Million Dollar SportsBook Gambling Ring Busted in Albany, New York

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Police around the nation have been busy this football season trying to cut down on street bookies, and another four people were arrested in the latest sting.

Albany County sheriffs in New York busted an alleged gambling ring this week by arresting four men who apparently were the brains behind the operation.

The head person of the group was said to be Cory Reynolds, who at thirty eight, was involved with much more than just running the Albany Strength Gym that he co-owned. He was arrested and charged with eight counts of first degree promoting gambling, and enterprise corruption.

Three other men, who were identified as runners in Reynolds’ operation, were also arrested.

Police were turned on to the illegal activity through an informant, and they then secured a warrant to tap Reynolds phone. Upon listening to the phone conversations, they were convinced of the illegal operation.

Over $1.7 million was wagered with bets running anywhere from $11, and going all the way up to $2,000 per game.

The motive behind the arrests was to get one of the high volume bookies off the streets, and also to send a message to others who are illegally running a bookmaking business.

Denver Broncos and Houston Texans Gambling One Last Time on Playoffs

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The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are both sitting at 6-7 for their season records. Both teams still have hopes of catching Cleveland for the last playoff spot in the AFC. A loss tonight would end those thoughts.

The Las Vegas betting line on tonights game started the week as a pick. The game currently has the Broncos favored by two over the Texans. That would imply that the betting public believes Denver will come away with a victory.

Denver has been a disappointment so far this year. Many people had them picked to overtake San Diego and win the AFC West. Inconsistencies have plagued the Broncos and now they are in danger of falling completely out of the playoff race.

Houston is riding a bit of a different wave. They have been a pleasant surprise. They were widely criticized for not choosing Reggie Bush in last years draft, but going with Mario Williams has turned out to be a good move. The total for tonight’s game is forty seven, which means the NFL might end up with an exciting game featuring many points. The league has come under fire for putting some games on a network that is not accessible to many people around the country.

Win-Win For Las Vegas

Mayweather-Hatton Fight Proves Win-Win For Las Vegas

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Boxing has always been a big draw in Las Vegas, and Saturday’s bout between Floyd Mayweather and Ricky Hatton has proven to be among the biggest. The contest, held at the MGM Grand Casino, ended in a technical knockout of Hatton by Mayweather in the tenth round; but a much larger victory was tallied by the casinos of Las Vegas.

Over 20,000 Britons are estimated to have swamped Vegas to cheer on Manchester-based Hatton. The 16,000-seat MGM Garden Arena was sold out long ago, with about half the seats going to English visitors. An additional 18,000 seats were sold in Vegas to watch the fight on closed-circuit television.

Star power, another longtime Vegas tradition, was evident. Among the attendees were Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, now both big Vegas investors with their Planet Hollywood Casino, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, rapper Jay Z, actor Will Farrell, soccer icon David Beckham, singer Gwen Stephani, and an assortment of boxing legends, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Angelo Dundee, and Lennox Lewis.

Worldwide gambling on the fight is estimated to have been more than $100 million. Receipts from the live gate will top $10 million, while pay-per-view sales through HBO are expected to be in the range of $70 million.

Hatton went off at +230 ($100 bet pays $230), and Mayweather was a -270 favorite ($270 bet pays $100). The line fluctuated during the week, and the influx of English fans is seen by analysts as keeping Mayweather from being a much heavier favorite.

Now that Mayweather is firmly in place as boxing’s ticket to big fights, the next step may be a rematch against the Golden Boy, Oscar de la Hoya. Although Mayweather beat de la Hoya in their first match, the fight went the distance and de la Hoya impressed many observers. With a huge Hispanic fan base, de la Hoya could be the perfect foil for Mayweather, and once again cause money to flood Las Vegas.

Mitchell Report

Mitchell Report Much Ado About Nothing

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The long-awaited Mitchell Report on steroid usage in professional baseball has come out, and it includes names of players whom the authors found suspect. Reputations have been shaken, fingers have been wagged, Hall of Fame recounts have begun before players even approach eligibility; but to what purpose?

The evidence cited by the report’s authors is largely third-hand hearsay. Other than eyewitness accounts of steroid injections taken by Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite, players are mentioned as possible abusers on the basis of “He told me that he heard that so-and so saw…”. This is certainly not courtroom evidence, and verges on slander.

And what of players not named? Should we assume they are cleared by not being indicted by this massive investigation? Not according to Jose Canseco, the man who first blew the lid off the steroid mess (for personal financial gain, of course). He wants to know why Alex Rodriguez is not among the players named. It’s as if he thinks baseball would release a political document, attempting to nail players gone from the game while soft-shoeing inquiries into current and future stars.

Is not the whole and sole purpose of the Mitchell Report to assuage the public wrath, allowing the growth of the game to continue unimpeded by steroid suspicions? If one reads between the lines, the truth can be found: steroid usage in baseball was as common as weight training and nutritional diets.

Competitive athletes have always attempted to find the slightest of edges over the competition. This is as true in baseball as any sport; after all, this is the sport of the corked bat and spitball. But at least altering the bat or ball is against the rules. At the time players are accused of shooting up, steroids were not prohibited. So, the best answer for which players dabbled in steroids or HGH is… pretty much all of them.

The hard question in every discussion of this issue is how to address the records posted by Bonds, Clemens, and others suspected. The only answer is to honor those numbers. The reason not to would be because the suspects took advantage of an uneven playing field; but the field was evened by the vast numbers of guilty parties, essentially rendering steroids as part of the playing environment. Great players still achieved greatness, while mediocre players faded from memory. Just check the names on the report that make the reader ask , “Who?” Obviously, steroids were not a guarantee of greatness, or even goodness.

Baseball’s owners and operators should quit trying to find scapegoats to publicly hang and admit their own compliance in the performance-drug era. There is now a policy in place to prevent future abuse, and a testing program to verify legitimacy. The past is behind us, and anyone who cares to assign blame might as well start by looking in the mirror; fans, owners, sponsors, players, trainers, and coaches all had a part. Let’s forget reviling the accomplishments of the last several years, and move on, accepting that hitting a pitched ball is still the hardest feat in sports… and if the hitter is juiced, well, so is the pitcher.

Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball Heading Out of Steroid Era With Camps Opening

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Major League Baseball has had itself a busy off season. Several blockbuster trades have been pulled off. Free agent signings were many. The overwhelming publicity, however, came from the Mitchell Report regarding steroid use in the national pastime.

The league will look to start putting all of that behind them this week with the opening of spring training camps across the country. Everyone involved with the game will be looking to put the steroid issue behind the sport.

That will not be done easily. Prominent players will be testifying in front of Congress soon. Roger Clemens will be there. His former trainer will also be on Capitol Hill. That testimony will help the general public make their decision on who to believe. More importantly, however, it will serve as a bridge into the new baseball season.

Two trades that have been made in the past two weeks have changed the landscape of two divisions. The Mets are clearly now the favorite in the National League east after acquiring Johan Santana from the Twins.

The American League West looks to have gotten a little bit tougher after the Mariners upgraded their pitching staff by trading for former Oriole ace Erik Bedard. The trade may have put them ahead of the Angels on paper, and made them the favorite in the division.

Renewed hope and optimism always accompanies a new spring, and that excitement starts this week when pitchers and catchers report.