Gambling and the Death of Sports

I betcha you’re wondering the same thing I am.

What’s with all the gambling commercials on television?  FanDuel and Draft Kings, to name just two of the commercials seen on Fox during the 2023 Super Bowl. 

I am confused.

Professional athletes are warned that betting on games will get them suspended, and if the bet is on a game they play in, the ban is for life.  They know the rules. Don’t gamble.  Or else.  

Just ask Pete Rose, the all-time Major League Baseball leader in hits still excluded from the Hall of Fame for his gambling on baseball games.

If sports leagues take player gambling seriously, will someone please explain why they allow gambling enterprises like FanDuel and Draft Kings to advertise during sports games? Cha-ching! Bad optics, don’t you think?

Some pundits have already acknowledged the future of money in sports is all about gambling. Given today’s instant access and mobile technology, you can gamble from the comfort and privacy of the recliner in your man cave.  Don’t be surprised when we see an explosive increase in Gamblers Anonymous groups. Yet another addiction is being delivered to you by celebrities highlighting how much fun you can have betting on games — no disclaimers, however, on adverse side effects like bankruptcy, divorce, and homelessness.

I remember my late father liked to bet on dog races. My late wife always took $20 (in nickels) on cruises to play the slot machines, which was her self-imposed limit.  That kind of gambling was more like cheap entertainment. But these gambling commercials are like forbidding storm clouds, with tornado warnings sounding off. Alas, the sports world, apparently, is deaf and blind to all colors but green.

The future threat of gambling addiction will no longer be from drunken visits to casinos or overindulging in lottery tickets.  I suspect that will soon be replaced by Couch Potato Gamblers wagering on the likelihood of the next first down or completed pass.

Why should I care?  If I don’t gamble, what’s the harm?  

My grandfather died before I was born, and his legacy is a sad one.  The story passed on from generation to generation was that he had a gambling addiction.  About a hundred years ago, he bet the deed to his house in a poker match.  And lost! His wife (my grandmother) and their six children had to move in with his parents.

Sports betting was once considered a big no-no, a serious threat that would undermine the integrity of sports. The world is changing in many ways, and none more so than in sports gambling.  What was once taboo is now acceptable and is fast becoming a major revenue source for the leagues and their teams.  

Now, add in all the beer commercials, and we have the potentially lethal combination of boozing and betting.  I fear there is nothing “potential” about it.

A train wreck appears inevitable. That train is leaving the station and gaining speed.  

And it doesn’t appear to have any brakes.

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  1. 678-438-6106

    Thanks Buddy. My mom taught me a lesson at the county fair when I was about 12 years old. She said if I threw all my nickles at the dishes, I would not have money to ride or enjoy food treats. One more nickle and my pockets were empty. Lesson learned.


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