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Maybe that seems so obvious you’re wondering why I even brought it up.
Bizarrely, the federal government may allow a private, for-profit company to run a nationwide gambling operation that would let Americans bet on the outcome of our elections.
Along with the risks gambling poses to individuals — risks that are becoming even greater with the explosion of online betting — gambling on elections could threaten our democracy itself.
Making it legal to bet on elections would create incentives for a lot of bad things, such as:
- Gamblers could commit election fraud.
- As bad or even worse, betting could foment widespread distrust in elections by the mere suspicion that fraud is rampant. (This is what Donald Trump has done with his Big Lie, and look at what it is doing to our democracy.)
- Candidates could be bribed or intimidated. (Think of the infamous Black Sox Scandal in baseball or a boxer taking a dive.)
- Artificial intelligence could be exploited to create “deepfake” videos intended to mislead voters and thereby alter an election for the benefit of bettors.
- Election officials could be harassed or threatened in attempts to alter election outcomes. Or they could be falsely accused of wrongdoing by disgruntled gamblers.
- Political betting could drive even more raw partisanship, with voters paying even less attention to actual policies.
If you thought the federal government would never consider allowing widespread gambling on our elections, think again.
Tell government regulators:
Our democracy is already facing multiple crises. The last thing our democracy needs is the additional risks that would be all but inevitable if you allow large-scale gambling on election outcomes. We urge you not to allow any additional betting on elections in the United States.
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Thanks for taking action.
- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen