One thing that’s bugged me over the past 18 months or so, is the constant blabber you hear about Las Vegas being a gambling town. Well, so what, it is. Nashville is a music town, LA is a Hollywood town, and Pittsburgh is a steel town (Is that still a thing?). Each NHL city has a main industry of something, Las Vegas just so happens to capitalize off people losing. What bothers me more about the gambling chatter, is the foolish notion that somehow a hockey game will get fixed. Fixed? Cmon, who are we Morie the Wig Guy? It’s not the easiest or most common practice these days.
For an NHL hockey game to be rigged, you’ll really have to motivate the players. Most are millionaires, and the rest are young kids who will be millionaires. Considering an average NHL player salary is $2.4 million, the money won’t motivate them to lose. How about hatred for the team or coach? Well if the players hated the coach that much, the GM would’ve sniffed it out and canned the head coach. Same goes for a player hating his team, he won’t play. I guess the only possible way to fix an NHL game would be kidnapping someone a player knows. That’s it, a kidnapping. Liam Neeson has already reached out to help, but he suggests doing exactly what the captors say.
Now that I
sorta ripped off a Family Guy joke, let’s move on. Las Vegas doesnt need to be involved in a fix anyway. Sure it’s the only American state to allow full sports betting, but there are bookies older than the Flamingo. My Grandfather told me stories about placing nickel bets on Joe Louis when he was 17 years old. A fix can be attempted by any local gambler/bookie, but they’ll need serious influence and money.
Im sure you all read about the Pro Tennis match fixing scandal, and how it could’ve been happening for years. In 2015 alone upwards of 50 suspicious matches were investigated. It might get real ugly as Grand Slam matches could’ve been fixed as well. It’s not a good story for the ATP. It’s the biggest scandal to hit the sport since Agassi’s wig. Reportedly, bettors in Italy, Russia and Spain were making a grip fixing matches and no one suspected anything for years. What’s worse is while the story unfolds, eight flagged players are currently playing in the Aussie Open. Ha, and we thought MLB was messed up.
Pay attention to this story, it should be interesting how punishment will be served. There are plenty of retired players involved, will they go after them? Any criminal charges coming? How about today’s players involved, will they be banished from the sport? They are all questions right now, but hopefully investigators will uncover the truth. Sadly, when one of Tennis’s best players admits to being offered $200k, the scandal looks to be true. Obviously Novak Djokvic never took the money, because The Joker makes over $15 million a year. $200k is not enough to motivate him or other top players, but it is to #55 on the tour. If the average tennis player makes $110k a season, an extra $200k to fix a match might be enough motivation. Tennis, boxing, even jai lai are pro sports for fixing. Financially it can be rough for athletes ranked on the bottom. But money isn’t an issue for a major North American sport like hockey. There’s too much money for players to worry about making a quick buck. Keep in mind bums like Bryan Bickell make $4.5 mil a year.
Let’s finally put fixing NHL games to rest. Las Vegas is more corporate than anything, it’s not worth running a shady operation for casinos. Same goes for NHL players, it’s not worth ruining an already lucrative career over. Plus expansion players will be treated like kings in Las Vegas. They’ll have plenty of extra cash, they won’t need to fix games. Players won’t have to pay for a drink or meal for years. Imagine how the Spearmint Rhino girls will treat NHL players. Now if Ken or I was offered money to be part of some national blog fixing scandal, then count us in. It’s completely wort the risk. Hey sorry, we all can’t be as rich as Bryan Bickell.
There is more of an issue that could be made with players running into folks selling drugs than gambling. If a player is going to dive into shady shit, there isn’t much you can do about it. I’d be more afraid of Chicago or New York players for that reason.
As you stated, Vegas is corporate now (for better or worse). Can you find shady charatcers? Of course…I’m sure there are a number of Nick Diamonds around, but what does that do for a millionaire? Very little, which goes back to the drug point.