How do you spell gambling? P-O-L-I-T-I-C-S

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO,

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa (Sports Network) -- We are faced with convenient political targets as regularly as the sun comes up and our less than focused and intelligent politicos look for senseless causes as often as they lie, which is just about every time their lips part to utter some double-speak that even they do not understand. One of their recent targets is gambling and the Internet. Actually, it has always been gambling, which injures fewer people than jaywalking or spitting on sidewalks in cities where that Olympian exercise is prohibited by law. Right up there with prostitution and the dilemma of how to control smoking and drug use.

We, they, need causes. We need them to vote, to march, debate, and create fodder for TV magazine shows as well as for some raison d'etre in the political arena. Most of the time they are as substantive as fog.

What I fail to understand these days is the frenzy about gambling, particularly that which takes place on the Internet, fostered by, for the most part, fairly substantial and reliable organizations and undertaken by people who, also for the most part, can afford to take the Lakers minus 6. It is their form of entertainment and not much different than shelling out $75 per for two tickets to a Broadway show. If someone, anyone, wants to spend "x" amount of dollars for two or three hours of fun, stress, cheering, jeering and the opportunity to win some money while being able to afford the loss if their team of choice loses, why not?

Shall we outlaw the weekly poker game? What about Las Vegas nights for charity? Why are sports different from horse racing? You wager on both and can win or lose. One has simply been declared legal and one not. The stumpers and statesmen devise unrealistic laws to curtail human shortcomings and societal blemishes that are unreal.

It is my money, I have plenty of it, enjoy the sport(s) and find enjoyment in the diversion from the everyday humdrum existence that surrounds my life so I choose to occupy my time with a wager on the outcome of a sporting event.

Sounds like a plan to me.

Gambling does not, despite fanciful statistics concocted by interviewing half a dozen people and then carrying out the results of same to the Nth power, devastate entire societies and result in stealing, prostitution, broken homes or lost jobs. That is simply not true. But, like the resume that has been written so many times with a listing of jobs that never were, it becomes believable by attrition and overuse. Out of force of habit.

We are a country of lotteries that these same bureaucrats have seen fit to approve from sea to shining sea with Machiavellian maneuvers and manipulations. When the Lakers play Portland, despite the betting line, you probably have a 50-50 chance of winning. Play the lottery that is worth millions and the odds of your coming up with the winning ticket run somewhere in the 73 million to 1 arena, as it did with the recent $300 million plus jackpot. I guess that made it more plausible and acceptable. Oh yes, lest we forget, the money from the lotteries is supposed to go to the old, poor, infirm and lots of others. Has anyone seen an accounting or audit recently?

Why not just tax the bookmakers that are on the Internet and apply those funds to the same pot into which the lottery dollars allegedly go? We are going to wager, no matter what the government does or says. We are not going to submit our phone bills for review by Congress. There are more deserving causes on the Internet, such as pornography, hate groups and about two or three hundred more that can be listed if Senator Kyl and his cohorts are interested. I guess it is okay for some older woman, in her seventies, to cash her social security check and dip into her savings to buy lottery tickets while diminishing her ability to live adequately for her remaining years but it is anathema to the cause for anyone with plentiful funds to wager on the outcome of a sporting event.

What am I missing here? What are they missing? You do not need William Tell or Robin Hood to hit this target firmly in the center.

Gambling is a fun thing. It is as much part and parcel of sports as the clouds and stars are of the skies above us. It has fewer failings than most other things with which we indulge ourselves and there is little or no taint on the sports upon which we wager. Society is not brought to its knees because we wager. Las Vegas is the number one destination in the U.S. and employs more people than Carter has liver pills. It is a burgeoning community.

Will Senator Kyl and his cohorts come into our bedrooms next and tell us what position to assume? Why not? It has no end. Big Brother is on a tear. And, the more they tell us that we cannot do relatively harmless functions the greater will be our effort to accomplish them. This latest attempt at control of our existence by the baby kissers inhabiting halls that should be echoing and consumed with greater considerations will whiz past the target. That is as predictable as the success of Prohibition.

There is a cell in the Tower of London, down in the recesses of its bowels, where criminals of the 16th century were placed and their crime was chiseled above the cell?For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. The years have taken those words and compacted them to create an ill meaning piece of our language. Attrition and perversion. Contortion of the parlance. The dialect destroyed. It is what will happen with gambling and efforts to bastardize and control it.

Politicians need causes, whipping posts, targets real or imagined. Today it is gambling, tomorrow it will be what you can read, eat and teach your children. Freedom comes with conditions. Will all that they are doing stop gambling? Can the NCAA really tell all of Nevada not to accept wagers on collegiate games? Will every newspaper in the country drop the odds columns? Shall the proliferation of offshore gambling operations come to a screeching halt? Can our politicos reach into the parliaments of every country in the world? Will a way of life be removed by some McCarthy like clone of a politician out of the sanctified center of our nation? You gotta be kidding!

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