April 30, 2009 |

I love Las Vegas.  There is no other city quite like it in these United States.  Living on the west coast for a few years gives you a great appreciation for visiting Sin City, because quite often it is just a 45 minute plane ride to a weekend of decadence, debauchery and most importantly for sports fans, legalized betting on all events.  Delaware is attempting to have the same rights as Las Vegas when it comes to betting on sports.  I think this is a bad idea and it could lead to a negative perception for Maryland and our two major professional sports teams.

Call me crazy, but I think having professional gambling and sports books just an hour away from Baltimore and 30 minutes away from Philadelphia could be a recipe for disaster.  That’s 6 professional teams, their players, coaches, front offices and officiating crews just a short ride on 95 to placing bets on sporting events, and maybe their own teams.  Throw Washington D.C. into the mix and that’s 9 professional teams (can’t call the Nat’s professional) a stones throw away from the smallest state in the union ready to make the biggest historical impact in gaming on the entire East Coast.

The bill will most likely pass any day now because Delaware, like all states is desparate for money.  Count me in as one of the people who are fretting over this possibility as others are salivating at the idea of trying to make wagers on meaningless NFL games just to try and make them interesting.  How else would you explain anyone betting on a Lions vs. Texans match-up in late December?  The fear is that this same passion for betting on anything sports will bleed over to the professionals who now have it right in their backyard.  Is the temptation too great for multi-millionaire athletes with too much time and too much money?  The question will always be raised during sporting events as errors are made, questionable calls occur and coaching decisions come under scrutiny.   Get ready to hear the word fix quite a bit around these parts as the local teams hit the field week after week.

There is a reason Las Vegas does not have professional teams.  The city is definitely big enough and they have the support of local government and citizens.  Seems like a no brainer.  The issue of course is the legalized sports betting and the lure of the big dollars for those associated with the teams.   No commissioner of one of the big four sports would dare let one his precious teams move to Vegas and be tempted by the bright lights and big dollars of the gaming industry.   All the commissioners of the major sports consistently preach integrity.  That integrity is immediately compromised if  there is ever any mention of the words sports gambling as it relates to their leagues.  With Delaware all set to jump into the deep end in the world of sports gambling,  here’s hoping the Diamond State can remain a jewel and avoid the obvious pitfalls of legalized sports betting.  Trust me when I tell you, Delaware is NO Las Vegas and they should be happy about that and try to stay that way.