Kiszla: Here’s a sure bet. Case Keenum and Broncos will get booed more with legalized gambling on NFL games.

Let the gamblization of sports begin, and we know one thing for certain: This is going to really stink for Case Keenum. His job as Broncos quarterback is about to get more unpleasant, as every point on the scoreboard will be counted in money.

Wanna bet?

The NFL has a gambling problem. Or it did, until the Supreme Court voted 6-3 this week to establish the Patriots as 5-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl. So why fight gambling on sports one more day, when professional football, baseball, basketball and hockey can monetize it ASAP?

There are 150 billion solid reasons sports gambling should no longer be a shady, illegal enterprise in 49 of our great United States. But here’s my fearless prediction: With every dollar wagered, the rooting interests of spectators will change … and, in some ways, for the worse.

As the NFL snuggles up to legalized gambling, Broncos Country will bleed less orange and more green. When the fan sitting next to you at the Broncos’ stadium wagers $250 Keenum will throw for more than 250 yards against Oakland, don’t be surprised when he gets booed running off the field if Denver beats the Raiders but the quarterback fails to covers the bet.

What happens in Vegas is spreading to the rest of the United States, and although nobody asked me, we need a legal sports book on every street corner about as much as we need another coffee shop to serve up caramel macchiato.

This is not a puritanical rant. I don’t smoke Camels or shoot an AR-15, but if that’s your thing, it’s your money. In America, when was the last time anybody viewed gambling as a vice? It’s a way of life, whether we’re talking Powerball or fantasy football.

Fantasy football, I think, offers a glimpse of how more widespread legal gambling will change the way fans relate to their local team. I’m reminded of a conversation with running back C.J. Anderson after the Broncos started the season 2-0 in 2015, but Anderson gained only 56 yards on 23 carries in the two victories.

He caught holy grief on social media from disgruntled fantasy players who acted as though they owned Anderson.

“I don’t go to other people’s jobs and tell them: ‘Hey, you (stink). You’re trash,’ ” said Anderson, expressing a desire to shout on national television for every fantasy general manager to cut him from their fantasy leagues, where there was nothing at stake except a few bucks in the office pool.

Just wait until some knucklehead wagers — and loses — $1,000 because Keenum throws an interception that costs the Broncos a game.

Which brings me to a piece of advice from Anderson that really stuck with me: “Don’t bet on sports. You never know what’s going to happen.”

It seems reasonable to expect a spike in everything from TV ratings to franchise valuations with the introduction of legal gambling to NFL games. A fan is more likely to watch the Bills play the Browns in late December if there’s …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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