Over the course of nearly four years and more than 200 episodes, Gamble On has established itself as the leading gaming industry podcast, delivering news and analysis as well as interviews with the most influential names in gambling every week.
Episode 201, posted July 21, 2022, features an interview with veteran Ohio-based journalist Don Emmons, a senior analyst for the US Bets family of sites who writes primarily for OH Bets. As Ohio counts down to its Jan. 1, 2023, launch date for sports betting — which means Emmons will be working rather than relaxing over the New Year’s holiday — the state’s decision to update the list of wagering applicants around 5 or 6 p.m. every Friday isn’t exactly aligning with his ideal work schedule. But Emmons has adopted a glass-half-full perspective on these busy Fridays.
“It’s like preseason,” he said. “It’s preparing me for New Year’s Day.”
Listen to “201: HR Derby controversies, Florida timeline news, Ohio sports betting launch with Don Emmons” on Spreaker.
Emmons’ money quotes
Emmons on whether there has been pushback in Ohio to the idea of allowing betting on college sports: “There has been pushback, and it’s come from the universities — they don’t believe in having sports betting on college athletics, except for football and basketball. … We’re still waiting to hear as far as the ruling, if they’re going to limit it to just football and basketball. But right now, the way the rules have been written, any kind of college athletics could be up for placing wagers on. … Sportsbooks are not going to take bets on everything anyway. … The chances of them having a line on Ohio State vs. Michigan in rowing? Probably not that big.”
Emmons, playing it safe when asked whether Ohio or Michigan has the better sports fans: “I’m going to say it’s pretty equal. I live in Toledo, and I’m like four miles from the Michigan border. So I’m right in the middle of all of the madness between Ohio and Michigan, and, you know, I’ve lived here roughly 20 years, and I think it’s about as even as you could possibly imagine.”
Emmons on where you’re most likely to find him if he’s in a casino: “I’m probably over at a slot machine. … I get caught up with all the flashing lights — every time.”
Podcast hosts Eric Raskin and John Brennan shared their thoughts on the various controversies in Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby on Monday night, where a blatant miscount on Kyle Schwarber’s homers, as well as the counting of dingers hit after time expired by Juan Soto and Albert Pujols, potentially turned winning bets into losing bets and vice versa. “MLB’s attitude seems to be, ‘It’s an exhibition, it’s for fun,’” Raskin observed. “But once there’s legal betting on it, and especially when you, the MLB, are partnered with sportsbooks and promoting sports betting, it’s not just an exhibition anymore. And if that’s going to be your attitude, that, ‘Hey, we’re not going to be too strict with the rules, we view this as an exhibition,’ then I think you have an obligation to all your betting partners to say, ‘Don’t offer betting on this event.’” Agreed Brennan: “This is a major black eye for Major League Baseball.”
The fight to legalize sports betting in Florida is hung up in the courts, and this week, steps in the timeline were revealed that indicate nothing will be decided until at least 2023. Brennan suggested he’d like to see the Sunshine State ultimately land on “a Connecticut solution,” as that state found a compromise to satisfy the tribes and let at least a small number of commercial operators in as partners. “The Florida solution,” Brennan said, “is liable to be something that is not good for the bettor and is not good for the taxpayer. I would hope they would get a little closer to the Connecticut model.”
Former PlayUp U.S. CEO Dr. Laila Mintas won the latest minor decision in the company’s lawsuit against her, leading Brennan to declare that “she has the upper hand” and that PlayUp “is a pretty heavy underdog.” But ultimately, he thinks the verdict will depend on what representatives of FTX — the crypto company that was said to be close to buying PlayUp for $450 million before Mintas allegedly sabotaged the deal — have to say. “It’s going to come down to [FTX],” Brennan said. “Finding out from them, ‘So what’s the deal? Why did you back out of the deal? …Was it because of her, or was it something else?’”
Raskin patted himself on the pat for what he termed “maybe my sharpest bet ever,” counting his money already for making a hefty preseason wager on Joey Gallo to hit under 41.5 home runs. Gallo has just 11 through 94 Yankees games, is batting .162, gets benched frequently, and now may be an underdog just to get halfway to his total. Raskin also tossed in a new longshot bet for the NFL season, putting a dollop of the Gamble On bankroll on Jacksonville Jaguars sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence to win MVP at 80/1.
Closing thoughts: Brennan wrapped up the podcast with a tale of woe about thinking he’d placed a bet on Cam Smith to win the (don’t call it British) Open at 20/1 odds, only to check his online bankroll afterward and discover he hadn’t confirmed the bet. Brennan’s simple parting advice to fellow bettors: “Don’t forget to click your pick.”
Photo: Gary Vasquez/USA TODAY