On Saturday, May 27, the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers played a game of baseball. If you’re a dedicated reader, you knew that already. You also probably knew the starters for this game, Jesse Scholtens for the White Sox and Michael Lorenzen for the Tigers. But, did you know that your South Siders were the underdogs according to DraftKings and other betting sites?
Maybe you did, maybe you did not. Actually, who are we kidding, of course you knew that! After all, the team, the network that broadcasts it and the ballpark they play at for 81 games a year (no, I’m not counting potential playoff games) will make sure to throw it in your face.
Guaranteed Rate Field has a Caesar’s Sportsbook display that you can’t miss in right field. The Twitter account most well known for tweeting home run alerts, @MLBHR, has odds of the home run being a home run with every alert now, despite the fact that knowing the odds of a past event is useless.
Now, I’m not someone who’s never gambled before. But I hate how predatory gambling is. From your everyday Joe who’s trying to hit it big just once, to your rich, degenerate gamblers like rapper Drake, to players on professional teams, everyone can get caught up in the over-the-top ads seen whenever we turn on a sporting event.
We just had a story come out about English footballer/soccer player Ivan Toney placing bets on his own games. In the NFL, Calvin Ridley just got reinstated after he being suspended for placing bets, and the Detroit Lions just had several players suspended for placing bets on games at the team facility (which is not allowed despite the fact that none of the bets were on NFL games). Former minor-leaguer Peter Bayer was just in the news earlier this year because he was attempting to return to baseball after being handed an indefinite ban by MLB for betting on baseball.
But the truly disgusting thing is what the Chicago Cubs are building right next to what many across baseball consider sacred ground: A brick-and-mortar DraftKings Sportsbook. This, along with the fact that the Addison CTA Red Line station is a standing ad for DraftKings, just feels gross. There are kids that see that and will ask their parents about it. Some of those kids will then go on to place their own wagers on games when they’re older. Hell, some of them will even find a way to do it while underage because they think they’ll be able to make a lot of money, without knowing what they’re doing.
Gambling by itself is dangerous. The fact that sports has decided that they want a piece of the pie is not shocking — gambling ads are all over South Side Sox, too. But there’s little doubt this cozying up to gamblers is going to be hazardous to the strength and purity of the game.