So I’ve been holding off on this because this is a topic I have not wanted to tackle, but with the continued poor decisions by the National Hockey League and now the Washington Capitals I feel that now is the best time to talk about it.
Today Capitals owner Ted Leonsis announced that the Green Turtle at Capital One Arena would be getting replaced with a sportsbook for sports gambling. I for one think that this is a disgrace and I’m disgusted that Leonsis even considered doing this in the first place.
Now according to the release you will be able to place your bets outside of the arena, and inside depending on the sport taking place that night, whatever that means as it’s not very clear what sports will not allow gambling in the arena. In the release Leonsis also states that there will be an operator in place to create distance from the gambling venue and Monumental Sports and Entertainment ownership. But let’s be honest, you just added gambling to your venue. You really think that an outside operator is really going to make a difference?
Now I am going to be blunt and honest. I’m 100 percent against gambling in all forms, and the fact that the Capitals do a Casino Night every season makes me sick, and now adding a sportsbook to Capital One Arena is even more sickening. I had a family member who had a gambling addiction, and from what both of my parents told me that if it weren’t for constant interventions the issues with his gambling addiction would have been devastating, and from what has happened as a result of his gambling it was really bad.
Also when my mother was growing up in Atlantic City, NJ, she worked at the casinos, and saw first hand what devastation gambling addiction can bring upon people. According to The Oaks at La Paloma approximately 2.6% of the US population has some type of gambling issue. That’s about 10 million people who struggle with gambling addiction.
This issue also adds up to about 6 billion dollars each year which impacts both the US economy and us as citizens. Also did you know that ten States plus the District of Columbia do not offer any publicly funded gambling assistance programs (2016-PG-Services-Survey-Executive-Summary)?
So Mr. Leonsis I have a series of questions to ask you sir, and starting off with the big one. Are you prepared for when things do get devastatingly bad? Are you prepared for when people who have gambling addictions hit rock bottom and that patrons are being victimized by the scalpers who will gladly by the tickets off of someone so they could feed their addiction? What are you going to do to help bring awareness to the dangers of gambling?
But most importantly good sir, how are you going to keep it away from the game so it doesn’t drive the people who are there for the game, and only the game?
When I come to Capital One Arena, I’m there for the Capitals and the game that they play. I don’t want to be pestered with the gambling nonsense, and if you can’t keep it away from the game, then I just won’t come anymore. Plain and simple. Which is a shame because I’d rather be at a hockey game in person, than watch it on tv.
Mr. Leonsis, the door is open for a conversation, and I’m more than willing to sit down with you to discuss this topic with you. So I invite you to have one with me. Will you accept?