Legalizing sports betting in Atlantic City is a terrible idea. Why allow the casinos to have the exclusive license to offer this? They do not deserve it. The casino industry has been polluted by corporate takeovers for years, with all the usual consequences - layoffs and reduced wages and benefits. They have cheated the working class. Now the bought-and-paid-for politicians want to give them another bauble to peddle to the public.

A better solution for sports betting might be to enact legislation that would initiate a new profession - "turf accountants," also known as bookies. It is a legitimate, respectable, and worthy small business all over the United Kingdom and Ireland.

And wagering should not be confined to horse or hound racing and sports. Open it up to political races; taking odds on the next pope would be a worthy wager; Miss America could be another. The scope is limitless. Allow the owners of small, licensed establishments to come up with their own events, set the odds, etc.

Let the turf accountants set up shop at the race course so the bettor has a choice to place a wager either on the tote board or on the field, where odds are usually better. This would be an excellent opportunity to revitalize Atlantic City Race Course.

This is the 21st century. It is time to put aside all these moralistic impediments when we have go-go bars, brothels posing as massage parlors, escort services, lotteries and a huge number of illegal bookies taking bets on NFL games every Sunday.

Keep the state of New Jersey out of it. This is a private enterprise.

DONAL SHEAHAN

Egg Harbor Township