A part of

Issue # 11 Thursday, Jan. 15, 1998

About the Author:

Charles Loyd McIntosh

In 1997 Charles Loyd McIntosh was a news writer for the Talledega Daily Home (www.dailyhome.com). He was a former reporter for The Western Star in Bessemer (a small city west of Birmingham), Alabama, and a former Sports Editor for the Clanton Advertiser. At the time he was writing for the Sideroad, Loyd was pursuing a Masters in English degree at the University of Montevallo, Alabama. An avid sports fan, soccer is Loyd's sport of choice, one he has been known to coach in the recent past.

"In a country where walking down a street at night is the ultimate gamble. . . gambling should be legalized and regulated. . ."


It's a Gamble. . .

I remember a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno about four years ago who was, apparently, a gambling and odds making expert from England. I don't remember his name, but he was very loud and extremely obnoxious, but sounded like he knew what the hell he was talking about. Jay began asking him about what the British actually gamble on. The guests answer: literally everything.

This guy, whatever his name is, said the British bet on the outcome of elections, what color dress the Queen is going to wear to a certain function, what city is going to be awarded the Olympics, etc. If the outcome is a question mark, the British are laying down some pounds, or chillings or whatever.

After a few moments of witty, yet strangely tense banter, Jay asked Sherlock what event throughout the year gets the most play. His answer was, without hesitation, the Super Bowl!

That's right. The English are crazy about gambling on the Super Bowl. More gambling is done on the most American of sporting extravaganzas in the Mother Country than in the country that created the damn thing. Is this positively weird to anyone else, or is it just me?

We Americans live in a country that claims freedom is the greates gift of all, yet we can't legally bet on a football game unless we are in the state of Nevada. In order to legally lose your shirt on the largest sporting event of the year, you have to be located in that trapezoid full of sand and neon. Yet, apparently everyone in Europe is free to bet on the Super Bowl if they want to.

For my readers in other countries, Americans are so funny about gambling, state and local governments often get involved when church groups decide to hold Bingo games with cash awards to the winners. In many states in the US, only citizens who can prove they are of a Native American background can legally own a casino. What being a native American has to do with gambling I have absolutely no idea, but them's the rules.

All this governmental heat on gambling pushes gambling underground into an unregulated, dangerous, speak-easy type industry. You would think the Federal Government would have learned something from prohibition, but the Feds are notorious for not looking past their own nose which usually only extends to the next election year.

In a country where walking down a street at night is the ultimate gamble, but still legal (as of right now), gambling should be legalized and regulated just like any other industry.

I'm not saying gambling is neccessarily moral, but state and local governments allow gamblingh to happen when they no they can make a truck-load of dough and make it look like it is benefitting the community. In my own city, horse and dog racing have been legal for almost ten years, however I still get pulled over for a busted headlight.

I fail to see the difference between gambling on horse racing and football. True, horses are not human and can't be bought off by unscrupulous book-makers, but their jockeys and owners can. These things are going to happen in any industry. Insider trading is illegal, but buying and selling stock is not. Investing money on a particular football team based and past performance in certain conditions is illegal, investing money in companies based on past performacne in certain conditions is not.

I'll bet you ten bucks I get e-mail about this column.

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Text copyright Charles Loyd MacIntosh, 1997 - '98. Part of the original Sideroad ezine.
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