TSNís Boss puts the case for legal Sports Betting
By Paul
Betting on sports has been around probably since the Greeks held the first Olympics, but the US sports establishment has traditionally been resolute in its opposition to any association with gambling. That opposition has been tapped into with recent attempts to outlaw sports betting on the Internet, so the comments of Mickey Charles, President & CEO of The Sports Network, are particularly salient.

The Sports Network isnít a gambling business, but sports information used in betting is displayed on its site, sportsnetwork.com.

Speaking at the recent Sports Business Marketing & Sponsorship Conference in New York City, Charles said that the publicís enjoyment of gaming isnít going to go away, so regulated sports betting, as offered by Nevada and New Jersey, is the way forward:

ďI am not the poster boy for gambling,' Charles said, 'but I certainly recognize its impact upon the populace and the fact that they will gravitate towards it whether at the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City or through the wagering channels that are now the off-shore gaming operations of Costa Rica, Antigua, Curacao, Gibraltar, Malta, Isle of Man and a host of others from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean.

'Sports teams such as the New York Yankees accept advertising monies from Connecticut based Indian casinos and that is condoned as good business. At the same time, the leagues condemn wagering on their sport by the same participants that travel to these casinos. There is an inherent hypocrisy in that approach. The NFL will sell its package of televised games to Las Vegas casinos and sportsbooks but censures and denounces wagering on its sport

'The commercial casino industry pays close to $3 billion in direct gaming taxes annually, employing more than 325,000 people with total wages of nearly $10 billion. Tax revenue from gaming [casinos] helped preserve historic buildings in Colorado, funded housing, infra-structure improvements, youth counseling programs, transportation and health care services in Mississippi, financed education and public safety programs in Missouri and supports senior citizens, the disabled and economic revitalization programs in New Jersey.'

Charles also cited a recent governmental study which refutes the claim that gaming contributes significantly to forgery, fraud or embezzlement.

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