Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I've Got the Horse Right Here, His Name is Paul Revere

State's rights got a big boost yesterday when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an archaic law that forbade sports betting outside of Nevada. Sounds innocuous. But sociologists say it could be the biggest cultural bomb since Jimmy Kimmel.

The possibilities are staggering.
 - Pari-mutuel windows in Yankee Stadium.
 - Smart-phone betting on college free throws.
 - Quarterbacks getting the latest line before deciding whether to run or throw.
 - Basketball referees controlling the spread.
 - How about a union to standardize bribe payments?

Look, everyone likes to gamble. My wife and I set and bet an over/under on the number of people we know at Philharmonic concerts. A friend of mine gives odds on swamp buggy races.

Now, with sports betting not only legal but patriotic, the sky's the limit. How about casinos putting their logos on team jerseys? Or odds laid on computer gaming? Or Super Bowl bidding for the right to rig the score?

Gambling can be a job creator too. Think of the announcer, the color analyst and now the handicapper. All employed by ESPN.

What about bonuses for athletes beating or not beating the spread? And lawyers whose specialty is keeping them out of jail?

I'm an Olympic junkie, and I'm trying to figure out how sports betting might work there. In track & field, I guess accidentally knocking over a hurdle or pulling up lame in a sprint or fumbling a baton handoff might be a moneymaker. Especially with well-publicized odds. And it might do away with doping, since losing could become more profitable than winning.

But enough cynicism. Legalized sports gambling has a big upside. Like marijuana, it should generate a ton of tax revenues. In fact, the two taken together could be a tourist magnet for the state. "Bet on Florida for a high time in the sun." Now there's a winner.

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