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Sports Betting Good for the Opera?

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Aug/03/2018

The Wall Street Journal proclaims that legalized sports betting, and legal casino gambling in general, could be good for the arts, including the opera.

Reuven Brenner holds the Repap Chair at McGill University and is co-author of “A World of Chance” (Cambridge, 2008), on which the Post article draws.

He writes:

Believe it or not, legal gambling also can be good for the arts. In the glory days of bel canto, all opera houses in Italy had a casino attached—yes, La Scala too. The opera houses were private and profitable. Arms dealer Domenico Barbaja (1778-1841), the most famous impresario of the times, managed them and commissioned new operas and ballets. Stendhal’s biography of Gioachino Rossini summarizes his contract with Naples’s San Carlo opera house, and shows that he got 200 ducats a month as musical director there and 1,000 ducats as his share of the gambling proceeds.

Brenner adds:

As in sports, so in high culture—prohibitions, bad regulations and badly imposed taxes destroy businesses and have long-term unintended consequences. Perhaps after New York legalizes sports betting, former President Trump can open a grand new casino and betting parlor in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera.

The US Supreme Court in May ruled against sports betting prohibition, thus opening the floodgates for individual states to allow the activity.  Some like New Jersey and Mississippi have amended their laws, others are contemplating doing so while still others are treading more carefully.

Read More of Brenner's piece here

- Ean Lamb, Gambling911.com

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