The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program will host a special panel In Washington on September 14 to discuss the merits of using revenues from sports betting to fund good causes in local communities. Titled the Future of Sports Betting: Reimagining its Public Value, the event will explore that and minimising problems that could arise from the expansion of sports betting such as addiction and compromised integrity in sports.

Confirmed speakers so far include Morgan Sword, Major League Baseball senior vice president of league economics and operations; Tom Cove, Sports & Fitness Industry Association CEO; Daniel Wallach, Becker & Poliakoff gaming and sports law attorney; Bill King, SportsBusiness Journal senior writer; and Tom Farrey, Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program executive director.

Farrey has already deliberated the concept of using betting revenues to build healthier communities in a op-ed published in the Denver Post and co-published on the Aspen Institute’s own website. It gives a clear indication of what attendees on September 14 might expect from the panel discussions.

He wrote: “Earmarking funds derived from sports betting to get more kids active through sports turns a threat into a clearly articulated opportunity. It’s coherent policy, leveraging the top of the sports pyramid – big-time entertainment – to underwrite the base. And we know the potential downstream results. For instance in Western New York, where we’re working, 16 per cent of youth are active daily. If that number can be pushed to just half of all youth, the region will have 27,845 fewer overweight and obese children, which, if they stay active, projects to $472m in direct medical costs saved and $500m in economic productivity losses averted, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“If that’s the value proposition, states should fully if carefully exploit the opportunity. Don’t force bettors to drive to casinos or race tracks to place wagers. Allow it on mobile devices so those who are inclined to bet can do so from sports bars and living rooms. The more revenue derived, the greater chance states have to build healthier communities through sports, as well as develop the resources to limit problem gambling, behavior that certainly could grow.”