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Sports Betting

People make bets in the sports book at the South Point hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting, the race is on to see who will referee the multi-billion-dollar business expected to emerge from the decision.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling opens the door for states to legalize professional and amateur sports betting.

The Hoosier state should run through it.

Gambling of all varieties — especially where sports are concerned — abounds in society, much of it operating illegally.

Illegal betting pools mean an unregulated gambling stream producing no municipal revenue — no payoff for taxpayers.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow states to permit gambling on professional and amateur sports.

Casino Association of Indiana President and CEO Matt Bell said its member companies — including Horseshoe, Ameristar and Majestic Star in Northwest Indiana — are applauding the ruling.

House Speaker Brian Bosma noted a summer legislative study committee will be reviewing the matter. Bosma also noted Indianapolis-based NCAA, which has opposed legalized sports betting, will be a part of the discussions leading up to potentially new state laws on the matter.

That's fine.

But Indiana lawmakers need to be prepared to embrace this as an opportunity.

Legal gambling already abounds in the Hoosier state — and in the competing casinos in our neighboring states.

For long-term sustainability, private gambling outfits — and the state and municipal governments that enjoy their revenue — will latch onto any number of competitive advantages and revenue tools.

At least one local casino, Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, is owned by a parent company with a sports wagering business in Nevada that plans to expand the practice "wherever secure and responsible wagering on sporting events is legalized," according to a company statement.

The high-court ruling opens up a new avenue of opportunity. The Hoosier state should get ready to embrace it or be left behind.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.