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Mailbag: Charlie Hustler

December 15, 2015

Hi CL,

Pete Rose: your thoughts, given, your industry ties? The gambling industry!


Dear Curious,

Let me put this in the clearest possible terms: if I could put Pete Rose in prison for betting on games he played in and managed, I would.

I think gambling should be legal. Bookies and their customers having to hide is the shadows is horseshit. It should be out in the open the way it is in the UK, Ireland, Europe, and Australia (among other places).

But the only way gambling works is if it’s clean and it’s perceived to be clean.

If you have the money, I can help you place a $1,000,000 bet on an NFL game. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not.

If you want to bet at tiny fraction of that, say $1,000, on Wrestlemania, Miss Universe, Reality TV, or the next city to host the Olympics, I can’t help you. And $1,000 is just about the upper limit on widely bet stuff like politics or the Oscars.

Why? Because everyone knows Wrestlemania is fixed (even if they don’t know the winners themselves… “someone” knows) and most people think the Olympics bidding and Reality TV is crookeder than scoliosis.

So I don’t care that Pete Rose is a gambler–I love gamblers! And he should bet on sports he’s not involved in if he wants to. As a gambler and a sports fan, what I can’t tolerate are the Pete Roses of the world that cause people to lose faith that the games are on the up-and-up. I would have put Pete in jail for three to six as a punishment for harming baseball and as a deterrent to others.

I learned about boxing from my Dad. We used to watch fights –big fights– on network TV it seems every other Saturday. Boxing should be bigger than ever now with Eastern European fighters being allowed to turn pro. But boxing suffered because there just seemed to eventually be a critical mass of sleaze and casual fans turned away. There was scum in boxing before I was born (Don King anyone?) but between fighters diving, crooked judging, and a bunch of sanctioning bodies nobody heard of, boxing has now gone from being one of N. America’s main sports in the ’70s to something pretty niche today.

If we don’t stop the Pete Roses of the world, baseball could go the same way.

Thanks for writing,




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