Saint Hoods Is Why I Stopped Betting Sports

Saint Hoods TV Show
Saint Hoods

I caught the first episode of Saint Hoods on Discovery over the weekend and it reminded me why I stopped gambling when I was younger. Saint Hoods is an entertaining show about Boston mobsters and how they make much of their money from people betting on sports. Here’s a snippet of the overview on Saint Hoods from Discovery.

For centuries, Boston has been run by tough neighborhood crews that are in a constant battle for ultimate control and power. On the streets these crews are the law, the keepers of an old world way of life, running Boston’s underworld with an iron fist. Now, for the first time ever, we are on the front lines of this never-ending turf war between Boston’s oldest rival crews of Southie, Roslindale and Dorchester as they use any means necessary to maintain their stranglehold on one of the oldest cities in America.

These powerful crews vie for customers in the lucrative business of sports gambling. However, these businesses extend far beyond just taking bets. The crews claim to offer loans, move merchandise and solve “neighborhood” problems on their own terms.

The show is entertaining and no matter how staged the show may be (by producers or the participants) but it’s a little too real. I was introduced to sports betting by a friend’s older brother when I was growing up. We were all big sports fans. My friend’s brother was a little more into sports than either of us. At first I didn’t realize why he was so into the games at first then I was.

I later learned he had bets on the games we’d be watching. What seemed to be passion and excitement for the games was intoxicating. He seemed to be getting more excitement from just watching the games that I was getting playing the actual games.

I wanted to feel that excitement. Fortunately, I never really felt the rush that my friend’s brother had. I was, and still am, a pragmatic gambler and never bet too much. I saw the highs and lows of betting on sports and dabbled in it because I was a fan. I saw a few too many low points from this friend’s brother and other friend’s I stopped gambling.

Saint Hoods brings me back to those days where the benefits of winning didn’t outweigh the perils of losing. Saint Hoods shows the ugly side of gambling. The gambling is only part of the ugliness (if it’s ugly at all). It’s all the other stuff that comes with the people in charge of gambling.

The gambling that most people do in America isn’t with huge corporations like MGM Resorts or Caesars Entertainment – it’s with people like Tin Man or Pat Nee. TV shows like this put gambling in a bad light because it’s not all mobsters chasing you down because you owe them money. There are businesses – legal and not legal – that offer fair gambling for many people who can control their gambling.

Unfortunately the mainstream sees shows like Saint Hoods and Money Talks and sees the bad side of things. It would be nice if mainstream media showed the good, fun side of gambling but that won’t upset people enough to get ratings. There are plenty of intelligent and compelling people in gambling and it would be nice if that could give the mainstream media the ratings that they desire.

Worst Bookie Ever!

I’ve been around gambling most of my life.  My first real exposure to a bookie was when I worked next door to one working at a candy store when I was around 12 or 13.  They were serious dudes that scared me.  They were also the kinds of guys that made lots of loot – like every bookie I’ve ever met.

Last year I moved to Las Vegas and I’ve been learning about legalized sports betting more and more.  Yesterday I learned that there is a company, American Wagering Inc. (AKA Leroy’s) that takes wagers on sports that a) went bankrupt and b) lost $1.8 million in 9 months.

Despite its dominance in Nevada, American Wagering’s balance sheet is anemic by comparison. The company reported a loss of $1.8 million for the nine months ended Oct. 31 and generated revenue of only $14.5 million for the year ended Jan. 31, 2010. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003 and emerged in 2005, only to see business decline in the recession.

American Wagering is being purchased by a British company, William Hill, so I’m guessing that whatever advantage a bettor might have had is going to go away pretty quickly.

William Hill this month announced an $18 million deal to buy Nevada bookmaking chain American Wagering Inc., which operates Leroy’s sports books and provides the sports betting systems many Nevada casinos use to run their books.

For as long as I’ve been interesting in sports betting I’ve only heard of Leroy’s because they had the first legal sports betting app for mobile phones (not iPhone…boo!).

Still, how can a bookie lose money!?  This is unprecedented as far as I know.  As the article states, this is a future move for William Hill for when online gambling is legalized in America.  For the time being it will be interesting to see how they effect sports betting in Nevada.  It should be only for the better.

Bookies – Movie Review

I’d never heard about the movie “Bookies” before.  I saw that it was on IFC last month so I recorded it and held it for a rainy day.  I figured a movie about bookies can’t be all that bad.  Well, it rained today for about 3 minutes today so I decided to watch the movie.

First thing I noticed is that Rachael Leigh Cook and the dude from Big Bang Theory were in the movie.  I don’t watch many movies, so it was cool to see actors I recognized on IFC.

Bookies” is the story about college kids who enjoyed betting on sports who realize the money that can be made and turn to the other side and decide to be the book makers.

In brief, they start raking in the cash, the dude from Big Bang Theory starts doing cocaine and going a little crazy, and they get in trouble by the guys they used to make bets with.

The movie has just about every stereotype you could imagine with people involved in illegal gambling.  In the end the problems are “taken care of” and the guys pay the consequences with their futures.  Of course, they’re young and in college and life goes on.

Bookies” wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t a great movie.  Between my fondness for Rachael Leigh Cook and the subject matter, I’d watch it again if I saw it while flipping the channels.  I give this 3 of 5 stars – right down the middle.

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