Posts Tagged ‘gambling’

Gambling and Sports — a Bad Bet

Monday, June 17th, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

     Clearing my note pad of news that bugs me before it gets buried by other news that bugs me. With a deep bow to the late, great Jimmy Cannon …

Sports betting.

Sports betting.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but: The major sports leagues made a bad bet when they allowed themselves to be partnered with legalized gambling. For many “fans,” the legal gambling books have taken over much of the reason for watching the games and the lure of money that can be made by betting on someone winning or losing, or striking out, or missing a field goal or a foul shot will always prove too be too much for some involved in the games to follow the rules. The rule, actually, is simple in all majors sports leagues: anyone connected officially with the league in any manner — player, coach, official, employee — is free to legally gamble on any other  sport, but not the one in which they are engaged. To protect the integrity of the sport, you know. So that fans know games they are gambling on aren’t fixed or no one is trying to make things happen in a game to cover a bet or a gambling debt. Well, in recent weeks, a Major League Baseball player and a player in the National Basketball League have both been banned from their sport for life for gambling on it. The basketball player is even said to have tried to make his team, the Toronto Raptors, lose so he could win his bets. The 24-year-old San Diego baseball player is the first active player in a century to be banned for life for gambling. (Look up the Chicago Black Sox scandal.) And now a Major League Baseball umpire (talk about controlling the outcome of a game) has been suspended while he is investigated for gambling. He denies the allegations and says he only bet on other sports. But there’s the rub. If you’re bad  at betting on other sports and lose a lot of money, it can be tempting to try to make up the losses by fixing a game you know very well. It has happened before. Baseball has thus far managed to escape the major scare of its marquee player, Shohei Ohtani, being involved in gambling, when  Ohtani’s interpreter pleaded guilty to gambling with an illegal bookie with a lot of money which the interpreter stole from the Los Angeles star. The National Football League so far seems to have escaped trouble, although the game is virtually built around legal sports betting in many places, including TV. It may be too late for the sports leagues to change their minds, with too much money already involved in all the business deals, but this oldtimer who used to help his father check the bookie’s college football/basketball weekly betting sheets back in the day thinks this has all the earmarks of a bad marriage waiting to break up over gambling and money.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: If Chief Justice John Roberts doesn’t want history to remember the Roberts Court as the one that destroyed American democracy, he needs to get Justices Thomas and Alito in his chambers, knock their heads together and tell them to recuse themselves from any cases involving Donald Trump, clue their wives in to the meaning of conflict of interest for judges and their families and stop accepting lavish gifts from people who have cases coming before the court. Pretty basic stuff. He can also write a meaningful conflict of interest policy for the court. And he can have some guts and honor a request from Congress to talk about what’s going on under his watch and his nose. Or, he can stop pretending to be the moderate voice of reason on the court.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: Even an addle-brained Donald Trump should have known better than to go to the Libertarian Party’s convention looking for a warm reception. Not only didn’t he get the party’s presidential nomination, he got laughed at and booed, suggesting there is some hope for these defenders of their liberty. Heck, they even rejected Bobby Kennedy Jr. Of course, they did select someone to run as a third party candidate, meaning some voters who might have gone for Joe Biden instead of Trump will waste their important votes on someone who can’t win, while ignoring the best choice to actually protect their liberty. But of course that never concerns the billionaire Libertarian Koch Brothers, who feel free to try to buy their freedom and anything else.

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Taking Any Bets on Ohtani’s Story?

Friday, March 22nd, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

    Temporarily out of touch and easing my way back in via the sports portal, which used to be a place to escape from a world gone mad. Used to be. With a nod to Jimmy Cannon …

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’d love to be having a cuppa coffee with Pete Rose right now. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying any of the stories the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani‘s lawyers have offered so far regarding an IRS investigation into the Japanese star’s interpreter and gambling. The interpreter was supposedly ripping off Ohtani or, in another story, Shohei was helping the guy pay off illegal gambling debts. The keyword here for the interpreter, who has been fired by the Dodgers, is illegal. Sports betting is illegal in California. The keyword here for Ohtani is gambling. Unfortunately, all major sports have succumbed to the lure of easy money via gambling, while repeatedly urging players not to do it, because, you know, people might wonder what you’re placing a bet on. And, of course, betting on your own sport, in this case baseball, is forbidden. Ohtani’s now former interpreter has assured everyone that he never, never, ever, cross-his -heart-and-hopes-to-die bet on baseball. Because, you know, cheating. Integrity of the game. But a bookie was owed a lot of money, apparently, and Ohtani did, or didn’t try to pay him off for his interpreter, but didn’t notice a bunch of money missing from his bank account. Or something. Baseball’s investigating and no one’s talking now but the lawyers so Ohtani can try to focus on baseball. The slugger/pitcher recently signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers. He agreed to take just $2 million a year while he played for them so they could afford to pay the rest of the team. Take the rest when he retires. Nice. If Pete and I are still around then, maybe we can all get together for a cup of coffee in Cooperstown and lay odds on who’s going to get into the Hall of Fame that year.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m a little confused when Major League Baseball sends the aforementioned Dodgers and the San Diego Padres to Korea to play two official,  season-opening baseball games, then has them come back to the States to resume spring training with the rest of the teams. Couldn’t they just be exhibition games or couldn’t they just start the actual season? And while they were at it, couldn’t they just take that ghost runner off second base to start the 10th inning?
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m hoping Aaron Rodgers has had enough time to decide whether he wants to try again to play football for the New York Jets this fall or run for vice president of the United States as Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s running mate. Tough choice, I know. Rodgers is known to have some political views that are as, umm, unusual as Kennedy’s and the quarterback’s ego undoubtedly found the mention by the third-party presidential candidate flattering, but instead of playing second fiddle to a conspiracy theory fanatic, he’s likely to find more acceptance in New York playing quarterback for a team that desperately needs one. At least he has a wealth of experience at that job. And of course, there’s the fact that he had to be helped off the field after his first series of downs for the team last year never to take another snap. Unfinished business. Stick with what you know, Mr. Rodgers, and they’ll cheer you in the Meadowlands.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: On the positive side, it was nice to see the Robert Kennedy family gather for a reunion (without Bobby Junior) at the Washington, D.C.  home of family friend, Joe Biden. Warmth and support all around the White House. I think the family patriarch would have understood and appreciated. Bobby Kennedy understood the importance of freedom and democracy and I’m pretty sure would’ve recognized President Biden as the best bet this year to maintain and continue to fight for both. In fact, I’d take that bet to the bank.

A Tool Kit for Problem Gambling

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

Addiction and Recovery

By Bob Gaydos

E8A71752-5BCA-4631-A888-1DFBF62002A6     March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month in New York State. One out of 12 isn’t great odds, but it beats zip, so it’s worth noting.

      In truth, problem gambling, especially if it rises to the level of a mental disorder, is not a joking matter. It is a serious affliction that can ruin the lives of many more people than the gambler. As with all potentially addictive behavior, knowledge is the key to recognizing the problem and taking steps to address it, both for the gambler and those affected by it, usually family.

      To help family members learn about problem gambling, the New York Council on Problem Gambling has produced a Family Toolkit with a variety of useful information. The section titles include: 1) Understanding Problem Gambling, 2) Information for Struggling Families, 3) Self Care Information for Family Members, 4) Resources to Give Loved Ones When You’re Concerned About Their Gambling Behavior, and 5) Is gambling affecting your life?

        The Toolkit is the result of a partnership between the Council and NAMI-NYS. NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness. Addictive gambling, now classified as a disorder, is a recognized mental illness. According to the Council web site, the “partnership aims to bring awareness, hope and help to families struggling with problem gambling.”

         For the record, and lest anyone think it’s just a bunch of killjoys out to close casinos and kill sports betting, the Council on Problem Gambling is a not-for-profit, independent corporation which says it is “dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and disordered gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by problem gambling.” It has a neutral stance on gambling and is governed by a board of directors.

          Even more interesting is its origin. According to the Council’s web site, “In 1972, the Board of Trustees of Gamblers Anonymous in the New York City area requested their Spiritual Advisor, Monsignor Dunne, establish a Council on Problem Gambling to do what they could not do because of anonymity — call national attention and raise awareness of problem gambling in the United States. The National Council on Problem Gambling was founded at that time and in 1975 was chartered as a nonprofit organization.”

         So you can thank the people who knew best about the ravages of addictive gambling — the gamblers themselves — for the creation of this lifeline. Appropriately, a 20-question quiz from Gamblers Anonymous is at the bottom of this column to help those who think they might have a problem decide. Hint: If you think you do, odds are you’re right.

      The Family ToolKit and other information on problem gambling are available on line at nyproblemgambling.org. For more information about NAMI-NYS, visit their website: https://www.naminys.org/. 

    Locally, as always, if you or someone you know is experiencing any addiction that is affecting your mental health, call the Orange County Crisis Call Center at 1-800-832-1200. Advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

 

Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions

1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to gambling? Yes No
2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy? Yes No
3. Did gambling affect your reputation? Yes No
4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling? Yes No
5. Did you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties? Yes No
6. Did gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency? Yes No
7. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses? Yes No
8. After a win did you have a strong urge to return and win more? Yes No
9. Did you often gamble until your last dollar was gone? Yes No
10. Did you ever borrow to finance your gambling? Yes No
11. Have you ever sold anything to finance gambling? Yes No
12. Were you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures? Yes No
13. Did gambling make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family? Yes No
14. Did you ever gamble longer than you had planned? Yes No
15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry, trouble, boredom, loneliness, grief or loss? Yes No
16. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance gambling? Yes No
17. Did gambling cause you to have difficulty in sleeping? Yes No
18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to gamble? Yes No
19. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling? Yes No
20. Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your gambling? Yes No

 

According to GA, most compulsive gamblers will answer ‘yes’ to at least 7 of these questions.

Bob Gaydos is a freelance writer. He has been writing this column on addiction for more than a dozen years. 

rjgaydos@gmail.com

 

Casinos Arrive

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

By Jeffrey Pageroulette wheel

The news that Monticello in Sullivan County had been awarded the Catskills casino site brought mixed feelings, not the least of which was the happy understanding that the roulette spinners and the blackjack dealers will be doing their work there and not here.

“Here” being southern Orange County, where one of the losing casino concerns wanted to build his operation and, in the process, put Sterling Forest at grave risk.

Truth in writing: I must say that after leaving New York City many years ago, I lived for a time in Sullivan County, first in Forestburg and then about eight years in Liberty. It was a time when the big hotels – Kutsher’s, Grossinger’s, the Concord, the Raleigh, and so many others – were still humming, though maybe not as melodically as in years past. It was the start of the end, a time when hotel owners of my time in the mountains, generally a secretive bunch, used to talk out loud about how much fancier – how much glitzier – it had been before when guests were happy and plentiful, and the money rolled in.

A classic dialogue played out any number of times:

“So and so’s going Chapter 11. Couldn’t keep up with Milt and his sports academy.” Then would come the dirge with the grim lyrics: “Fell by the wayside.” Words heard over and over, fell by the wayside. Eventually they all fell by the wayside.

Sullivan County was troubled. By the middle 1970s, Broadway in Monticello was deserted most nights in all seasons. Liberty, always quiet despite the existence of Grossinger’s just down the road, seemed forgotten by the outside world. And South Fallsburg, a place described best by my colleague at the Times Herald-Record, Pete Kutschera: “The place looks like a traveling circus went through 20 years ago and they never got over it.”

No question, Sullivan County needs and deserves a boost. So they’re getting a casino and in all likelihood certain people are dreaming of the money rolling in. I hope a casino gets things moving again, but I have to wonder.

With all the campaigning for a casino site, some important facts about the county and the Town of Thompson and the village of Monticello seem to be missing.

Has anyone in government taken pencil to paper and come up with an estimate of what sorts of changes the area can expect with the opening of a casino? If it’s been done, I confess I missed it.

But right off the bat is the startling statistic that the winner, Montreign Resort Casino, wishes to install 2,150 slot machines, which works out to four slot machines for every resident of Roscoe. Is this progress? Is this any way to a secure future? It worked in Las Vegas where there was no competition but can it work in upstate New York when there’ll be competition from another casino in Schenectady and from gaming tables in nearby states.

In the meantime, how many more cops will have to be hired with the advent of casino gambling? Montreign, projects the creation of 2,400 new jobs. That will require more new housing, more school facilities, more teachers, more equipment. Tax bills likely will go up.

The real winner, if there is one, isn’t the bettor or the community. It’s the casino operator. Any other belief is naive. Is the area ready for such a non-bonanza bonanza?

I’m happy for Sullivan County getting what it wants, but far happier for southern Orange remaining casino-free.