Stab Magazine | Americans, It's Time To Gamble On Surfing (It's Officially Legal!)

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Americans, It’s Time To Gamble On Surfing (It’s Officially Legal!)

The next half-cooked solution to paying off your student loans. 

news // May 16, 2018
Words by Rory Parker
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s no secret that I embrace my vices. Drugs, booze, women, peeing in the shower—if it feels good I say, “do it.”

But I don’t gamble.

I’ve never understood the appeal. Whatever thrill people find in wagering money they can’t afford completely escapes my grasp.

A recent night in the Gold Coast’s Twin Towers Casino was a boring affair. I don’t care how the pokey rolls, I am totally uninterested in which dog or horse can run the fastest.

I’m in the minority. I know that.

Millions of people enjoy the thrill of a bet, to the point that it seems as though Australia is made up entirely of degenerate gambling addicts. Certain porn and weed are still illegal, but if someone wants to render themselves homeless after pissing away a month’s pay in the course of a couple hours they are free to do so.

Until recently, this was not the case in the vast majority of the United States. A 1992 law, The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, made it effectively illegal to gamble in all but four states.

Essentially, sports organizations are aware that they cannot take bets on their own operations without being exposed to the potential for, or accusations of, misconduct.

And there’s little that corporate types hate more than the idea of someone else making money without being able to wet their beaks.

PASPA allowed the Attorney General, “as well as professional and amateur sports organizations, to bring civil actions to enjoin violations.” Once enjoined, the betting agencies could no longer take wagers without being handled civil penalties and facing criminal contempt of court charges.

The Supreme Court’s ruling hinges on the notion of states’ rights. Going forth, the matter of sports betting will be allowed, or not, depending solely upon the desires of various lobbyists and, at least notionally, the residents of each individual state.

The World Surf League’s rules currently spell out its policies regarding gambling very clearly.

Article 173: Gambling, Inappropriate Financial Interest or Relationship, and Bribery

172.01 No individual bound by this Policy shall:

(i) participate in any form of wagering, betting, offering/taking of odds or any other form of gambling in connection with professional surfing while maintaining an interest in the same in any way;

(ii) associate or have any dealings with persons or organizations whose activities, including gambling, might reflect adversely on the integrity of the sport of surfing;
1. (iii) solicit or accept any bribe, gift, payment or reward or anything of value for the purpose of influencing competition during an Event; 

2. (iv) attempt to gain financial benefit by using any information that an individual possesses by virtue of his or her position in relation to a Surfer or WSL official, excluding any information already published publicly or common knowledge, easily accessible to interested members of the public or disclosed by WSL; 

3. (v) fail to cooperate with any and all requests by the WSL Discipline Director during an investigation, that relates specifically to information relevant to gambling, betting or undue benefits received by any individual relating to professional surfing; 

4. (vi) fail to report any activity indicating a violation of Articles 173.01(a) to (d) to the WSL Discipline Director as soon as practicable. 

Of course, it’s an open secret that various individuals within the sphere of the sport love to lay a wager or two. Individual reports regarding the value of insider knowledge, and its efficacy in winning, are varied.

However, there is no world in which the WSL, itself, will be able to profit from the forthcoming American ability to blow paychecks on heat totals. The house cannot control the odds, and if you think accusations of bias are currently rampant, one quails when considering the invective which would spring from poor judging decisions, should the WSL profit from a shocker result.

It’s a development that no doubt stings those currently striving to find profitability in a sport that resists all attempts. While a deep revenue stream lurks in the near future, once again the WSL will not be able to wrap it greasy fingers around it.


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