WRITTEN BY CURT BERRY, GUEST WRITER
It is 10 p.m. on a Saturday, and you are relaxing and watching some baseball. The (input your favorite team) is playing a west coast game, and you feel like they have a good chance at winning. Why not make a few bucks tonight? Well, that is because 32 of the 50 states do not allow sports gambling.
They don’t allow you to make a decision with your own money. They let you in on all other addictive habits such as drinking and smoking, but when it comes to you winning money, it is a no go.
They allow you to buy scratch tickets and lottery tickets, and you can gamble all you want at the casino, but finally you have the power in gambling and they don’t let you do it. In Blackjack they fix the cards so you don’t win most of the time, and don’t get me started with the slot machines.
Yes, there are reasons for the U.S. banning sports gambling, such as the classic cases of the Boston College basketball team in the ‘70s, the Tulane scandal in 1985 and most famously our Cincinnati legend Pete Rose, who is banned from Cooperstown because he gambled on his own team. There are terrible examples like these, but if you legalize gambling everywhere, people will not feel inclined to hide it and cheat.
It is like prohibition in the 1920s. Bootleggers were a huge deal in that era, but once they finally legalized alcohol, they stopped.
I believe the bookies will go away as well if gambling is legal in all 50 states. Not only can you and I make money off of our own teams, but sports can as well. Everytime I watch a game I gamble on, I pay so much more attention.
However, if there is a Monday Night Football game I have no money on, there is a good chance I’m not going to watch it all. This means that the NFL could make money off of more viewers.
Fantasy football and DraftKings actually exist for this reason. The NFL has cut a deal with DraftKings, and they get a percentage of the profit they make. Let’s make gambling sites like Bovada or Fanduel a bigger deal, and let’s feel comfortable with sports betting so we can get rid of the sketchy bookies and the illegal activity.
Yes, sports gambling is a risk, and it can get you in trouble financially, but that risk should be up to the bettor, not the state you live in. Sports gambling can be as addictive as coffee, video games and exercise, and there are no restrictions on those.
We should make those summer baseball games fun, and we should have fun with our friends and family with a couple bucks on the game. Luckily, I am able to gamble on sports in Massachusetts and I have my own right to win as much money as I want. Gambling is a sense of risk and freedom that everybody should be able to obtain.
Let us end the narrative of the scary bookie or the referees cheating at their jobs. Let us make it fun and safe for all. We should embrace sports gambling as a business opportunity as well, and understand that everybody here could win financially.
If you lose money, then that is money won for another company, and it is more views for the sports league. I think we could kill those dog days of summer and we should make 10 p.m. baseball games fun again.