Gambling and Track and Field; Alvarado car crash?;

All Bets Are Off…For Now?

Betting on marathon and track and field events is virtually nonexistent in the United States, but there is some discussion of whether to implement gambling at track and field and marathon venues. Historical accounts from England in the 17th and 18th centuries reveal that wagering on foot races was once a widespread commonality. However, there are few occurrences of betting on foot races in early America. In fact, in 1888, the Amateur Athletic Union precluded all gambling on foot races in the United States, which continued from then until 1995. John Mansoor, then indoor meet track director of the Reno Air Games, introduced gambling to the meet in Nevada. USATF hastily sanctioned the notion, and the story displayed in many national newspapers. But what is most intriguing about gambling on races is that there are no laws against betting on races in the United States. The setback? You can only make legal sports wagers in Las Vegas, and Las Vegas has no interest in offering a gambling option on track and field events. The article does not discuss the reasons for that, but I would imagine Vegas has zero expertise in the area, and they likely do not believe they can make enough money out of it to make it worthwhile for Vegas. Internationally, though, Europe has adopted gambling in track and field not for financial reasons, but as a form of marketing, The Weltklasse Zurich, for instance, added betting to Athletics (the formal term for track and field in Europe), in order to attract more people to attend competitions.

Why hasn’t America implemented gambling? The biggest concern is whether gambling will ruin the integrity of the sport. By nature, gambling has a negative connotation attached to the name, which causes ,many directors of marathons and track meets from infecting the sport with gambling. Track and field still has the “pure sport” countenance that many directors want to maintain. Others feel that the lack of gambling proves how unpopular the track and field world is from the rest of the sports in the United States. Creative thinkers, though, are working on ways to finagle gambling so that it becomes more of a promotional feature. One idea is to place bets on athletes hitting at or below a target goal, and if the athlete hits the goal, the athlete receives the money bet on him. In essence, the crowd would pay for the performance; failure to hit the target goal would mean the gamblers receive their money back. Another idea is to put the money toward an athlete’s charity, and the place the athlete comes in would determine how much the charity would receive on behalf of the athlete. Note that these are for professional meets, and that any affiliation with NCAA athletes completely shuts out talk of gambling. Think about it, though – given Galen Rupp’s astounding achievement of two American records in two consecutive weeks, and the hunt for the American mile record at the Millrose Games, wouldn’t it be tempting to wager on whether he would break another record?

Alvarado Linked to Car Crash

Yesterday afternoon, Denver police found an SUV with a smashed hood in Sloan’s Lake that is believed to be associated with Boxer Mike Alvarado. The police have reason to think the vehicle experienced a crash earlier in the week, and that Alvarado had something to do with the vehicle rolling into the lake, as Alvarado purchased the car. Interestingly enough, the vehicle is not registered to him. Alvarado denies the allegation. Alvarado posted bond for an outstanding warrant and an unrelated traffic violation yesterday, and is set to leave for California for a boxing match. His manager-trainer and his promoter both vouch for Alvarado’s lack of involvement.

Finally, the last two pieces are that no security threats have been made against the Superbowl (although I would think that sounds like an indirect invitation for something to occur), and the owner of the St. Louis Rams purchased a sizable piece of land in Inglewood that could be used for an NFL stadium, but there are substantial consequences if in fact Stan Kroenke intends to move. It appears to be all speculation, but that may only serve as a protection to the St. Louis Rams in maintaining their fan base.

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