A Sporting Chance


Sumo  wrestler Kotomitsuki

Fall from grace: Kotomitsuki (right) has been thrown out of the sport.

This summer is a good time for sports, the world’s best bicyclists are touring France, the world’s best football (soccer) teams are in South Africa contesting the World’s Cup, the best poker players in the world are in Las Vegas competing to prove who is the champion World Series Of Poker player and take home a few million dollars, the best junior athletes in the world are gathering in Canada to see who the fastest, strongest and highest jumping athletes under 19-years old in the world are, but sadly in Japan the best of the 2000-year old sport, Sumo wrestling, may not be competing and even if they do the tournament will not be on television.

Like many countries Japan is conflicted over gambling; some gambling, like pachinko parlors are common,  billions of dollars are spent in theses slot-machine-like games, but other gambling is not so acceptable.  The poor wrestler above is one of dozens of icons of the sport being thrown out for betting, not on their sport, but baseball – Hey Pete, sound familiar? Almost everyday brings a new revelation and a new star tainted and shamed by his gambling and forced into retirement, including the head of the professional league.

China is experiencing a comparable schizophrenic episode; Macau reported casino revenues up 60 percent in June over June 2009. The government is reporting that in June it arrested hundreds of people, shut down more than a thousand internet wagering sites and stopped a criminal organization that was taking in billions of dollars – betting on the World’s Cup.

In England it was hoped the World’s Cup would be the largest betting event ever, but with England joining the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Italy and France on the sidelines the betting is bound to be down from predictions. It is still a great summer for sports, but it may not be the greatest for betting on sports.

Still you can probably getting good odds on Lance winning the Tour, LeBron going to LA or Pete Rose going into the Hall of Fame – but none is likely to happen is it?

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