Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sin industry may be shining during a renewed period of government leniency, but don't expect legal weed and sports gambling to emerge as major revenue sources for cash-starved states.

The big picture: "The expected stampede of states seeking to legalize [sports gambling] has parallels to the growing trend toward legalizing recreational marijuana, which 10 states have done and others are considering," AP notes.

  • "In Nevada, revenue from sports betting has accounted for roughly one half of 1 percent of the entire state budget."
  • In New Jersey, the gaming industry took "$928 million worth of sports bets. ... The state received less than $8 million in tax revenue."
  • "Even Rhode Island, which has the highest sports betting tax rate at 51 percent, estimates it will take in $23.5 million a year, or a quarter of 1 percent of the state’s budget."
  • Legal weed in Colorado and Washington provides 2% and 1% of state revenue, respectively, AP notes.

The bottom line: "Baye Larsen, who analyzes state finances at Moody’s, expects sports betting to account for a 'very, very small slice' of state revenue and will do little if anything to help cover their rising pension, Medicaid, education or infrastructure needs."

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How small businesses got stiffed by the coronavirus pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The story of American businesses in the coronavirus pandemic is a tale of two markets — one made up of tech firms and online retailers as winners awash in capital, and another of brick-and-mortar mom-and-pop shops that is collapsing.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has created an environment where losing industries like traditional retail and hospitality as well as a sizable portion of firms owned by women, immigrants and people of color are wiped out and may be gone for good.

Apple's antitrust fight turns Epic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Millions of angry gamers may soon join the chorus of voices calling for an antitrust crackdown on Apple, as the iPhone giant faces a new lawsuit and PR blitz from Epic Games, maker of mega-hit Fortnite.

Why it matters: Apple is one of several Big Tech firms accused of violating the spirit, if not the letter, of antitrust law. A high-profile lawsuit could become a roadmap for either building a case against tech titans under existing antitrust laws or writing new ones better suited to the digital economy.

Survey: Fears grow about Social Security’s future

Data: AARP survey of 1,441 U.S. adults conducted July 14–27, 2020 a ±3.4% margin of error at the 95% confidence level; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Younger Americans are increasingly concerned that Social Security won't be enough to wholly fall back on once they retire, according to a survey conducted by AARP — in honor of today's 85th anniversary of the program — given first to Axios.

Why it matters: Young people's concerns about financial insecurity once they're on a restricted income are rising — and that generation is worried the program, which currently pays out to 65 million beneficiaries, won't be enough to sustain them.