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Cory's Corner: Sports Needs Gambling

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Cory's Corner: Sports Needs Gambling

The moment the Supreme Court overturned a federal law prohibiting legalized sports betting was the moment sports became even more popular.

To many, that doesn’t seem possible. Because ESPN has four TV networks, Fox Sports has two, nearly every major college conference has a TV network and even the University of Texas has its own TV network.

With shorter attention spans and 200-channel TV lineups, sports gambling no longer needs sports as much as sports needs gambling.

And the reason is simple: the smart phone. How easy is it for someone to make a fantasy bet with Draft Kings or Fanduel from the comfort of their own chair, while watching the game?

I realize many people will be fretting over this, saying that it’s only a matter of time before many sports leagues become tainted. That is such a weak argument because Las Vegas invests so much money into researching sports gambling. It knows peripherals like grass thickness and the humidity index. The stuff that you don’t think matters is exactly what matters to the suits in Vegas.

And if a potential point-shaving problem would ever arise, Vegas would know about it first. It would see large sums of money going in the other direction and it would immediately raise a red flag. By the end of the game, Vegas would know exactly what was going on.

This is hard for many fans to swallow because Las Vegas is known as the City of Sin and pro sports leagues are supposed to be above board. I’m not a hockey fan, but I give the NHL all the credit in the world by being innovative to be the first pro team in the adult playground.

Now could this lead to many problems? Oh yes it could. With gambling more accessible, it only means that more people will be stung by its addictive powers. However, with gambling so available, it’s also going to be harder for gamblers to raise the white flag on a problem.

Just think about the Bears-Packers home opener. The Packers hold a slim 13-10 lead at half and you walk over to a betting kiosk in the Lambeau Field concourse and bet the over on the Packers second half score of 13.5.

Money talks and a lot more people will be interested now because they will be even more financially motivated. With fantasy sports and legalized betting, there is no reason why fans cannot be engaged in a sport that they may not have a rooting interest in.

You could always see the weekend lines tucked away in your local paper, but now I am willing to bet that those will be a little more prominent. Maybe a weekly feature of Underdog of the Week or a list of Bad Beats, the games that drove bettors absolutely crazy with the unlikeliest of scenarios, something that has made SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt so popular. 

Sports leagues have successfully avoided the elephant in the room for a long time. But now that sports betting will be legal and easy for fans to make a bet, there is no getting around it anymore.

You can dislike all that Vegas is and what it is about. However, Vegas is the lifeblood for the next generation of fragmented viewing fans.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (37) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

mrtundra's picture

How about Paul Horning or Pete Rose? Will they be reinstated or made whole for losses incurred from the disciplinary actions taken against them for betting on a team? This opens a whole new can of worms for the League and for all sports. Will games be fixed or seem to be fixed more than they already are? Will officiating be bribe proof? Look at the Fail Mary with Seattle. The official that ruled the interception was a catch later admitted to being a Seahawks' fan. Now, it would seem, the doors are flung wide open for all sorts of malfeasance that teams will not be able to control.

croatpackfan's picture

Can you please post the link with that referees statement (Seahawk fans). Please...

mrtundra's picture

Cannot find the link. I did find one link that says the ref claims he is neither a Seahawks or a Packers fan, which contradicts the original link I had seen shortly after the episode occurred. He made several appearances as the ref who won the game for Seattle at various events and promoted a ghost written book about the incident.

mnklitzke's picture

Those refs were the fill in refs cause they others were on strike...

WKUPackFan's picture

Pete Rose broke a baseball rule, one that was posted in every clubhouse. This decision has nothing to do with Rose's actions or his ban. Anything Rose has "lost" is a result of his own actions. Nice job, however, of defending a statutory rapist.

mrtundra's picture

Who is the rapist? Horning or Rose? If it is Rose, that had no bearing on his discipline by Commissioner Giamati.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Pete Rose. His defense is that the girl was 16 at the time, which is the age of consent in Ohio. Doesn't matter much to me: even if it wasn't statutory rape, no 34-year old man who is married with children should have sex with a 16-year-old girl. Rose admits having sex with her beginning when she was 16 and that the activity lasted for several years. My opinion of Rose was always low, and it just got lower.

WKUPackFan's picture

Rose, Tgr's description is correct.

Not that it matters for this conversation, but it is Paul Hornung (not Horning). Highly recommend Hornung's 2006 book "Lombardi and Me - Players, Coaches, and Colleagues Talk about the Man and the Myth". A very moving collection of remembrances from Bart Starr, Max McGee, Jim Taylor, and many others.

The TKstinator's picture

Not going to comment until we hear from LVT.
(Unless you call THIS a comment, but really my comment here is “no comment”.)

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Sell your Las Vegas stock...

Donster's picture

Hopefully the league will be able to just enable a tax so to speak on all bets on NFL games. They have to keep the chance of players interference with betting on games. Not going to be easy. Nice article on PackersWire...

worztik's picture

There’s betting going on at present... it’s just not in the limelight as booze was during prohibition. Having the chance to win or lose a bet will land on a snap... a hold... a kick... a penalty... and on and on! Will the missed hold by Tony Rome in a big game be blamed on a bet? Maybe! We’re opening a new can of worms here and we already have a number of old cans that haven’t been closed yet. I can’t afford to “pay attention” much less lose a bet... for now I’ll check!

Savage57's picture

Ironic that the same day the Supreme Court declares anti-gambling laws unconstitutional, the NFL announces a guy who works in the world's biggest casino is buying the Carolina Panthers.

Handsback's picture

Gambling in sports....I'm shocked. Come on, it's been going on forever already. If you were betting before, you will be able to do it easier. If you don't bet...why would you start? Football is popular, but I'm willing to BET (get it) that it will be the fantasy leagues where you will see the real increase in betting lines like Draft Kings.
I see the decision as more tax revenue for states other than Nevada.

Since '61's picture

Handsback you are correct, except that now anyone can bet from anywhere via their mobile phone. This will be as much about apps as it will be about additional revenue. And yes, Draft Kings and Fan Duel which are owned by Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft will do very well.

As for the states they will definitely get their share. Thanks, Since '61

Since '61's picture

This will be a bonanza for the leagues and for the states. the states will all take a piece of the action. West Virginia already takes a 50% chunk on all betting action in their state. It will help all of the states with their budget deficits.

More money for the leagues means more revenue sharing for the players which means ever increasing salaries. Which is actually a good thing because the players already make too much money to be swayed into throwing a game, at least at the professional level. Officials could be a concern which could lead to more replays and more robotics involved with officiating games (I'm speaking down the road).

The next phase will be to see if the Fed establishes a national framework for sports betting which the states will need to fall in line with. My guess is that the fed will step in and take a piece for themselves as well.

A huge for windfall for Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft who own Draft Kings and Fan Duel. Money, money, money for everybody involved. If properly handed the additional funds for the states could help many people and many issues. It could also create many problems.

As for our Packers, I wonder what Paul Hornung thinks of all this. He is probably enjoying a good laugh over it. Thanks, Since '61

CDC Dave Retired's picture


CDC Dave Retired's picture

How many people including families will be affected due to gambling away money for food, clothing, and shelter.
What do the psychiatrists have to say?
Integrity is just a word with no complications in the real world.
Popular isn't always the best.

WKUPackFan's picture

"How many people including families will be affected...?".

Practically none, since anyone with such a problem has been freely able to place sports wagers since the internet was invented. It probably takes five minutes to sign up with an offshore account from your phone.

Since '61's picture

WKU - not only since the internet. People with gambling problems have been able to place wagers at the track, at casinos and with the bookmakers forever. They also kept the loan sharks in business. Then as now their families paid the price. Now is just much easier as you correctly point out with your mobile phone. Thanks, Since '61

WKUPackFan's picture

'61 - So true. And, as you correctly point out, the person with an issue will already go to extreme lengths to satisfy that urge. That is why it is illogical to state that this decision, and the expansion of legal sports wagering specifically, will have any substantive effect on the number of gambling addicts.

Since '61's picture

Agreed. Thanks, Since '61

Bearmeat's picture

I went into a casino at 18 with $40 in my pocket. I lost it in 20 minutes, and haven't gambled in a casino since. Not worth it. It's a fact that the house wins 3/4 of the time. I don't bet on football or anything else outside of fantasy football with some college buddies. A fool and his money are easily parted applies here IMO.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Heh, I go to Las Vegas for conventions often. The last 5 times I've been to Las Vegas I haven't bet a penny. I used to set money aside for it in case I wanted to, and now I don't even bother. I'd rather buy tickets to a show or get a good meal.

dobber's picture

Ditto. I went to Oneida in GB on a firm budget when I was a college student for funsies...not much funsies.

"It's a fact that the house wins 3/4 of the time."

The question is, ultimately, who's getting wealthy off our frivolous gambling, and what does that do to our world?

Bearmeat's picture

And, not to get too political, but in WI with Indian Gaming, does that even help the tribe? It's been my experience in Northen Wisky that this is not the case...

Oppy's picture

I knew a Potawatomi tribal member who had always said he got a fairly substantial checks annually from the tribal casino operations, I never thought much of it.

Saw your post and quickly googled. This article is 4 years old and brief, but the answer is, it definitely helps some tribal members greatly with direct funding, others, maybe not so much. But it doesn't say what is going back into communities outside of direct cash checks.

$80,000 per tribal member for Potawatomi isn't chump change.

LambeauPlain's picture

The last time I gambled on the Packers I picked them to win the SB. The sports book in Vegas at the time had them like 12-1 or something.

I was so confident in the Pack that year with Ahman Green and that great O line...Favre having a great year and the D playing well under Donatell.

Then that 3rd and 21 in Pilly that cost me thousands of dollars.

No more betting for me!

Better off using starting the money on least you'd get the value of some heat for a short time!

Lare's picture

I'm not much of a gambler so it won't affect me either way. The leagues (and government) will just have to establish ways to police it. Shouldn't be too difficult, it's happening now with all the gaming that's going on.

4thand1's picture

Gambling is gambling, why not make it legal for all gambling? Why should I have to drive 30 miles to a casino on a reservation to lose 50 bucks? I don't gamble but at least people could save a few bucks on gas, lol. Points spreads are where gambling makes it's money, that's where the fix can make money. A missed extra point could cost you your wager.

Spock's picture

Gambling has been legal in Great Britain forever; doesn't seem to affect anything regarding how the games are played. People's lives' are another issue. My wife and I went to L.V. for a four day weekend after I graduated from culinary school (it was my 3rd college degree and I REALLY wanted to be a chef in Vegas.) I spent ZERO money in the casinos and I decided that the town was not for us. If people want to gamble they will find a way. I just hope that however this plays out (no pun intended) that families are not torn apart by gambling. Honestly, since Fantasy Football was embraced by 'The Shield', gambling has really been endorsed by the league anyway. This is just the next step. The one thing you can count on is that the NFL will make boatloads of money on this! I'm not in the least surprised this has finally become officially legal in the U.S.A. I disagree with the title of this piece that 'Sports NEED gambling' as I will still be a fan without any 'need' to gamble on my team!

4thand1's picture

Betting on your team causes more stress, the games are stressful enough already.

LayingTheLawe's picture

The bulk of your article makes the exact opposite point of what you conclude. Because there are eighty-five ESPN channels and Cbs sports channels and fox sports channels and nbc sports channels and a channel for every major college conference and a channel for every major sport - shows just how little sports needs gambling. You can make a lot of points about whether gambling is good or bad for sports but the idea that sports need gambling is way off.

Since '61's picture

Sports does not need gambling except that it is just another revenue stream for them. As for all the networks you mentioned they are also another revenue stream for the leagues and college conferences.

The gambling is not a matter networks. It will be more about the apps than anything else. It is a matter of access and convenience. Casual sports fans and casual gamblers will now be able to bet from anywhere at anytime. This in turn will create more fans which will create more gambling and more revenue and the beat goes on. The idea is to have more people see/watch your product. This drives sponsor revenues as well. It’s not about popularity it’s about money. But the more popular the sport for whatever the reason the more money for everyone.

Plus the states see this as a way to close their budget deficits. They are looking at the billions of $ currently played offshore and looking to get their chunks of it. The projections are as high as $500 billion per year for the gambling industry. IMO it will take a while to get that high but it is at least half of that now. Thanks, Since ‘61

LayingTheLawe's picture

I certainly agree that sports can benefit from legalized gambling. But the title said sports needs it and I disagreed with that. Sports are only expanding in size and money every year with or without legalized gambling.

HankScorpio's picture

No state has to legalize gambling. The SC court just said the choice belongs in 50 state capitols, not DC. I wish that applied to much more than just sports gambling.

Since '61's picture

Hank - you are correct except that the professional leagues want to work within a national framework and the feds want to take a piece of the total action not just a piece of the winnings of an individual winner.

Remember the feds have a deficit and this could mean billions of$ in additional tax revenues for the fed just from the offshore gambling industry alone. Thanks, Since ‘61

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