It's a Maureen Dowd column, so not to be taken seriously, but check out the latest Big Idea for Saving Our Newspapers:
Mortimer Zuckerman, who owns The Daily News and U.S. News & World Report, proposed to Forbes that the federal government could save newspapers by allowing sports betting on newspaper Web sites.
"It would take Congressional legislation and the willingness on the part of the government to confront gambling and casino interests that have blocked this," he said. "Newspaper owners have never gotten together to lobby for this because they have always been quite profitable. Those days are behind us."
I tracked down Zuckerman in Jerusalem on Tuesday to ask him about it. "Newspapers are so critical for public dialogue and holding public officials responsible," he told me. "And who's going to be able to afford original reporting in the next five years? Very, very few."
He said some British newspapers make millions on betting games like Bingo. "People are spending money on what is basically a social vice anyhow," he said. "So why not use it to preserve the First Amendment? It's not a perfect solution, but it is a solution." [...]
Nick Pileggi, who wrote the books and screenplays for "Goodfellas" and "Casino," sees no downside. "It would be a wonderful, huge blow against organized crime because the money would be taken out of what the mob gets," he said. "And every state has a lottery so nobody from the state is going to stand up and say 'We're against gambling.'"
He said that if newspapers would stop being so stuffy, they could set up A.T.M.-style machines in lobbies and at newsstands and "take over a business that the mob now does illegally worth $20 to $40 billion a year."
Or, you know, you could legalize online gambling because it shouldn't be illegal in the first place, regardless of how the newspaper industry is doing this year.
For the definitive piece about "the strangely selective and self-defeating crackdown on Internet gambling," consult this June 2008 piece by Reason Senior Editor Jacob Sullum. And watch here how Jesus himself disapproves of criminalizing nonviolent recreation.