Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Years and years ago a roommate named Charlie had a penchant for betting on games. Said it made them more interesting.
Charlie would have been the last guy you would have thought knew a bookie, let alone used one, and he didn't bet a lot. He was a great guy, smart (a pharmacist) and just truly kind.
He was more than willing to play a $5 three-team parlay for a roommate or several friends. Once Charlie played some action for someone he thought he could trust, but the guy got into the bookie for $2,000 and the bookie didn't have a payment plan. This was in the 1970s.
The bookie and Charlie went to visit the guy, and Charlie insisted yours truly go too. The bookie told the guy he needed his money, and the gambler said he was going to call the police.
Without hesitation the bookie said, "There are worse places to be than jail."
The gambler immediately asked, "Will you take a check?"
Those were different times, and yes bookies still exist but most have primary jobs, although yours truly has not bet illegally since becoming the sports columnist of this newspaper in 1979.
The bookies known seem like good guys, and many have gone off shore in the past decade. Offshore gambling is illegal too, but technology makes the authorities chase really hard. There have been busts and money confiscated, but it is so profitable they are quickly back in business.
The state of Nevada -- where all gambling is legal -- bookies and offshore gambling businesses woke up Monday morning to find the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that each state has the right to gamble on games.
Yep, the same crew that told us states could not deny same-sex marriage has decided to open the doors to one of the biggest concerns college and professional sports have had for years -- gambling.
The last thing anyone wants, or needs, is for athletes to become involved in gambling.
However, the NBA and Major League Baseball saw this coming and publicly said they want a piece of the action. No, they don't want to open up a sportsbook in every stadium and arena, at least not so far. What they want is a percentage of the profits.
In January, NBA Vice President Dan Spillane appeared before the New York state legislature and asked for a 1 percent cut if sports wagering became legal.
Apparently, the NBA already has been employing Sportradar to watch for irregularities in wagering. For example, a big underdog getting a lot of play, which has happened when a coach announced his best players were going to sit out a game and then word leaked they were going to play.
Paying for Sportradar and any other groups it needs for monitoring is why the NBA feels it deserves a share of the money, Spillane explained.
Since January, the NBA and MLB have changed their request to 0.25 percent. Obviously, gambling is a multibillion business worldwide.
In the aftershock of the Supreme Court ruling that states have sovereignty when it comes to gambling on sports, no one has a clear idea of where this is headed.
Like the NBA and MLB, a few states -- such as Mississippi and West Virginia -- were preparing for legalized wagering. Mississippi claims it will be ready to start taking wagers this summer. West Virginia already had passed a law allowing sports wagering.
Mostly though, it appears this will be a highly expensive political fistfight in most states, and it may be years before anyone in Arkansas can legally bet a three-team parlay.
Sports on 05/16/2018
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