I’m betting you’re not sick of stories about the rise and impact of sports gambling. It’s a bet that I’m making blindly, which is rare these days when just about every event has a betting line. Most of the recent sports betting headlines have been about the scandal involving Shohei Ohtani’s translator. But there’s a much bigger and more straightforward story here. It’s about leagues, lobbyists, and lawmakers removing the gambling guardrails and unleashing a massive marketing effort that pushes gambling to sports fans everywhere. Leagues used to avoid betting, but now there are teams in Las Vegas and there’s even “a Caesar’s sportsbook operates within the very arena where the Wizards and Capitals play.” Brands like Disney once treated gambling like a plague, but now their ESPN is in the bookie business, talking about odds and taking bets in their own branded app. The house always wins, so the mouse wants in. I don’t want to pretend that betting on sports isn’t fun. The point is that it’s so fun that it can be addictive. The old hurdles to placing a bet are gone. Now, all the forces that were obstacles have become fuel. If you really need to make a wager, bet on this: Society is in for a bad beat. The rapid transition to making bets integral to the viewing experience is going to have a negative impact on us. Alex Shephard in TNR: Our Entire Society Is Becoming Addicted to Sports Gambling.

+ Odds and Ends: Brendan Ruberry with a good overview of how we got here: The Future of American Sports Isn’t Pretty. “Nearly six years after the Supreme Court overturned a decades-old ban on sports betting, simultaneous scandals at the highest level of professional sports are forcing a long-delayed reckoning about the proper place of a runaway industry whose prominence is threatening to overwhelm the thin barrier between the increasingly symbiotic worlds of sports and gambling. Professional leagues have played the willing accomplice, making their own bet that they could net billions in profit without addicting their own fans, compromising the integrity of their sports, or socializing young fans into a world of vice. Those assumptions are crumbling. And the costs may prove great—not just to normal people’s wallets, but to their psyches, too.”