In general, there’s no evidence that cities need sports teams to thrive—especially sports teams that are struggling. If Rays ownership wants a new stadium then it should be up to them to find a way to pay for it. Tampa officials and residents, along with taxpayers in surrounding Hillsborough County, should resist the Rays overtures.
Some pastors refer to Christmas Eve as the “Super Bowl of sermons.” And the Super Bowl is the equivalent of Christmas for many fans, which is why it is not surprising that it is one of the most watched programs on television in the United States. The fervor that builds around the Super Bowl is reflective of our own desires and aspirations. We embody the teams that we have chosen and place our hopes on their success.
There’s also evidence that sports betting provides a consumption benefit to people, meaning they enjoy the act of betting even if they don’t expect to win. Fining or throwing people in jail for doing something they enjoy that doesn’t directly harm anyone else seems like a poor use of scarce police resources. For these reasons, even though legalizing sports betting is bad tax policy, it’s still a good idea.