Football, Gambling And Life

I read an article a few days ago that estimates Americans will wager 95 BILLION dollars on college and NFL games this coming season. Of that figure, 93 billion will be bet illegally. Keep in mind, this is only one sport that essentially covers five months out of the year.

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In order to try to gain some perspective, that number is 30 billion more than Google’s 2014 revenues.

Now, I enjoy watching football, I attend games and even take part in some friendly and inexpensive football pools. I don’t bet on games and never have. Though it may be entertaining, for me, all forms of gambling is a fool’s game. If it wasn’t Vegas would be dark and the bookies would be selling cars.

There are many hypocrisies related to sports, with gambling being close to the top of the list. The NFL, as an example, realizes that, in large part, their popularity is tied into the money that is being gambled each week. All sports do, which is why they are all trying to find ways to legally grab a piece of that pie. Politicians are no different. Legalized gambling can generate significant revenues for states, which they can then use to____________ ( you can fill in the blank as sarcastically as you wish.)

As for me, I can’t help but wonder how much good we can do in this country with 95 billion dollars. I understand sports is an entertainment and we’re all entitled to spend our entertainment money in any way we like.  But 95 billion dollars? That’s a lot of good being spent on self-indulgence, isn’t it?

Whenever I doubt if I’m right in thinking our priorities may be a little distorted, I read an article like this and wonder how we got to a place where, with everything we see going on around us, we can read something like this and not even blink or react.

How much does the sandbox need to be filled before it can no longer hold its own weight? My guess is we’ll find out soon enough.

 

30 thoughts on “Football, Gambling And Life

  1. Carrie Rubin

    “I can’t help but wonder how much good we can do in this country with 95 billion dollars.”—Isn’t that the truth?

    I’m not a football fan, so I don’t really get it, but the men in my home (hubs and two teen sons) like it. They participate in Fantasy Football with family members, but other than that they don’t gamble on it. But they’re not going to do it this year. Too many other demands on their time. I won’t lose sleep over their decision. 😉

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    1. George Post author

      Thank God for other demands..:). I did fantasy football for a year or two but it became much too time consuming so I understand…:) the trick is to keep them busy next year, also.

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  2. Helen Devries

    I’m a cricket fan…..over the last few years there have been so many bribery and match fixing scandals due the influence of the huge gambling bug in Asian countries….
    If only the authorities would tackle it properly…the taxes on that gambling could finance sports opportunities for so many kids – but the authorities are too deeply implicated.

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    1. George Post author

      That’s part of the problem, Helen. We’ve seen it in so many aspects of sports across different nations, including soccer. Money and greed are a lethal combination. It’s unfortunate that we have the ability to help others and choose to turn away instead. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  3. Flop til you drop "FTYD"

    My husband’s work used to do one of those “fill your name in the box” thing and then numbers were drawn/assigned to spots and then the total amount scored in certain time frame of game.. anyway, I nearly fell down, when he told me it was $100 and you put your name on 3 spot or 6 spots, I can’t remember. HOW MUCH?

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    1. George Post author

      Lol..those are usually the Super Bowl Pools. There was almost 4 billion dollars bet on just that game last year. The crazy thing is, if you get terrible numbers you’re pretty much done before the game even begins.::)

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  4. aFrankAngle

    93 million bet illegally? Do you know if that figured included football pools? Nonetheless, a staggering percentage of the total … and yes – we know there is plenty of money-making in the venture at the expense of someone desiring more. I wonder how many of the people are involved in the money chase of hoping to hit the big one.

    On a side note, I don’t like the way writers use “the line” in an article; such as X is/was a 7 point underdog … or Y was supposed to win by 20, but only won by two. The betting line actually has nothing to do with the predicted outcome, but everything to do with attempting to get equal amount of money on each side of the bet.

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    1. George Post author

      I don’t know for sure but I have to believe it does because if it doesn’t the amount spent would be even more staggering.
      The commercials promoting betting on football now are everywhere, especially since the beginning of the season. Fantasy leagues, straight up bets that may or may not include point spreads, etc. you’re right about the betting line and bookies looking to hedge their losses but it’s crazy how much can be won with a minimal amount of initial money spent. But that’s the hook isn’t it. You lose or win a little and either want to make up your losses or win a little more so you put down a little more, and a little more..:)
      Someone told me about a knockout pool. You pay 100.00 to get in and have to pick one winner each week straight up, no points. If you win you advance, if you lose you’re out. You can’t use the same team twice in a season. Sounds simple but it’s not. So…100.00 to join and there are over 6500 players. That’s serious money. You win that pool and it’s basically life changing. There are so many of them around, it’s crazy.

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      1. aFrankAngle

        The money on fantasy sports is gotta be huge. I’m a sports fan, and I enjoy fantasy sports. Heck, I was playing them int the late 80s when we relied on stats from the newspaper, then calculating them. But the versions I play today are free … no money involved …. and not very time consuming.

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  5. In My Cluttered Attic

    Well, all I know is, I think we all want our fair share of that pot. Now, if we all just walked into the doors of the NFL and started grabbing all that cash that’s lying around, we’ll probably make out like bandits. Okay, who’s with me?

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  6. Doug

    I’m willing to lightly wager that when the “New World” beckoned, monies changed hands on where those Pilgrims would eventually land. Virginia being chalk, there must have been long odds on Plymouth. Interesting how Calvinism has rocked on. So the proliferation of Sports Book had already been written? And to mix religious metaphors, “easy money” has always been seen as a “flood” of revenue for pit bosses charged with making sure the dice throws of democracy are somewhat… on the up and up.

    Regards,
    Doug

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    1. George Post author

      Lol…you are probably right, Doug. I never considered it but now I have to rethink what the oldest profession might be. Thanks for reading and your interesting comment.

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