This Sunday, Americans across the country will gather with friends and family to watch Super Bowl XLVIII. Some of these viewers could care less about the game on the field, so they focus their attention on the commercials. Many will be sitting on the edge of their seat, fervently rooting for a team to win the game by a certain number of points or for specific events to occur during the game.
These football fans have more riding on the game than pride in their hometown team. Many of these viewers have never even been to Denver or Seattle. Of course, I’m talking about sports gamblers. The Super Bowl has a knack for turning the casual sports gambler into a degenerate.
According to NBC News, in 2013 football fans spent $98.9 million at Nevada casinos on Super Bowl XLVIII. The casinos raked in $7.2 million in earnings from the 2013 game. Not too shabby for a day’s work.
It’s hard to believe that the amount of money wagered legally is not even higher when considering the wide array of proposition (prop) bets available. My favorite prop bets this year are centered on some interesting events, such as the lowest temperature during the game, whether of not Renee Fleming will wear gloves when she starts to sing the US national anthem, and the number of times Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning will say “Omaha!” when calling an audible.
Of course, I will not be wagering on any of these events, because it is illegal to gamble on sports in my home state of Pennsylvania.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was adopted in 1992. The law bans betting on sporting events, except in states that already allowed sports betting when the law was passed, or legalized sports betting within one year of the date the law was signed. Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana qualify to allow sports betting. Other than Nevada, which allows every kind of betting a gambler could dream, only Delaware allows any form of sports betting. The sports gambling Delaware allows is limited to betting on NFL games and only using parlay cards.
If we follow the money trail we can easily see those profiting from the current sports gambling laws are contributing large sums of money to politicians in order to maintain their monopoly. Opensecrects.org records the incredible amount of money that is funneled from the casinos to the political arena. In 2012 alone over $71 million was contributed from casinos to the political sector. This includes both hard money and soft money contributions.
Illegal gambling, especially sports gambling, is a huge industry in the United States. The number of dollars wagered legally on the Super Bowl is only a small slice of the total sports betting pie. The State does not appreciate when bookies, which have not been sanctioned by the State, take a piece of the pie without giving a bite to the tax man.
This past week a group of people in Michigan learned this lesson the hard way. The website lenconnect.com reported the following story.
Kevin Andrew O’Connor, 55, of Adrian is accused of “orchestrating the sports betting operation” through his Tecumseh flooring business, according to a news release issued by Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Thomas Demlow, 57, of Adrian, Deborah Kay Johnson, 62, of Tecumseh, and James Melvin Johnson, 68, of Jackson are charged with conspiring with O’Connor and aiding and abetting the gambling operation.
Gregory Todd Worker, 48, of Onsted, is charged with aiding and abetting the gambling operation and with three misdemeanor counts of winning more than $50 from illegal bets.
Worker, an attorney, is the only person charged with placing bets in O’Connor’s alleged gambling operation.
The charges resulted from a two-year investigation by the Michigan State Police-led Region of the Irish Hills Narcotics Office.
This is a crazy world. Wealthy casino owners are free to donate tens of millions to political cronies in order to maintain monopoly control over an industry. These thugs expect their bought political friends to exert force on any competition taking place in the shadows of the economy.
In a free society people could peacefully gamble at will as long as they did not harm others. Private property owners would be free to restrict gambling on their own property. Sanctions enforced by the government only distort the marketplace and promote a dangerous environment by driving peaceful agreements associated with gambling into the shadows and away from the rule of law. When this happens the courts are not an option and individuals are forced to take matters into their own hands.
The end result of sports gambling prohibition is more wasted tax payer dollars, more violence, and non-violent “criminals” thrown in jail. When will the insanity stop?
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