SNIDER: Sports betting is for suckers

Rick Snider
December 19, 2018 - 11:33 am



The love of sports is officially dead in Washington.

The District Council's approval of sports gambling, pending expected Congressional rubber stamping since the city is U.S. territory and not an independent state, means you'll probably be able to bet on the Washington Nationals opener on March 28.

Whether the first pitch is a strike or ball could make or break you for $50. Instead of being excited to see Max Scherzer's first offering after a five-month break, you're mad over betting wrong.

And instead of enjoying a Capitals' victory, you're angry they didn't cover the spread. And why did Wizards guard John Wall miss that free throw at the end to cost you money? You're going to hold a grudge over that.

It's all coming – the end of your love of the game because it’s no longer a game. It's money.

How integral will betting become in watching sports? Go to Laurel Park for thoroughbred racing. See anybody not betting and just watching the horses compete? Hell no. Racing without betting is boring.

Same goes for other sports. Maybe not at first, but you'll see easy money given you certainly know more about your favorite team than some numbers crunchers in Las Vegas.

And then you'll discover why the house always wins in the end. Indeed, the worst thing to happen to gamblers is winning big early. They spend the rest of their lives giving it back, and more.

And if you think Redskins players complain now over lack of support, watch what happens when they're booed after a victory. You'll see a new distancing between fans and players because of betting.

I'm not anti-gambling, but I am anti- a reincarnation of Greek sirens that lured sailors to their deaths upon rocky shores. You're being played.

The District expects to earn $92 million over the next four years. That number will be only a fraction of what's to come, and it's a regressive tax against the poor just like the lottery.

Oh, the city plans to give back some of the profits with $1 million for violence protection and early childhood care, plus another $200,000 for gambling addiction treatment annually. But, that's little more than two percent. The rest goes to the general fund, which could help justify the city's investment in a potential Redskins stadium at RFK.

Ted Leonsis' eyes are spinning like slot machines over sports betting. Capital One Arena will one day become a casino with fans betting from their seats. You don't think that corrupts the love of the game? The game will become secondary to wagering.

No one can stop you from wagering soon any more than paying $12 for beer at games that cost vendors maybe a buck per can. But realize it's the same con game. You're being played for a sucker. It's not worth the risk.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.