I contacted Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld’s old neighbor in Apartment 5B, to get his take on the Supreme Court clearing the way for states to legalize sports betting, and his reaction reflected that of many of my friends:
“Giddy up!” he exclaimed.
Uh, hold your horses, Cosmo.
So everybody’s going to be able to gamble now, as individual states decide to authorize sports betting.
There already are extraordinary numbers of folks who bet. It reminds me of the legalization of marijuana – while illegal forever, I know more people who smoked weed than smoked tobacco; similarly, I’ve always known more people who played Warriors -7 1/2 than played Wall Street.
Just because it was illicit didn’t deem it inaccessible. Heck, I could make an in-game bet online right now on Padres-Pirates before I finish typing this sentence.
Also, several associates have asked me about the fate of the old-fashioned bookmaker. Trust me, my Lexus-driving bookie friends will survive.
Bookies will still have several customer advantages over newfangled, sanctioned betting outlets:
No cash needed up front, they often extend credit, no taxes and personalized service!
Speaking of no taxes, let’s check in with Capitol Hill, where Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) already has indicated he will introduce legislation regulating sports betting. Hmm.
How can Congress have such a quick trigger finger on gambling as opposed to, say, guns? Wouldn’t most reasonable red-, white- and blue-blooded Americans say that regulating guns is a more pressing issue than regulating sports wagering?
Ah, but nobody wants to upset the firearms apple cart – both in terms of gun sales and NRA campaign contributions – so those bills go nowhere. Meanwhile, the sports-betting apple cart might spread fiscal sunshine on various government agencies. Everyone’s going to want a cut – the states, the feds, the leagues; Lucky Luciano if he were still alive.
Which reminds me….
If you ever have a choice between your local numbers racket or the state lottery, stick with your neighborhood bar; you’ll get a more honest game with better payoffs. When the state runs the show, its take is sizable, and I don’t care what they say about the money going to schools and roads and economic development, we have NO IDEA where that windfall ends up.
What, I look like I was born yesterday and fell off a turnip truck?
Also, Couch Slouch is a bit suspect of the party-like-it’s-1919 gambling sensibility now out there.
I’d like to remind my fellow salto mortale savants that innovation, technology and seemingly progressive thinking sometimes can be two steps forward and one step backward.
Do we really want a 24-7 gambling culture? There’s quite a difference between a weekly office pool and making a halftime wager on Bears-Eagles from your smartphone between bites of pecan-crusted salmon with lemon glaze.
Then again, these new gambling entitlements could save independent bookstores if they get a sports-betting license.
“Give me the over on Heat-Thunder, plus that Don DeLillo novel.”
But here’s the thing about legalized, legitimized sports betting everywhere: When you open up that sardine can, some pretty lethal sardines are lurking in there. They can destroy lives.
As my readers may recall, I have an unusual position – some might call it hypocritical – on this issue. I believe we should have the freedom to gamble more and the good sense to gamble less. So, yes, I go into a card room to play poker twice a week, and, yes, we need to legalize online poker again. But please, please, please, do not check-raise around the clock.
With this brave new world of sports-betting bliss, all I’m saying is:
Be careful what you wish for.
As W.C. Fields once observed, “Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”
Ask The Slouch
Q. Floyd Mayweather is 50-0 as a boxer, plus he just won $100,000 playing video poker in Las Vegas. Does this make him the best two-sport star ever? (Manny Fernandez; Orlando)
A. I have two thoughts here: (1) My guess is Mayweather is down lifetime in video poker; (2) my guess is Mayweather will not be paying taxes on his $100,000 bonanza.
Q. Do Ask The Slouch questions come from real people, or do you write them to make them look stupid? (John Fuller; Kellogg, Idaho)
A. As it turns out, most of the questions are from fake Russian bot accounts – unwittingly, I have been pumping Moscow’s economy.
Q. What effect will the U.S. soccer team’s absence have on your World Cup viewing plans next month? (Dan Cantwell; Albany, N.Y.)
A. As always, I watch until Saudi Arabia is eliminated.
Q. After serving his 80-game suspension, how long do you think it will take Robinson Cano to regain his inability to run hard to first base on ground balls? (Mike Soper; Washington, D.C.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash.
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