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.