Gambling in America
If Pete Rose is a gambler, then he is not alone! There are over 1,400 casinos in America. A full 80% of the States have active, profitable lotteries. Gambling is found online, in schools, and at every turn in American life. There has even been a college basketball bracket filled out by the President of the United States in the White House, (although I’m sure his entry wasn’t covered by any money in any office pool!). As we come to grips with how gambling has taken hold in the fabric of our society, and how professional sports are NOT distancing themselves from gambling, let’s keep an open mind and a forgiving heart. In addition to the casinos, jai alai frontons, horse and dog racing tracks, and the like, we have to consider that there’s much more gambling in America. MegaMillions is a Multi-state jackpot with drawings twice a week, selling tickets in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Delaware, Georgia, Ioaw, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Powerball is another multi-state game selling tickets for drawings twice a week in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. The states that carry the big multi-state jackpot games also carry a variety of other gambling products such as pick 3, pick 4, pick 5, win for life, and fast play games like bingo and keno. There is also a tremendous variety of scratch ticket games ranging in price point from $1 to $20 where a player can win anything from a million dollars to season tickets to a local sports franchise. There is also available in America, online casinos, online poker, basketball brackets (even our president participated last year), basement poker nights, high school football raffles, firehouse bingo, golf course wagering, and on and on and on. The point I’m trying to make here, (did you get a kick out of my listing the over 1,400 casinos in America?), is that gambling is widely accepted in America. Yes, I know Pete Rose should not have bet on baseball. He has admitted his transgressions and apologized. If we want to look long and hard at how important it is to keep separate our sports teams and gambling, we should realize that there exists all around us marketing partnerships, such as sports teams on lottery tickets and casino advertising at ballparks and during telecasts. There also exists an interesting situation where the owner of the Detroit Tigers, Michael Ilitch, is married to Marian Ilitch, the sole owner of the Motor City Casino in Detroit. I would like to suggest that we stop pretending that gambling is the worst transgression ever perpetrated by an athlete in America. Pete was never found to have bet against his team, or throw a game. Pete holds the Major League Baseball Record for having played in the most games won. America is a land of gambling. America is also a land of forgiveness. It’s time to forgive Pete Rose and get him back in baseball, and get him into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.