Why is it investing in the stock market, but it’s gambling when making a wager on a sports team? Is the stock market an institution of social morality while a racetrack is a hotbed of moral corruption? Racetrack workers and stockbrokers have one thing in common—they get to work early. Beyond that I would trust grooms and jockeys with my money more than bond and options traders.
Perhaps gambling’s bad rap is rooted in the fact that in the past most sports betting was transacted illegally with a bookie. Only in Las Vegas could you wager on sports legally, yet billions were bet every year with bookmakers. The stories of bookmakers threatening violence for nonpayment of gambling debts was more fiction than fact, but no doubt added to the sinister perception of gambling in general. That is all changed now, as in May 2018 the Supreme Court ruled to allow state-legalized sports betting. If your state doesn’t yet allow sports betting legally, it will soon. The man next to you on his cell phone is as likely to be betting on sports as he is to be checking his stock prices.
Will gambling still be perceived as without virtue—even if it is a legal enterprise? I believe that sports wagering is about to explode in popularity with the new legal online sports betting options soon to be offered. Sports bars will become hugely more popular, and may one day have gambling kiosks available. The major professional sports leagues are vying to charge fees for putting on the games. Your children may one day work for the NBA—in its gambling division. ESPN debuted their show “The Daily Wager” this year, featuring gambling content, as did FOX with “Lock It In.” Colleges will likely soon be offering many degrees in gambling industry professions.
I believe the horse track, Las Vegas casinos, and other venues for gambling, are not intrinsically immoral—any more than drinking alcohol is inherently bad. People go to a two-day Las Vegas getaway, lose their allocated $500 bankroll, and then go back to being a teacher, realtor, or accountant on Monday morning. In the same way, most people can drink a couple of beers or glasses of wine at happy hour, and report to work the next day without any issues. For about five percent of the population, moderation is impossible and they drink or gamble to excess. Yet, there’s a perception that if you like to hang out at the horse track and take chances on a bet or two, you’re seen as a social deviant. Some people talk about baseball’s Wrigley Field like it was a shrine or a museum, but they think of racetracks as one step above brothels. Wagering soon will be legal at both.
The world is changing…and soon the perception of legalized gambling will be much improved. Please don’t tell my wife I wrote this.
Mark Paul – Author
“The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told”
The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told is an inspiring personal narrative about a filly in the male-dominated world of horse racing and inspired crowds of men and women alike, along with a trio of gamblers who embark on an unforgettable adventure that’s as epic as the historic victory of Winning Colors. It’s Seabiscuit meets Narcos, and the best true-life gambling story ever told.
When the gamblers unknowingly place their longshot bet with members of a suspected drug cartel at a racetrack in Tijuana, Mexico, they must figure out how to claim their prize—without getting killed in the process.
Mark Paul lives for action and adventure at locations where gambling occurs. Mark made a 5,000-mile journey in a sailboat through the Panama Canal and then on to the island of Jamaica, to attend Caribbean and South American horse races. He completed these gambling junkets alone, via bus, to gamble at the local thoroughbred racetracks. He was a participant in a $1 million win on the 1988 Kentucky Derby with two other gamblers through a bet placed in Tijuana, Mexico. He has owned interests in 34 racehorses. Mark has enjoyed a long commercial real estate career. With his wife, Renee, Mark raised over $750,000 for City of Hope cancer research through their events held at the Santa Anita racetrack.