The status, and future, of gambling - U.S. vs. Europe
"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) --
Everyone wants to know, what is the
future of sports betting in the United States?
They wonder whether it will come or continue as it has for decades and even
longer - before it was deemed illegal and not a social exchange between a
couple of settlers at the local pub - or a Colonist and a British recruit.
As of now, all eyes are focused on a divisive country that is getting worse,
not better; a financial and budgetary calamity; the crisis of too many wars;
the next election; a tea party that would make the Whigs and Tories of the
past docile by comparison and as far removed from the original Tea Party as
snow is from summer. Not to mention lack of real funds to place a wager or
Besides, wagering is mental flagellation with the opportunity to make a living
from it, or even add just a few dollars to the monthly stipend for food,
clothing, rent, electric, transportation and the other necessities of life a
remote possibility. The operative word is "possibility."
As for defining and juggling all the information available to one these days,
the mental maze of statistics, historical trends, traditional ups and downs,
impact of the weather and injuries to key players, the advantages and
disadvantages of a home field or playing elsewhere, the idiocy of the arbiters
- referees, umpires, judges, linesmen - and then devising a formula, a
conclusion, that is as certain as the weather and the mindset of your wife,
you would be better served building a rocket ship to the moon in your
backyard. And, yes, the predictability of a European soccer match is, indeed,
easier to accept and act upon than, say, a MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL or collegiate
basketball or football game.
It is the action we crave. The excitement, applause, agony, ups and downs,
believing that you actually know when there will be a winner, then questioning
your own sensibilities when you lose and wind up canceling dinner with the
The perspective for legalizing gambling in the United States with the
predicable restrictions and limitations is, for now, the same as you telling
all who will listen what you will do with the lottery prize if you win, which
will never happen to you. It is like sex for baby boomers - your mind is
making appointments that your body will never keep. When it happens, and it
will, it will mean Nevada and wagering with an "approved" destination; or an
Indian casino; maybe a church sports night or two a week (easy now ... just
kidding). Legalized gambling will be one of the great misnomers of our time,
meaning anything but that.
Sportsbooks in Las Vegas are always packed during major sporting events.
Oh, yes, it will be good for those permitted to take on the wagers in a very
restricted and contained sense. But, no floodgates in sight, only a small
drip from a faucet whose control is out of your control. You will use them,
when available and it is convenient for you; you will revert to 800 numbers
that transport you to Costa Rica, Gibraltar, Antigua, Curacao and other
otherwise exotic vacation destinations.
It is what it is. To think, to dream otherwise, is folly. You are Don Quixote
with a team schedule in one hand and lots of statistical-laden pages in the
other, not to mention the mobile that either takes you to a site like our own,
www.sportsnetwork.com, for every scintilla of information ever dreamed of, or
your best friend - the inveterate and degenerate fan with little of life
except the tube and donning his favorite team attire on game day. He will
advise and it is not his money on the line. How easy is that? He can lose
your friendship about the same time you lose the farm, but it is good until
then. You do not refer to him as "the crutch" without reason for doing so.
The farm, by the way, is in more secure hands in Europe than it is on our side
of the pond. What no one recognizes, or dismisses, is that gambling is work
and should be. It is a job. If you are a "coin tosser" with basic knowledge
and think you know, just a few dollars for the sake of interest or the game
has lost its appeal. Go for it and take your best, most educated shot.
For the most part, choosing Manchester United over Arsenal is not the stuff of
which geniuses are born and it adds another element to watching while downing
a keg of Guinness with a very long straw. Doing so with the sports that are
all-consuming in the United States, in North America, is another case
(no, not Bud) altogether. We are covered for every day of the year, but only a
few would have the temerity or bankroll to challenge all sports. The point is
that gambling, sports, never takes a holiday in the United States, barring
some legal ones sans much sports activity.
The ongoing hypocrisy in the United States is untold millions spent to promote
a wagering activity, the lotteries, that, for all intents and purposes, no one
can win. Think about it, 300 million people with multiple entries and only
one ticket, with an exception of more than one on a given day as unusual as
you being able to fly under your own power. The lotteries surround us like a
tidal wave where we go to the bottom only to rise again with more money for
more tickets. And sports gambling is bad for us?
This is the nature of politicians and many, which used to be just a few, are
worse than others, very much so. All that they are missing is a gospel choir,
tent and audience, not to mention a fortuitous clap of thunder every now and
then, even a bolt of lightning. But, the country needs money, tax money, and
it is a lose-lose situation. Who to tax? How about legalizing gambling and
taxing the proceeds from same? Sounds like a plan. In a muddied, to be kind,
political atmosphere, no one can tell who is going to shower and come out to
do the right thing, the smart one, and who has failed to wipe the mud from his
eyes, to remain blinded to reality.
The United States lags behind Europe in advantaging gambling instead of
maligning it, misrepresenting it and vilifying it as the devil's work. Quick,
anyone have a tambourine?
Nobody asked me but legalized gambling is coming, like Christmas, but not as
fast and perhaps not in synch with this year's. Legal sports wagering already
exists throughout Europe, a blind eye and "wink-wink" is provided where it is
not totally legal as in Russia and China. It will be legislated through with
major tax revenue for the governments that do so while the United States still
waits for colonization regarding same and hesitates on political premises that
are similar to those that created the ridiculous period of Prohibition in our
country. We do have an amazing capacity for stupidity emanating from
Thankfully, it is not at all levels nor regarding so much that we do here,
that we have done, and that is good. So, there is hope, a ray of light, some
semblance of sanity that might shine through. We will see, but for now - and
go figure this one out - we do not have legal gambling on sports outside of
Nevada and some other isolated spots like Delaware (parlay cards that look
more and more like first-class tickets to bankruptcy court) and, yet, nowhere
else in the universe as we know it is there as large an audience investing
this much money on sports as in the Colonies.
The State of Delaware has allowed the use of parlay cards in sports gambling.
Politics, the curse of mankind ... we are deluded into thinking that these
folks, politicians, for the most part, really care for anything or anyone
other than their personal agenda which they fraudulently attribute to their
So, am I to believe that gambling is the malediction of our very being, that
it will anathematize our lifestyle and the populace is damned and doomed for
You gotta be kidding!