Hear Hear

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006, 9:19 pm

I’m probably scooping Iggy here as he assembles his latest uber-post, but Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban (he also owns an NBA team in Arkansas or thereabouts) has a good post about the hysteria and hypocrisy that surrounds gambling in this country. It’s almost time for March Madness, when millions pony up a few bucks and fill out brackets for their office pool. College basketball is a great game, but the reason fans become infected with the Madness is because they have a few bucks riding on the game. They cheer like crazy for schools they never heard of a week earlier (go Coppin State!) because they love bracket-busting upsets and want their particular underdogs to push them to the top of the standings. Without that little bit of action to spice things up, the tournament’s just another bunch of games. Good games, to be sure, entertaining games. But not worth taking off work to sit in a sports bar for 12 blissful hours.

A few years ago Billy Packer said that the teams making the Final Four should be re-seeded, so that two Cinderellas wouldn’t meet in one semi while two #1 seeds battled in the other. This was about the stupidest idea I’d ever heard. If you re-seed, you can’t put together a bracket for people to fill out and wager on. At least not without the poor guy running the thing crunching numbers like ENIAC. Packer made the foolish mistake of thinking that the basketball is the most important part of March Madness, instead of betting on the brackets. Dumb.

Anyway, it’s a nice little screed. Nice to see that Cuban doesn’t have some flunky proofreading his posts, its presented in its raw, original state. Admirable.

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One Response to “Hear Hear”

  1. Razorfold Says:

    Congress has about as much chance of stamping out online gambling as they do of stamping out jaywalking.

    The only practical method would be to hold ISPs liable for the content accessed by their users, and experience has shown that is not politically possible for a variety of reasons (see the debate a couple years back over online porn). The approach lawmakers are taking is to restrict credit cards from being used to make payments to online casinos. Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on where your sympathies lie — a 5-minute Google search will turn up several payment methods that are beyond the control of the US Congress. And in any case, the vast majority of US credit card providers no longer allow gambling-related transactions, not out of a moral objection to gambling but because they are unwilling to finance gambling debt.

    Gambling is merely the latest activity that has been revolutionized by the Internet. There’s no going back. People who don’t like it will just have to learn to deal. The sky is not going to fall.

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