Betting is Overwhelming Sports

Gambling Personal Writings

Pearl River I have to admit that when I’m flipping channels and run into Sports Center or something, and they are all whopping it up about betting against Terry Bradshaw to win some ungodly amount like $100,000, I’m grossed out. Not by the $100,000, because I’ve always been clear my odds would be about as good if I tossed a twenty into the street. Not because I remember Bradshaw as the Louisiana-based quarterback and later Hall of Fame QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who piloted them for a handful of Super Bowl victories, because he sold his self as the village fool for big bucks long ago. And, not because I still have some naïve view about the purity of sports, because that’s long gone now that some of these guys are almost billionaires and signing contracts for hundreds of millions. I just don’t want to see the advertisements and marketing for predatory gambling enterprises disguised as content in order to hustle me and the viewers. Suddenly, it seems there is no line between the reporting and hucksterism.

It does seem sudden to me, and in a way, it is, ever since the Supreme Court ruled in 2018, that sports betting could not be limited to just four states. Now it’s legal in more than three dozen or so. Sports gambling has become so large that it’s crippling some Indian-based casinos that had been using their sovereignty to sustain their tribal members. You go to an NBA game and you see a table set up to give away hats for one or another gambling site, if you register with them. You see banners in sports stadiums hawking one gambling company or another. You read the sports page in any local paper or even the New York Times, and you can’t avoid reading about the betting odds and the over and under or whatever. Some colleges and universities have been bought by these gambling companies and in turn for some few pieces of silver are gladly pimping their own vulnerable and impressionable students.

How can this end well?

Betting scandals that have engulfed Hall of Fame caliber stars now seem quaint and precious. Why would football betting deserve a mention in the obituary of Paul Hornugh, the Notre Dame Heisman Trophy winner and Green Bay Packers’ star? Why would sports betting continue to keep Peter Rose out of the baseball Hall of Fame? In fact, as ubiquitous and faux legitimizing as sports betting has become in the public arena, who out there believes that players aren’t placing bets on themselves and others now – maybe directly or via family and friends? No one’s really able to police it, so for sure, if I were a better, I’d bet on that as a sure thing. Gambling on this weekend’s Super Bowl is expected to reach record-breaking levels, with more than 50 million Americans projected to bet $16 billion on the championship game. With those numbers, all of them are betting, just like the fans. How long will it be before we read about game-fixing again? Who believes the NCAA, the NFL, MLB, or any of them can facedown the billions being handled by these gambling enterprises and betting applications, especially when they also have their hands out themselves?

I like sports as much as much as the next person, but betting on sports is as much a fool’s play as any other gambling with the house always the winner. It’s predatory, addictive, and bad for people, so why are these companies allowed to advertise and have their marketing infect readers and viewers any more than cigarette and liquor companies? It all seems out of control. I can’t stop it, but why do I have to see it everywhere?

I guarantee this won’t end well.