A Winters Express opinion column
By Charley Wallace
When the San Francisco 49ers, who play in Santa Clara County, reached the playoffs I decided that I would bet that they could beat the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were favored to win, but the 9ers had beat them earlier in the season and I thought it was a good idea.
We’ve all seen the commercials about betting online, so I sat down and answered all of their questions and opened an account. I was a little nervous about giving out my credit card number for a deposit, but I did it anyway. After setting up my account, I tried to bet on the 49ers. It asked for my location and then told me that I couldn’t bet online because I live in California and they would refund my deposit.
It was disappointing, but I figured that it probably saved me a few dollars not being able to bet online. I checked my credit card balance and they did refund my deposit. Then the 9ers beat the Cowboys, and then they beat the Green Bay Packers. Not that I’m counting my money that I didn’t win, but it would have been nice to brag about my newfound ability to pick winners.
Why can’t Californians bet on sporting events online? I’m sure there are lots of reasons why gambling is bad for you, but the State of California runs a raffle each week, call the lottery. There are Indian Casinos all over the place, with a new one going in on Highway 99 by Elk Grove. Walk into any bar in California and ask if they have a World Series pool and they will hand you a sheet of squares and tell you how much each square costs. I think that is called gambling.
If you are a hard core gambler, you probably know a bookie who will take your money and pay you when you win. When I was younger we would drive over the mountains to Reno or Lake Tahoe and place our bets at a Nevada Casino. If we won we would have to make a return trip, but even when we won, I rarely made it out of the casino with my winnings.
Even the Indian casinos don’t have a sports book, but maybe that is in their plans. Keep the online sports betting illegal and legalize sports betting at Indian casinos. I’m sure someone in Sacramento will be paid to carry such a bill.
Why not make sports gambling in California legitimate like most states? I don’t mind regulating gambling. I want to make sure who ever is running the game has enough assets to pay the winners.
There is also a part of me that agrees that gambling is bad for you and keeping it illegal is a benefit to society. The libertarian in me thinks that people should have the right to spend their money on anything they want, whether that is alcohol, drugs, ice cream, hamburgers or gaming.
If anyone wants to bet a dollar on the Rams this week, let me know, but remember, the Rams are favored by 3.5 points. I hope that isn’t illegal to print in a family newspaper in California.