THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

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Stupor Bowl Sunday

I would say enjoy the game but that might not be possible for some of you. I think I heard there are 800 possible bets you can place on the game. And given the explosion of legalized online gambling in this state and many others many people will be cheering for their bets instead of one of the two teams.

They may say they have a favorite but that is probably based on the bet. I love sports but I found when I gambled I didn’t enjoy it as much. Luckily this lesson was learned early in life. I won’t be one of the people signing up for these sports betting apps. But I worry about the masses that will get in trouble with it.

I have a rather addictive personality and I don’t want a gambling problem. I’m guessing this is going to be a major issue in very short order. The huge sums that are spent on advertising and shows by these companies are going to come out of someone’s pockets and that could be yours. Actually, the odds are good it will be yours.

Photo by Mike Hartley

We all fear there is a significant part of the population that will get in deep trouble with this. I don’t disagree it’s fun and that a lot of intelligent people have a lot of fun doing it and not too much detriment. But just like booze and drugs, some people will lose control, some very bad and crash and burn in tragic ways.

After doing some brief searches about the amounts gambled in the US each year it’s staggering. And I’m not going to list numbers because I doubt anyone knows the actual number of legal and illegal gambling. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we put that to better use? I mean whose well-being do you want to contribute to, some fat cat casino executive and his team or filthy rich cronies or maybe people in your own neighborhood who could use a meal?

It’s funny also how the major league sports flipped on their statements to never be involved with organized gambling. Now they are in bed together full tilt. And if you think all these humungous sums of money won’t affect the future of some events you’re living in la la land.

Think about this, who is going to expose someone who is caught cheating? If the league catches someone are they going to make it public? If they do every game and bet is going to become suspect and that means people won’t bet if they think it’s fixed and the leagues and betting organizations can’t allow that because they will both lose HUGE sums of money.

Maybe another angle to look at is you might not be able to touch these guys in the majors making millions who do really enjoy playing the game and would never consider cash for poor play, but the officials who don’t make those millions or not enough not to require a second full-time job. Is someone going to reach out to them? And is there some regulation these officials can’t bet?

Oh, by the way, you might want to call the Baseball Hall of Fame and have them give Pete Rose a call and say “Come on Down”. And what the hell, let the steroid guys in if were making up the rules as we go along.

This is about money and lots of it. Integrity or ethics or principles are all being bent.

I’m wise enough to know that gambling has a long history. It’s always been one of the great vices. So we got to ask ourselves knowing this is going to ruin and probably end some people’s lives and greatly affect others who are in families with these people or at least alter their possible futures do we go full speed ahead? Well, sorry for that, cats out of the bag, and those fine print disclaimers and the gambling 800 number won’t be able to help a lot of people. Now we just have to wait to see how deep the problem gets and think about solutions.

You know I can’t find much difference between the pharmaceutical executives who flooded our society with Oxy and other drugs knowingly killing many for just vast sums of money and the gambling and sports executives now planning to get rich off of another segment of society.

Greed is ugly. I’m sorry if I’ve been on this rant before but it’s worrisome to me.

I’m not looking for a big win. I’m just looking to spend some time on a bike at the beach a few weeks a year. Photo by Mike Hartley

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • Dogs can look into your heart.
  • The king of all snack days is upon us. I’m trying to moderate.
  • Yep, this is definitely the last Super Bowl I work, even if I’m still employed next year. Time to remember how the vast majority lives.
  • Any week I get to make my grandchildren laugh is a great week for me.

1 Comment

Gambling it all

Given the advertising increase I see in Maryland now that sports gambling is legal I’m worried about a couple of things. They have been happening over time already, but it’s just so prevalent now that it’s changing the face of sports and its meaning.

That passion, that pure joy of just watching/participating in a game is being overshadowed by the money and betting. The fun of watching and living and dying with how your favorite team is doing is replaced by watching who you wagered on with both fear and greed.

Do you keep going till your in over your head? Photo by Mike Hartley

I grew up saving ticket stubs to games. I can see people now saving betting slips as the momentous of games. I saw a news segment this past week of the Washington Nationals ballpark that now has an MGM Sportsbook site. Here is the link from MLB itself. Think about this, it seems all major sports have endorsed gambling. Where is the line?

The temptations are so many and the ease with which such activity can be executed is a deadly combination. So many don’t have the discipline needed to do it responsibly. And yes I include myself in those ranks.

I understand the argument and agree with it that life itself is a gamble. We all make thousands of gambling decisions every day. Do you change jobs or not, do you go for the salad and salmon or the rack of ribs, do you take the interstate or the back roads, do you get the proper rest or burn the candle at both ends? And my most recent gambling decision, When do I retire?

Is gambling fun, sure as hell is. I might get a single Mega Millions or Powerball ticket 2-3 times a year when the jackpot gets high and I’m filling the car with gas and see that flashing neon sign of hundreds of millions of dollars, I might go in for the “few minute thrill” of what if? I always get scratch-off tickets for the family at Christmas as stocking stuffers and they always provide excitement and sometimes like this past year some joy in winning.

I get in on the office pool for the March Madness winner which is just $10 I think. And beyond that, I bet $10 a week during pro football season with my son by just picking the winners of each game. We usually have 2-3 different each week and it’s fun joking with each other about it. And yes he is ahead most years. That is the extent I allow myself.

I’m actually scared of ever starting it again because of that feeling and mindset that seems to trigger a switch in my brain that changes my priorities to something I don’t like. When I did gamble I remember not enjoying watching sports as much at all near the end of my run because of the money.

I marvel at people gambling large sums of their wealth. I guess it’s no different than starting a business in some ways. I don’t have the answer but I fear this could quickly get out of control for a good number of people who just can’t afford it.

I’m not going to pretend to be some all high and mighty here. I could be a gambling addict in a second and did have a problem with it in my youth but thankfully snapped out of it while I was even and before it became an issue. I recognize I can’t do that and set myself limits now.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • I hate starting the day in pain.
  • If you look at taking a hot shower each day as something to be thankful for then you are right because a lot of people don’t have that good fortune.
  • Did the NFL do a flip flop of all times? Denying it had a problem one day and the next saying it is a problem in regard to the issue of black coaches.
  • Any month without a doctors appointment is a good month.