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
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
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
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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