A new field of science was birthed from this month, and it’s not how many beers you can bong in Cancun. Nope, the relatively new marvel of man is called bracketology, and it means one thing: March Madness is upon us.
The brackets compose the schedules for the annual NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which start late next week. Ah, the Big Dance: from 64 teams, sports fans are treated to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and THE Big Game. It’s arguably one of the biggest, most exciting sporting events in the nation. But the hoops postseason is also one of the biggest money-making events; as a result, it produces a vast amount of (legal and illegal) sports gambling.
From friendly office pools and casual bracket bets with your buddies to the hardcore money wagered in the casinos of Vegas and the basements of bookies, sports betting flourishes this time of the year. Lots of betting equals high ratings because of everyone with money at stake. High ratings equal more money from advertisers and the NCAA. Money for them means bigger paychecks for coaches and officials. So while few admit it, nearly all see a significant amount of their income come from gambling.
But does that make it okay? We think so. Gambling is only legal in Nevada, but that hasn’t stopped 99 percent of it from happening outside the glittery confines of the Strip. We think sports betting is a harmless, victim-less, albeit mostly illegal, action and are all for it – as long as those participating aren’t players, coaches and officials.
In other words, think again, all you potential Pete Roses.