There goes the game(s)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

There goes the game(s)

This week's top story, nationally...

Supreme Court strikes down ban on sports betting in victory for New Jersey

"New Jersey won a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court on Monday that could lead many states to legalize betting on college and professional sports."

While I've been known to wager a bob or two on a sporting event, this decision saddens me, for when the NFL, the NBA and the NHL weren't even a gleam in anyone's eye, Arnold Rothstein showed that the biggest team sport in the United States could have a "fix" put in.

(cf: The 1919 Black Sox.)

Sports gamblers are known for two things:

  1. Betting on sporting contests;
  2. Seeking any sort of advantage so that their wager becomes less of a 50-50 proposition.

The latter can range from getting a tip from an East Side doorman the morning of the 1968 AFL Championship game that Jets quarterback Joe Namath had just rolled out of the side entrance of the Summit Hotel several hours before game time with his arm around a blonde and a bottle of Johnny Walker Red, to Rothstein having a lock on the Cincinnati Redlegs 99 years ago.

(The habitués of Pep McGuire's Bar on Queens Boulevard who'd received the tip from the doorman, immediately called their bookmakers and put the ranch on the Oakland Raiders only to see Namath throw a ridiculous 4th quarter cross-field pass to Don Maynard that led to the Jets 27-24 win.)

The lesson there is that tips aren't necessarily reliable, but when big money controls players, gamblers get richer.

(cf: 1951 when bookies Cornelious Kelleher and the Schwartzberg brothers "owned" a total of 32 players on seven different college basketball teams, and benefitted considerably from that control.)

The foregoing incidents all involved illegal sports betting, is done sub rosa, and involves a certain percentage of the population. Now with the legalization of sports betting, that percentage will grow exponentially.

(I had a cousin, an elementary school principal, who enjoyed gaming at a certain Atlantic City casino... and they liked her so much that they used to make personal calls to her and send a limo to bring her to town. It took less than three years to bust her out.)

Municipal and state governments stand to benefit from this legalization... tax revenues, doncha know!... and the gaming industry stocks are a hot item now, but I foresee a significant human cost downside.


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