When I was in college I had a roommate who loved to bet on sports. He would bet on everything from professional sports to WAC basketball games without ever seeing the teams play. Every day during baseball season that year, I would get up and check the paper for the betting lines for that day. I would give him three games I was confident in. He would make the call and place his bets.
It wasn’t small money either. No $50 bets. Mostly $500-$1,000 bets. How does $2,500 on the second half of a Gonzaga and St. Mary’s game sound?
There really isn’t anything that compares to the rush you get when betting on games. It wasn’t my money that was on the line, but I still got every bit of enjoyment knowing that there was something on the line that my friend did.
Betting on sports is fun. Plain and simple.
Brian Tuohy from TheFixIsIn.Net estimates that anywhere from $80-$340 billion is gambled on sports each year. Only $3 billion is done in Las Vegas. That’s a lot of money floating around and the FBI and the leagues are aware of it.
This lends itself to the question, do the respective leagues fix their own games? Brian Tuohy seems to believe so.
“I think the leagues have the means and the motives,” said Tuohy. Tuohy has spent years researching the belief that major sporting leagues manipulate their own games in order to boost viewers interest in the sport. More people watching equals more money.
The last time a professional game was found to be fixed was in 1954 by Jack Molinas. Molinas was a professional basketball player for the Fort Wayne Pistons and played in only 29 games before being banned for activities related to game-fixing. There was also the famous “Black Sox” scandal in 1919 in which Chicago White Sox players threw the world series.
In 1964, the FBI passed the sports bribery act to help monitor and eliminate game fixing by players. Much of it was done in order to monitor organized crime’s influence in the professional sports world. Since the act was put into place in 1964, no one has ever been arrested. They must be doing their job, right?
“The media doesn’t care. Bookies don’t care. The leagues aren’t looking for it. And the FBI quit,” said Tuohy.
The FBI really doesn’t look for it anymore because informants are hard to find according to Tuohy.
Do I believe that leagues have the ability and motives to fix their own games? Sure.
Do I believe that they do? Probably.
Do I care? No.
Professional sports are entertainment, not World War III settled by the outcome of a game played at Soldier Field on a Sunday afternoon. Separating emotion from sport is a thing that many people in society struggle to do. People tend to place great significance on the performance of their favorite team.
Most sports fans would be outraged to find that a league may take special measures to ensure the outcome of a specific event.
I understand that sports are entertainment. I compare them to movies. Movies are an entertainment that consumers pay to see, just as in sports. There’s a story with a hero and a villain fighting for the outcome they desire. Just as in sports. There’s a finality in the story. Just as in sports. There are plenty of movies I pay to see and walk a way less than thrilled with the movie. Just as in sports.
Movie writers are trying to write the best story possible. They are trying to give the viewer the best possible experience they can have. Isn’t that what every league aims to do? To give the best possible experience to their collective audiences as a whole.
Professional sports are a business. If there wasn’t any parody, would anyone be that interested in what was going on? Leagues understand that they are in the business of making money. If that means that they compromise the purity of competition to ensure that business thrives, then they are probably doing what any good business owner would do. Ensure that there is a maintained interest in the product over a sustained period of time.
I’m not advocating for the fixing of games, but I would understand if it were done. Money is in the driver seat in many aspects of life and professional sports is no different. So is the fix in? Probably.