COLUMN: Sports betting isn’t a sure thing

I learned early about sports betting.

Before high school on Wednesday mornings during football season, I’d head for my dad’s gray metal lunch pail on the kitchen counter.

The betting slip for that weekend’s games would be inside.

Every NFL game was listed with the point spread, followed by a selection of college football games as well.

If you picked the winners in three games, you won $8 on a $1 bet.

If you picked four winners without a miss, you won $10.

I remember telling my dad, “This will be easy.”

Each Friday, I put up my $1 for my dad to place my bet.

Each Sunday, I agonized as the games went back and forth with my bet seemingly hanging in the balance on some meaningless last-minute field goal.

After missing all four of my picks one week, I told Dad that if you managed to pick all four wrong, the bookie should give you your money back out of pity.

Over the years, I’ve been in a few Super Bowl pools and wagered on the NCAA Basketball Tournament when I was in Las Vegas, but for the most part I learned my lesson about sports betting.

The best bet was not making any.

Last month, the Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that banned sports betting. poker domino It cleared the way for New Jersey — and other states — to allow it.

The court’s decision was a legal one, not a moral one, and while I have no problem with placing an occasional wager, sports gambling does come with some baggage.

Most of us have heard about the Chicago White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series.

We know that all-time hit leader Pete Rose was thrown out of baseball for betting on games while he was a playermanager of the Cincinnati Reds.

But there are many other examples in which the integrity of the games have been compromised.

College basketball was rocked by a point-shaving scandal that involved seven schools in 1951, and another one in 1961 that led to 37 arrests at 22 different colleges.

Pro football players Paul Hornung and Alex Karras were suspended for the 1963 NFL season for betting on football games and associating with undesirable people.

In 1979, Boston College players were caught up in a point-shaving scandal.

And in 2007, an NBA referee was caught betting on games and was sent to jail.

Just a few years ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo staked upstate’s economic future on new casinos that would attract visitors to different parts of upstate, including one in Schenectady. Revenues have been short of expectations so far.

On Tuesday, Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to go live with sports betting at its three casinos, with the governor there placing the ceremonial first bet on the Philadelphia Phillies.

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