Maybe Sports Betting Can Save Newspapers

Desperate times require desperate solutions, some say
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 12:01 PM CDT
Maybe newspapers can make a good buck by allowing betting on their websites.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – With newspapers sinking deeper into trouble by the day, Maureen Dowd explores the idea of saving the day with a little vice. Specifically, allowing papers to rake in money by setting up online sports betting on their websites. Dowd herself isn't pushing it, but she has fun kicking it around in her New York Times column. “People are spending money on what is basically a social vice anyhow,” Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman tells her. “So why not use it to preserve the First Amendment? It’s not a perfect solution, but it is a solution.”

The author of Goodfellas and Casino thinks it's a no-brainer. “It would be a wonderful, huge blow against organized crime because the money would be taken out of what the mob gets,” says Nick Pileggi, who advocates ATM-type machines at newsstands. All we need is a little congressional intervention. But not everyone's sold. “How about you get some Vegas showgirls to come to the newsroom ... and charge admission?” says former Times managing editor Arthur Gelb. "Where do you stop this nonsense?”