the comments, US sports leagues are taking some of the fun out of the legislation. ESPN's report on the bill notes (last sentence) that it includes some safeguards, and that "users cannot bet on the NFL or MLB." Presumably the NBA is involved also.