Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Terrible Dilemma. What WILL We Do?!

I was watching CNN all Monday evening, and the pundits were all over the place either praising or hating on the House's passing of the debt ceiling bill. (The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday - I have yet to turn on CNN.)

Depending on where you stand on the political dial, this has been your 'government in action' or 'government of inaction'.

Everyone's playing hot potato with the
Debt Ceiling Bill
Political aside: If you've been watching this, have you ever seen so many people disclaiming their actions? I've heard 50 different versions of, "Now, I don't like this deal, but in order to save our country, I begrudgingly voted for the bill."

NOBODY wants to claim this thing. Either side of the aisle. They're all scared of that political TV ad in the next election showing them voting for this bill. Is that supposed to inspire us all with confidence?

But on to much more pressing matters...

We are a month out from football season, and for the first time in a long, long time... I could actually stand for it to hold off a bit.

Not because I've lost my love for college football, nor have I been diagnosed with a disease that will strike me dead on the starting kick. But I do have a problem that could have a potentially large negative effect on my college football enjoyment this fall.

And it's all Uncle Sam's fault.

No, not the debt ceiling issue. The government has pushed out my online gambling bookmakers! What am I going to do?

Bodog has retreated to European and Asian markets. (And Calvin Ayre is pumped about Asia.)
Full Tilt Poker got taken to the woodshed.
BetUS now has a new domain name that I'm not sure where it's located.

And yes, I will miss the Bodog Girls, too.
And I'm not saying that online gambling has always been a little fishy: Are the odds solid? What if they mishandle a bet? Can I trust them with my credit card info? Will I ever get paid? But it was a risk that I, and millions of others, were willing to take.

And it was great. The convenience of being able to hop on your computer or your smartphone, log on, and make that bet. It removed the waiting line - no longer having to call a secret phone number, trying to get through - and occasionally not being able to get through, and missing your surefire winner. Always devastating.

Online gambling was SUCH a smarter play than any other option. Two main reasons:

1) Your bets (and losses) were only between you and the computer. No one else had to know. You had a documented history of what you had played and how you did, whenever you wanted to take a look.

2) This is the important one - you could only gamble money that you HAD. You put in your $100 (or whatever amount), and that's what you played with. You couldn't chase lost money with money that you didn't have. If you lost it all or wanted to gamble more, then you would have to deposit again. What a fantastic control.

When you don't have this control, this is how legs get broken. By betting money you didn't have in the first place. That's what made the online model so easy. You never REALLY got behind.

But let us turn to the future. What to do now? Do I really have to go and 'find a guy'? I'm not looking forward to that. I'll have lost my instant accessibility, and I'd actually have to go and meet someone and hand them cash (or maybe they'd hand me cash - which would be the first time in a long time).

This is going to be awful.

Or I could just not gamble. But then, where would be the fun in any Mountain West game this year? I've learned so much about the Idaho Vandals the past five football seasons. They play in barn, and one of their goalposts comes out of the wall. I wouldn't have known that without Bodog. I would have never had developed my disdain for Colin Kapernick without online gambling. We found out June Jones and Jerry Glanville were alive in Hawaii because of that late night bounceback game.

It makes it so much more interesting. And fun. And you can even win a little money.

Surely I'm not the only person that thinks about this, am I?

Now, I'm not saying I'm a $100/game guy, because I'm not. I bet quantity, not heavy. Just something to give me a rooting interest. And I don't think that's unhealthy. It may not be wise, but I consider it an entertainment expense. I don't go to strip clubs, and I don't do drugs - so I don't feel too bad risking $70 on a Saturday for a few months out of the year.

Look, it's Mrs. Quattlebaum, the Algebra II teacher.
And the government won't legalize and regulate it. Has anyone done a market study on what the government would have to gain if they taxed online sports gambling? All this garbage we've been worried about the past month on Capitol Hill? Wouldn't exist. Instead of bailouts and defaults, public school teachers would be driving Lotuses to school.

I assume the government says they are concerned over keeping college/pro sporting events on the up and up. 'Mularkey' is what I say. A point-shaving scandal can happen just as easily with or without regulated online gaming. Some sample reading material:

From USA Today, 2007
CCNY, 1951
University of San Diego, 2011
University of Toledo, 2006

You see? Some of those happened before anybody had even thought of the Internet.

So, please, Uncle Sam, don't be concerned about keeping it clean - 'cause it ain't clean. Get organized - you can do this. Seize the opportunity. Make some money. Build schools. Build that high-speed rail we've been hearing about for twenty years. Go to Mars. (Impose higher tariffs on foreign goods - make buying American a smart decision!) Create Jobs.

And let me get back to fully enjoying my Fall Saturdays.

Surely someone in Congress would want to claim this idea.

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