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A price for sports betting

Mississippi is inching closer to getting into the sports betting business.

And why not? We already have casinos in the state with games of chance from slot machines to blackjack tables and more. When the state is hurting for money like it is these days, why not add in sports betting at the casinos to make up the revenue shortfall?

It’s a fair point, but one that deserves a closer look before Mississippi jumps right in.

At the moment, sports betting on college and pro games is only legal in Nevada. New Jersey has been trying for years to get the law changed so that it can also have sports betting, and now Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has signed onto a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that seeks to make sports betting legal.

Betting on professional sports is one thing. Betting on college sports is another, however. Consider that the Southeastern Conference is one of the power conferences in sports with many of the biggest games — games that attract heaving betting.

Mississippi has two teams in the SEC with Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The idea that Mississippians and others could routinely legally wager on those games yields an uneasy feeling.

We hope that Mississippi will give sports betting a long hard look before jumping in without assessing consequences.