Place your bets …

It wasn’t too long ago that I remember seeing and hearing ads on TV and radio about gambling. The ads were all about getting help for a gambling addiction. They talked about people who couldn’t pay their bills because they had spent all their money on gambling. These ads, as I recall, were pretty powerful. They could be very emotional and were aimed at those who struggled with gambling.

Those ads seemed to have all but disappeared recently. Maybe it is because of the overabundance of Casino ads. Here in Michigan there are always ads on TV for the major casinos in the area. Many of them focus on the entertainment coming to their showrooms, but there are plenty of ads just promoting various games, free play, etc….

Within the last month, I cannot believe the number of ads that are on TV and radio now for sports betting. They are everywhere. You cannot watch a sporting event without seeing these ads. The ads are not limited to just TV and radio, either. There are billboards for it all along the expressways and public buses have ads slapped along the sides of them. “Your first bet is risk free!” “We’ll give you $1000 free when you place your bet!” There are so many of these enticing ads.

The celebrities are jumping on the bandwagon, too. They are staring in the ads. You can see Martin Lawrence for DraftKings; Ben Affleck, Shaquille O’Neal and Melvin Gregg for WynnBET; Jamie Foxx for BetMGM; and Jordan Spieth for FanDuel.Credit…. just to name a few. As often as they used to air those ads offering “help” for gamblers, it is now apparent that they want to take advantage of those who have a gambling problem.

The first time I ever stepped into a casino, it was because I was there to escort a contest winner to a backstage event. I got there early and brought a roll of quarters and nickels with me (this was before everything went on a card). I walked over to the slot machines and I was out of money in less than 20 minutes. I couldn’t believe how fast it went! I won nothing!!

At a sleep conference held at a casino, I woke up early one morning and walked through the gambling floor. There was a woman who was about 75 or 80 years old at the $5 or $10 slot machine. She must have hit the “spin” button 30 times in a span of 5 minutes. She was still there at that same machine when I came back from wherever I was going. All I could think of was how she was dropping $5 or $10 at a time. I couldn’t help but wonder just how much money she spent in the period of time I saw her.

I guess these new ads about gambling and sports betting got me to thinking. If one time it was a big enough problem to offer help to those with a gambling problem, what are these ads doing to those who are still suffering from gambling addiction? I’m guessing those new apps could care less – after all, they just want their (and your) money.

Place your bets …

“Show me a gambler and I’ll show you a loser” – Mario Puzo

Man's hands move the winnings casino chips on red table.

This is the first year I didn’t have any “squares” for the Super Bowl.  I am sure I could have purchased some.  Some friends on Facebook posted that they had some available, the issue was getting them the money (let alone the fact that money is pretty tight right now anyway!).  I usually get a square or two from a few people every year.  Since I began working on Sundays, I rarely go to Super Bowl parties, and the opportunity to get squares seems to be more difficult.

I was first introduced to foot ball squares when I bowled on a Sunday morning league.  I bowled at a small place called Pastime Lanes.  It was a cool place because the owners were awesome and everybody pretty much knew everybody.  I watched my buddy Joe bowl a 300 game there!  We were usually done bowling by 1 in the afternoon, and during football season, many of us went into the bar afterward to eat and watch the game.  It didn’t matter if it was the home team (Detroit Lions) playing or not.

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The above picture is what a typical “board” would look like.  Each square cost $5 or $10 and you’d buy however many you wanted.  After all the squares were filled, numbers were drawn and filled in on the top and side.  Each side of the board was also assigned a team.  The numbers would correspond with the score at the end of each quarter.  For example if the Lions were on the left and the Patriots were on the top, and the score at the end of the first quarter was Patriots 14 – Lions 0, you would find the 4 on the top and the 0 on the left and the winner is …Chaz Mee.  I never got rich off the squares, but hitting for $50 every so often was nice.  A buddy of mine on Facebook hit a square for $2000 during the Super Bowl (that’s a lot of diapers!)!

I wouldn’t consider myself a big gambler.  I will buy an occasional “instant” scratch off ticket when I pump gas.  I will also play the daily 3 digit every so often.  When I play the 3 digit, it is often the birthdays of my boys and my wife, my anniversary, and my old license plate number – 596.  Sometimes, I win, but most often I lose.

sports-betting

Gambling is something many take seriously!  You can literally bet on anything!  The morning show on one of the stations I work at was talking about the list of “prop bets” people were making on the Super Bowl.  It was crazy stuff!  I had never heard the term “prop bet” before.  For those who don’t know what it is it is defined this way on Wikipedia: in gambling, a “proposition bet” (prop bet, prop, novelty, or a side bet) is a bet made regarding the occurrence or non-occurrence during a game (usually a gambling game) of an event not directly affecting the game’s final outcome.

Prop bets can be:

  • Who will win the coin toss?
  • How long the national anthem will be?
  • Who will score first?
  • Will a quarterback score a touchdown?
  • Will there be more than 50 points in the game

They can also be on silly things like:

  • What color microphone will be used by the singer of the national anthem?
  • Will Betty White appear in a Snickers ad?
  • Will a player use a “prop” during a TD celebration?
  • Who will show cleavage during the halftime show?
  • Who will win the Puppy Bowl?
  • What color liquid will be poured on the winning coach?

I’m sure that there are crazier things than the above that people bet on during the game.  I’ll stick to squares…

Baby Bets

We didn’t wager for any money on this one, but I did go to my Facebook family and friends and ask when they thought our baby would be due.


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I didn’t make a cute chart like the above picture, but I do have all the guesses on a spreadsheet.  As each day passes, we get closer to the due date (2/16).  My wife guessed 2/20.  She liked the idea of her birthday being 2/20/20.  I liked the idea of 2’s, as well, so my pick was 2/2/20 (without really thinking about the palindrome thing).  Needless to say, I am officially out of the running now.  It would have been cool to tell her “Daddy, knew what day you were going to be born!”  With each passing day, I cross of the day and the people who guessed it.  Only two of my friends actually picked the actual due date.

Despite the fact that she picked the 20th, my wife is MORE than ready for the baby to be here.  I am sure she will not mind at all being wrong about the arrival date! We are Week 38 today and if she waits until the due date, it is going to be a LONG and MISERABLE two weeks!

The wait continues … maybe I can come up with some prop bets??

  • Will Dad pass out during the delivery?
  • How many nurses will be in the room?
  • How many hours of labor?
  • Which eye will I get punched in by my wife?
  • Will I use left or right hand to cut the cord?
  • Will Daddy cry?

Ok, the last one is a SURE bet!!!

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