Since Friday September 4,2015 – ignoring those Fridays when I was traveling – it has been the order of the day to write some form of Mythical Picks. Not today. This is the weekend of the Pro Bowl and I would just as soon wager on turtle racing as compared to the Pro Bowl. I will not watch the game for any longer than the time it might take to go grazing through the channels while it is on. Moreover, I seriously think that anyone who bets on the outcome of the Pro Bowl is someone who needs to find treatment for a gambling addiction.
There will be Mythical Picks next Friday before the Super Bowl game and there will be wagers galore made on that game all over the country and the world. In fact, there is an estimate out there from the AGA that the total amount of money that will be bet in the US alone on the Super Bowl this year will be $4.2B. The American Gaming Association (AGA) is a trade association to promote gaming and to lobby for legislation and regulations that favor gaming. I say that to acknowledge that the AGA could have a motive behind any of its pronouncements.
Nonetheless, their $4.2B estimate of the wagering on Super Bowl 50 comes with some other numbers.
The amount of money this year wagered legally will be in line with the amount of money wagered legally last year on the Super Bowl. That number will be on the order of $115M.
The amount of money that will be wagered “extra-legally” will be about $4.1B.
More than 95% of the money estimated to be “on the line” for this year’s Super Bowl will be done illegally.
Here is a statement from the CEO of the AGA:
“Just like football, sports betting has never been more popular than it is today. The casino gaming industry is leading the conversation around a new approach to sports betting that enhances consumer protections, strengthens the integrity of games and recognizes fans’ desire for greater engagement with sports.”
That is the politically correct way of saying that the AGA would love to have Federal legislation that would make more of that “illegal action” come their way in a Federally sanctioned way. I am a consistent proponent of legalizing and regulating sports betting; I do not try to hide that. I think the AGA has two significant points here that they will probably not make because it would be politically incorrect to do so.
First, the laws on the books to forbid sports betting are a sham. If their estimate of $4.1B being wagered “illegally” is even close to correct, then you have only two conclusions to draw:
Either it is too easy to skirt the laws on the books – or –
The law enforcers are not competent enough to enforce those laws.
I suspect most folks would choose the first of these alternatives over the second.
Second, if $4.1B is on the line, there is a lot of potentially taxable revenue involved there which is slipping through the taxable income filters in times when most government entities could use some extra revenues.
For more information about how the AGA came up with these estimates, here is a link.
Whenever legalized sports betting comes up, the people who put on the games raise the bugaboo of game-fixing and point-shaving. They never seem to address the possibility that those things are ongoing under their noses currently in the absence of legalized sports betting. I do not want to get too deep into epistemology here but when they climb onto their high horses this is what I wish someone would press them on:
Do you know that “the integrity of the game” as it stands today is absolute because if it is not absolute than it is not “integrity”?
When they hem and haw about that and try to tell you that the integrity of the game is beyond reproach, then ask them how they know that to be the case?
Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald had this comment relative to recent suggestions and investigations of match-fixing in the world of tennis:
“There are allegations of match-fixing in professional tennis. The new Wimbledon executive director, Vince McMahon, vehemently denied the charges.”
I cite that observation here for two reasons. First I think it is very clever. Second, “vehement denials” with regard to the existence of match-fixing/point-shaving are not evidence that it is not ongoing.
Finally, let me close here with one more observation from Brad Dickson:
“Fifteen-year-old Romanian basketball sensation Robert Bobroczky stands 7-foot-6 and weighs 184 pounds. He was unable to turn pro after he blew away the night before the draft.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………