ShareThis Page
Mark Madden

Mark Madden: Legalized sports gambling won't change much

| Thursday, May 17, 2018, 6:33 p.m.
A man watches a baseball game in the sports book at the South Point hotel-casino, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man watches a baseball game in the sports book at the South Point hotel-casino, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Las Vegas. The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Legalized sports gambling will result in a lot of revenue.

It's already resulting in a lot of stupidity.

Often asked: “Now that betting on sports is legal everywhere, will Pete Rose get in the Baseball Hall of Fame?”

Uh, no. The Supreme Court is allowing states to legalize sports gambling. But MLB is not allowing those under its umbrella to bet on baseball. Rule 21 forbidding such has long been posted in every MLB clubhouse. It's kept better than Rose out of Cooperstown: Shoeless Joe Jackson, for one.

Jackson and seven others on the Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series. Jackson has MLB's third-highest lifetime batting average ever at .356, but that doesn't matter.

The “Black Sox scandal” couldn't happen today, even more so now that legalized sports gambling is going nationwide.

If irregular betting patterns suggest a fix, legalized sports gambling provides a network that would spot it. Whistle-blowing is built in.

Pittsburgh will provide irregular betting patterns of a sort.

Every area bookie knows that everybody bets on the Steelers, so the foe often gets a few extra points by way of balancing the books via steering some wagers to the opposition.

The line isn't meant to predict a winner. It's meant to get equal bets on each side. The book profits via the 10 percent commission, or vig.

Will legal bookies do that locally? They had better.

The vig might be more with a legal local bookie, because gambling revenue will be taxed at a whopping rate of 36 percent. But that would be awful PR, and would chase a lot of action to the illegal books.

Illegal bookies will survive, by the way, because they let you bet on credit. (They also pay 600-1 on the Daily Number straight. The state only pays 500-1.)

Legalizing sports betting will make it an even bigger business than it is now. Conspiracy nuts will spot fixes everywhere, especially when they lose. But the chance of a score being finagled will be less than ever.

Will bettors gamble too much? Some will. But legalized gambling is more likely to get problem gamblers to seek help. The bookie at the bar doesn't care.

Big-time sports leagues reportedly want legal sportsbooks to pay an “integrity tax.” Tribute for existing to be bet on, is a better description. But Las Vegas has never paid that, so a precedent has been set.

Will bookmakers want betting windows placed in sports stadiums, as with English soccer? That's one way leagues could cash in.

Hockey could have to make an interesting adjustment when betting on sports is legalized nationwide.

Instead of concealing the severity of injuries, hockey might adopt the NFL's designations: Questionable, doubtful and out. The secrecy of “upper body,” “lower body,” “day-to-day” and “week-to-week” will be history. Hiding things from the opposition will pale next to an industry that rakes in billions.

Or it won't. The NHL might choose to remain petty and backward, which are too often league specialties.

Announcers might openly talk about point spreads instead of making veiled references. Brent Musburger was famous for those. Musburger is known to wager. He now lives in Las Vegas and hosts a radio/TV show on sports gambling. Musburger may be happier now than he was with CBS or ESPN.

But really, the widespread legalization of sports betting won't change much.

Gamblers will still bet on sports. But now, big business and the government get their cut. That may be the only significant tangible difference.

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM (105.9).

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me