If handled responsibly, sports betting can be a fine addition to your sports-watching habits. If handled responsibly…
Sorry to reiterate but that first part is important.
You see, I found that out first-hand how fun and stressful sports betting can be this past football season. Thanks to a certain casino in Natchez, Miss., I made my way across the river several times and luckily ended the year with a nice little profit. But the profit isn’t the story of my sports betting experience this past season.
After suffering through bowl games — and I’ll save you my preachy thoughts on bowl games this week after last week’s column — I needed something to keep me intrigued. Wow, I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Needing incentive for college football bowl games? Welcome to 2019.
That’s where we are, though, in college football. When players choose to sit out to protect their future, my enjoyment of the product suffers. Look, I don’t pay to see “B movies” at the cinema, and I also don’t like spending hour upon hour watching powerhouses like Michigan trot onto the field with its second-team defense. So the bets helped, especially when I was smart enough to pick teams like Florida, who had more hands on deck.
Now, before I go any further, you need to realize what I actually mean by sports betting. Before I advocate, you need to understand we’re talking about betting $20 to $40 at most on any given Saturday. In other words, bet an amount that won’t hurt your income should you find yourself on the wrong end of a ‘”bad beat.” I was on the wrong end of one of the worst of the season when Nick Brossette decided to slide instead of give LSU a double-digit lead against Arkansas in November.
So before you risk the big bucks, think about that conversation you’ll have to have with your spouse and how they might not fully understand you lost because a player slid with less than a minute left to play.
The only problem with sports betting is, you guessed it, the addictive habit. When you win a parlay, especially in dramatic fashion, it does the unthinkable for a hardcore sports fan — it makes it even more enjoyable.
And so after you win, it’s easy to take that winning ticket and put it on an additional parlay. That’s the fear of sports betting, or gambling in general. But if you’re reasonable with your money and view it as a night out or a trip to the movie, it really can add to your college football viewing enjoyment.
As for its impact on the economy, there are stories circulating like the AP’s suggesting sports betting isn’t a home run for state funding. The returns for Nevada and Mississippi have been modest at best, but let’s not forget Mississippi is just getting started. The AP reported Nevada accounted for roughly one half of one percent of the entire state budget, while Mississippi expects a return of $5M in tax revenue. I don’t know about you, but with Louisiana’s current state budget, an additional $5M sounds good to me. Heck, it’s better than nothing.
But at the end of the day, I think people should have the right to bet on gambling if they choose. Just like everyone has the right to overeat or overdrink. It’s not good for you, but it’s up to you to be wise enough to know the certain amount you can afford.
My trial with sports betting was cautious but exhilarating at the same time. Even if it was only a $50 profit on the line, I jumped up and down in my living room as Kentucky upset Missouri on an improbable finish earlier this season. If not for that bet, I would have barely paid attention to that game. So this is one thing college football has going in its favor currently.
Betting can be good for both the state and the consumer if done properly. And you can take that to the bank.