Tag: gambling

Gambling on the Future of Sport
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Gambling on the Future of Sport

Like many of you I love a bet. The horses on a Saturday afternoon, the dishlickers when there’s nothing else to do, snow in London on Christmas Day. That sort of thing.  And yes occasionally I’ll wager my hard earned on the football codes through pick the winner, margins and head to heads. Very occasionally I’ll put a dollar or two on the first try scorer or the first scoring play.  Every time I am separated with my cash it is more in the hope of a collect rather than in the knowledge that it will win. All too often I am wrong. The reason?  Sport is founded on uncertainty of outcome; the playing field is level before the protagonists cross the white line.  Whilst spectacular performance may undo the predictions of many with a favourite downed and an underdog victorious, the bedrock belief is always that the contest is fair and unblemished.  But nowadays this very bedrock on which sport is built is called into question on a daily basis. In Japan sumo, one of the oldest of all sports is shrouded in controversy as the rikishi stand accused of rigging their one on one bouts. Pakistani cricketers have overstepped the mark and been banned for spot fixing, Referees have been jailed for betting on games in which they were officiating around the globe and even the staid sport of bowls was rocked when a Kiwi side threw a match against Thai opponents.  In Australia we tend to regard this as a ‘foreign’ blight conveniently forgetting the Fine Cotton affair and the pitch predictions of a couple of cricketing heroes. More recently running dead to ensure precious draft picks and failed betting plunges on exotic rugby league bets. Whether it be Sydney or Santiago in every case the lowest common denominator is gambling feeding greed. No more no less.  Unless this scourge of game fixing is curtailed the loser will be sport. Our sport. With the seed of doubt sown in our fertile minds we will start to question every dropped pass, every crook decision, every unexpected victory, every missed shot at goal and every penalty. With the integrity of sport undermined, before long the foundations will crumble and sport as we know it will be but a distant memory.

This post first appeared as Monday’s Expert in the Northern Star on Monday 21st March

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