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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Bets are Off

Sports betting in Delaware, the constant story that kept at least some eyes on the First State for the better part of the year, has been given all but the coup de grace by an appeals court. What killed it? From where I sit, haters.

First, the wrong end of the Delaware Memorial Bridge started whining. "It's not fair!" quoth New Jersey, because Delaware stood to take a portion of their precious gambling dollars. Are you serious? You have full service casinos. We'd have slots, horses, and with the addition, sports.

Then all the sports leagues weighed in. How dare someone else plot to make money off of THEIR enterprise?! Never mind that we're talking about a state that houses only two Division I (and IAA at that) universities and no professional franchises. The NCAA stated that if sports betting went through, they would ban Delaware from hosting any post-season events. Damn, there goes my dream of the Final Four in Wilmington.

But what really gets me is the "integrity of the game" arguments. To quote a recent article from philly.com: "The leagues argue that single-game betting could lead fans to question the integrity of the games. A missed field goal could cause a fan to think the game was fixed for someone with money riding on it." Are you serious? Each league is certainly not without its perception problems, but this seems one of the most asinine of the bunch. Consider this: If a game truly were fixed, it would be because some illegal activity took place to make it so. People have money riding on games already, legally in Vegas and likely other countries, and--the part that likely makes up the bulk of the industry--illegally all over the place. Are you telling me the addition of LEGAL betting is going to have a tangible effect on attempts to fix games? Do you think there are criminals sitting out there, right now, thinking, "Man. I've got a great 'in' to shave some points. Won't do me any good though--gambling's not legal." If that's your rationale, I've got a national park in Delaware to sell you.
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