Sports Gambling “Stuff” on 7/11…

On July 11 – – 7/11 in shorthand – – I feel a need to lead off with a discussion of sports gambling.  In the wake of the Supreme Court decision regarding PASPA, sports gambling has expanded its footprint in the US and I am glad to report that all of the major professional sports leagues remain intact.  Gambling has not yet destroyed – or even harmed slightly – any of them.  I’ll keep an eye out for major damage – as the leagues professed would happen – in all their legal filings on that case.

The State of Delaware was one of the first states out of the blocks with expanded sports gambling at their racetracks in the state.  [I know of 3 racetracks in Delaware; there may be others.]  Delaware had been one of the 4 states “exempt” from PASPA because they had established sports gambling prior to the passage of PASPA so I guess Delaware had a head start.  The first month’s results are in and here is what we know:

  • Bettors wagered $7M in Delaware at the racetracks where sports gambling action was taken.  Approximately 70,000 wagers were made meaning the average bet was $100.
  • Payouts to bettors was $6M.
  • While that looks like a $1M profit for the State of Delaware, that is not really the case because some of that $7M wagered was on futures bets such as who will win the World Series.  The bookkeeping/accounting for sports gambling revenues is not so revealing on a short-term (monthly) basis.
  • Almost 75% of the money wagered was on MLB games.
  • More money was wagered on World Cup games than on the NBA Finals.  [Of course, there are far more World Cup games to bet on than there were in the NBA Finals which was a sweep.]

Here is a Wimbledon update that would have gotten you a major score if you had bet on this prop before the tournament:

  • None of the top ten seeds on the women’s side has survived to the quarterfinals.

If that prop bet existed anywhere, you can be sure it was a long odds prop.  However, do not be fooled into thinking that this year’s Wimbledon winner might be someone you never heard of.  Serena Williams was not one of the top ten seeds this year, and she is still alive and is the current betting favorite to win it all.

One of the readers of these rants has – in the past – sent me trivia facts related to sports.  Since I have known him for about 30 years, I have taken them at face value and have not tried to verify them because it looked to be too much work.  My plan was to save up a couple dozen of those gems and do a rant on something like “Bar Bets You Can Win”.  That plan hit a significant speed bump recently.

I had not received one of those “gems” in several months and finally had the temerity to ask why they had stopped arriving in my inbox about once every month or two.  The response came in an e-mail earlier this week:

“I had no idea you were counting on these for one of your rants.  I would have told you not to do that because I do not have a reliable source for them.  I read something that is statistically significant and send it to you because you always liked that kind of oddball [stuff].  That’s all these were … I don’t know when I will find the next one to send to you.”

So, I will adapt to this new information and present here a far more abbreviated version of “Bar Bets You Can Win” – – if, of course, you take the time and expend the energy to verify each of the following:

  • Ted Williams got a hit in every opening day game he played in.  Williams was in the majors for 19 seasons between 1939 and 1960.  He missed 3 years during WW II; he also played in only 6 games in 1952 and only 37 games in 1953.  That was the time of the Korean War and he went back into the service for some of that time.  If I assume he missed those opening days in ’52 and ’53, that means he played in 17 opening day games.
  • Wilt Chamberlain produced 30/30 games 124 times in his career.  That is a game where he scored 30 or more points AND had 30 or more rebounds in the same game.  These days, if a player does that one time, it is top-of-the-front-page-of- the- sports – section news.  Chamberlain did it 124 times in a total of 1045 NBA games.  He did it more than 10% of the time!
  • Tony Gwynn batted against Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez 143 times in his career.  Against those two Hall of Fame pitchers, Gwynn batted .388 and struck out zero times.  If you had any doubts about why Tony Gwynn is in the Baseball Hall of Fame …

Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times that has nothing at all to do with sports gambling.  It’s just that I found it interesting and amusing:

“IKEA announced global partnerships with a few leading brands such as Adidas.

“Which is great news if you like taking two hours to put your sneakers together, then wondering why you have three screws, a bracket and an Allen wrench left over.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………