Reversal of PASPA changed my world forever

Reversal of PASPA changed my world forever

April 10, 2019 3:01 AM


“Never judge a book by its cover.”

“Always walk in the other person’s shoes.” 

“All the world is a stage, we are merely players.”

“Conscience is a man’s compass.” 

You may be wondering why this gregarious dude opened up his column with metaphors about life. Actually, it is quite logical. As I am watching this terrifically entertaining NCAA championship basketball game, I can not help but reflect over the whirlwind in my life over the last 10 months.

It has actually been an amazing sight to watch these 18-22-year-old young men play so passionately.  The dedication of the coaches, students, parents, and alumni is so pure in these moments. College basketball, of course, has its’ peripheral negative issues, but aren’t there challenges with most endeavors in life? 

When the U.S. Supreme Court reversed what was called PASPA, my world, as well as those in the sports betting business, changed forever. Once it was announced who the new players in the space would be, I could not wait to get my hands on New Jersey. I was so excited that I flew to Atlantic City for the first week of college football. It was such a rush knowing that I could now wager legally in my old stomping grounds.  

All of the casinos rushed to get the windows open, without properly training the staff, which was disappointing. However, they bounced back in a big way ($385 million in January alone); and while there is still room for improvement in the brick-and-mortar sports books, I believe about 80 percent of New Jersey’s betting has been done over apps. 

I look forward to visiting some of the other states that offer sports betting this summer. I have been told by some industry insiders that Indiana and Illinois are on a fast track to being next up. 

I was quite honored to be invited to participate in the Showtime documentary, “Action.” All I basically knew from the outset was that a camera crew would follow me around and I would go about my usual business.  

There is some “playing to the camera”, of course, but it really is me acting very naturally. I knew of only one other character on the show, my colleague and talented friend Kelly Stewart. Then came the screening of the first episode. 

That is when I learned of one of the other guys profiled on the show.

Let’s just say that my blood pressure was not exactly in the normal range when I found out. I was outraged at this casting decision. I felt that the credibility of my appearance would be tarnished and I had big plans that may now be permanently affected.

You see, I know what this guy is about. I also know who he goes after. The under-35 crowd and more importantly, the under-25 crowd who are easily influenced by videos of stacks of bills, fancy cars and beautiful women partying it up. He does this on a volume basis and when they finally realize he is just a good marketer, their wallets are fleeced out of many thousands.

The next day, the bosses from Showtime contacted me after learning of my distress. Following a meaningful explanation of how reality television matriculates, I chose to “let sleeping dogs lie.” The Showtime higher-ups were indeed correct, given how the show’s story has evolved, and the passionate reaction disseminated by the viewing public.

The lesson: management and executives in most professions do not achieve success by being ignorant or misinformed. Decisions are almost always calculated.

Initially, I had a knee-jerk reaction, because that is how I am wired. In fact, my work consists of a bevy of impulsive decisions, given the requirement of a professional sports gambler. However, given this television experience, I have gained an even greater appreciation for the virtue of patience. I kept to my business, trusted the process, and ultimately things truly worked out for the best.

Now that the daily grind of the football/basketball season is over, I will concentrate on baseball and maybe even a little WNBA next month. In my opinion, there is nothing like going to a few baseball games, grabbing a hot dog and a beer and sharing stories and memories with your buddies.

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