Tag:Sports Betting
Posted on: December 16, 2008 11:09 pm

Uncle Sam the Bookie

Is there really a difference playing the lottery provided by Uncle Sam or placing a bet with a bookmaker? It all started with the lotto in which the State government realized if you dangle a large prize in front of their respective population that they will jump at the opportunity to forfeit their hard earned money. The lotto is also commonly referred to as the “stupidity tax” because the odds of winning single State lotteries is about 18 million to 1 while multiple state lotteries have odds as high as 120 million to 1. While the odds of get stuck by lightning varies but it is roughly 3 million to 1, you do the math.

Now when a bookie wants to create interest and action he widens the scope of potential bets. The most popular is sports betting such as an NFL Monday Night Football game, MLB World Series, NBA Basketball Final or the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup Finals. If the sports gambling business hits a little dry patch a bookie may even dabble in PGA Golf for the Masters, NASCAR racing or even Major League Soccer. Bookies don’t typically get involved in sports boards or office pools because they gain an advantage by setting the sports betting lines. Bookies are no longer just the guy in the corner at some dive bar, it’s all about convenience now with online sports betting, and it’s all about accessibility.

Uncle Sam has learned valuable lessons from the local bookie. First of variety, the State lotteries offers standard lotto, mega or power-ball, Take 5, Pick 10 & Win 4 to attract more “players.” Not satisfied with that the NYS lottery added over 50 different “scratch off” games. To capture additional revenue state sponsor gambling increased it’s venues to include taverns and restaurants “Quick Draw” was born with an opportunity to gambling every 10 minutes to the patrons. The State of OR took it one step further for a few years and offered a sports promotion state run March Madness pool.

It is a common misconception half of all lotto proceeds go to education, for example in CO lotto money is used for endangered species and government owned parks and other infrastructure. Funds to address government infrastructure come from taxes by protocol but not here and unfortunately straying from this opens Pandora’s Box. The Sierra club (one of the largest environmental lobbyist group) now wants a hand in spending the lotto money. But I digress, bottom line no one really knows how much money is collected, how it’s used and what the real pay-out should be. On the flip side, when a gambler uses the service of a bookie or online betting site, the wager and the payoff are completely spelled out.

Now I ask which one seems seedier.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com