Sports Betting Revenue Buries Prior Reservations

Views from the upper Deck of a Los Angels Lakers Game in early December.

The United States Supreme Court deemed the ban of sports betting outside of Las Vegas unconstitutional in May of 2018, opening up the floodgates for sports fans eager to place wagers on their favorite sports. 

Over 20 states have already incorporated it in some form since the law changed. In November, Pennsylvania recently released record numbers for revenue, including $84.9 million wagered, including many bets on Super Bowl odds

The previous record in the state was $49.4 million, which happened in January 2021. These numbers have made casinos, politicians, and winning bettors happy they are allowed to participate in something long banned. 

People in power were previously worried about things that may go on in the shadows. But having that stance on gambling never prevented shady things from going on.

How much does the World Series mean to you?

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were supposed to paste the Cincinnati Reds in a then best-of-nine World Series. But under the surface, White Sox players were tired of being underpaid and mistreated by then-owner Charles Comiskey. Several of the players organized behind the scenes to fix the outcome of the series with gamblers.

While there is still a debate about who was involved – Shoeless Joe Jackson’s involvement has been tirelessly debated throughout the years -the heavily-favored Chicago falling to the Cincinnati Reds in eight games created waves. 

Major League Baseball hired Kenesaw Mountain Landis as commissioner, who banned all eight players involved for life. Baseball would continue to take a hard-line stance on gambling. 

Pete Rose, ironically who was most famous for playing with the Reds, would be banned for life for betting on games that he managed and played in during the 1980s.

SMU football didn’t get the first death penalty in college athletics

City College of New York was on top of the college basketball universe in 1950. CCNY won both the NCAA and NIT Tournaments. However, CCNY was one of seven schools directly connected to gambling and point shaving. 

The other schools involved included: New York University, Long Island University, Manhattan College, Bradley University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Toledo.

Thirty-two players admitted to taking bribes that impacted 86 games. The NCAA would force most of the schools to shut down their programs. Kentucky got a one-year ban for the 1952-53 season. CCNY would be forced to cut down on its athletic program and eventually cut down to Division III.

Karras and Hornung, how about you take some time off?

Paul Hornung was a legend at Notre Dame before adding to his mythos while being one of the stalwarts of Vince Lombardi’s offense for the Packers. Hornung, who the Packers drafted in 1957, admitted to starting to gamble in 1959. 

Hornung bet on horse racing, college, and pro football. After admitting to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle he even bet on the Packers, Rozelle suspended him for the 1963 season.

Alex Karras, who played for the Detroit Lions also received a one-season ban, also admitted to betting on NFL games, including ones he played in.

Karras, who was also reinstated after one season, didn’t take the suspension too hard. He was able to book a pro wrestling match against Dick the Bruiser that paid $17,000. That was more than his NFL salary at the time.

Schlichter’s career never gets started

The Baltimore Colts seemed to be cursed toward the end of their run in the Charm City. When the Colts selected Ohio State standout Art Schlichter with the fourth pick of the 1982 draft, they weren’t aware of the gambling problems he had started to develop in college.

Schlichter would blow his entire singing bonus — $350,000 — during the player’s strike by gambling on college games and other sports. That debt ran up to $700,000. His debt got so deep with illegal bookmakers he went to the FBI for protection. 

The NFL would suspend him for 13 months but reinstated him for the 1984 season. His return to professional football didn’t last long as the Colts heard he was gambling again and cut him in 1985. The NFL denied his reinstatement in 1988. He only passed for 1,006 yards as an NFL player, throwing three touchdowns and 11 interceptions. 

Schlichter would find some success in Arena Football, winning Arena Bowl IV with the Detroit Drive and being named league MVP in 1990. He threw 105 touchdowns against 28 interceptions during his time in Arena football.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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