What is the Real attitude of Professional Sports Leagues to Internet Gambling

A lot of gambling related themes, e.g. NHL Gambling Probe and the introduction of legislation banning Internet Gambling, have been much debated for the last few months. The article “Should Online Gambling Be Banned?” in the Wall Street Journal issued on the 4th of April, 2006 cites Rep. James A. Leach, a Republican from Iowa, who says that it is not accidentally that the supporters of the legislation he has introduced are the representatives of every major sport organization: NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA. Thus it means that they do not support Internet Gambling. At the same time they do not mind the British Columbia Lottery Corporation allowing residents to wager on a number of sports. E.g. they ran a promotion for “March Madness” until the 3rd of April where the following text could be seen: “It’s all about hoops: 64 teams, 61 games, March 16 – April 3. Bet on all the big games with Sports Action Oddset and Point Spread below”. If you wish you can check it out for yourself at https://playnow.bclc.com/BCCF/forwardIndexSportsAction.do

So, it is natural that people start doubting whether the pro sports organizations support Internet gambling or not.

Rep. Leach also says that real brick-and-mortar casinos can keep children and unreliable gamblers away, while Internet casinos cannot.

At the same time as they say, British Columbia seems to be able to monitor the web; states like New York and Illinois are seriously regarding the opportunity of offering their lotteries online to the state residents.

Representatives of the major sports leagues seem to be displeased and in their letter dated February 1, 2006 to Congress stated the following: “Sports gambling threatens the character of team sports. Our games stand for the values of clean and healthy competition, and rewarding teamwork, preparation and honest effort. When sports gambling is prevalent, the games begin to represent a “quick fix”, the desire to get something for nothing, and even corruption. Allowing rampant sports gambling can cause a cynical and suspicious perception of athletic events, in place of the traditional American values they should represent”.

But on the other hand the Major League Baseball league has recently introduced the Red Sox Instant Ticket. It appeared on sale on the 11th of April as a result of an agreement between the Lottery and Scientific Games which is the world’s largest instant ticket producer. Being Scientific Games’ licensing subsidiary, MDI Entertainment not so much time ago entered into a relationship with MLB to offer league and team logos to lotteries for use on instant tickets. Thus, the Massachusetts Lottery is the first in the country to produce an instant ticket in accordance with this new agreement. As a result it seems that MLB supports US gambling.

It is believed that the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA are being sponsored by ActionPoker.com, and even the writer himself witnessed the game in which the announcer promoted the online poker site scrolling banners that featured the URL. To make sure that it’s really so you can visit an official NBA site (http://www.nba.com/clippers/news/actionpoker_offer_060130.html) where you can observe ActionPoker.com giving competitors the chance either to win Clippers courtside seats or the trip to Las Vegas by having logged onto ActionPoker.com, entered in the code 1ACTION and started playing. For more details go to http://www.actionpoker.com/form/clippers.html.

“This encourages widespread gambling by minors and young adults…” – these are the words from the February 1st Pro Sports letter that were also addressed to Congress.  This seems to prove that pro sports organizations are against children playing, but once during a hockey game a boy in his early tens was a given a chance to take part in the game where he had to decide whether the next drawn card was going to be of a higher or lower value, and his face was shown live on a big screen, and it could be observed by thousands of other children. That game is called Hi-Lo, and who will deny the fact that it is gambling. So, what we observe now is that even NHL teaches children how to gamble.

To get comments the organizations like BCLC, MLB, NHL, NCAA, NFL and NBA have been contacted, but none replied!

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About Mark Newman

Mark Newman - was born in 1971 in Pictou, a town located on the beautiful Northumberland Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. In 1998 he graduated from Acadia University (Nova Scotia, Wolfville) with the Master’s degree in social studies. Mark simply adores his wife and sons. Considers poker to be one of the most exquisite kinds of art and rarely misses his chance of practicing.