This week's Supreme Court decision in favor of sports gambling opens the way for states to allow something that has been popular in many places but legal only in Nevada—wagering on actual athletic contests. If this activity were not popular, newspapers and ESPN wouldn't offer betting lines on a raft of professional and college games every day.
The legal and political acceptance of sports betting didn't occur because Americans abruptly shed their inhibitions, writes Steve Chapman. It occurred because states experimented with legal gambling and found the results agreeable, or at least tolerable. Each new venture provided more information—and the more information the public had the more comfortable it became letting people wager with the blessing of the law.