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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Some Pretty Ironic Shit

- It’s a pretty amazing story, the tale of the arrest of David Carruthers. If not for all the shit going on in the world these days, I would term it ‘intense.’ One would think that the chief executive of BetonSports, a prominent offshore gambling company, would consider the odds of being arrested at a time when the industry is under scrutiny by Congress. With the House just recently passing the bill to prohibit online gambling sites (those other than horse racing, anyway), it would seem rather brazen of him to have scheduled flights with a layover at Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport, in a country where he is considered to be a criminal.

But I suppose no more so than his past stopovers, and his company's aggressive marketing efforts in this country. According to the indictment, marketing materials from BetOnSports claimed that in 2004 and 2005, the company took 98 percent of its wagers from customers in the United States. [NY Times]

The actions by the US government in arresting Carruthers were no less bold. They seized a British citizen who runs a publicly-traded company based in Costa Rica that accepts wagers from willing adults who are doing so of their own free will and volition. And they did so under a 45 year old law written long before the internet was even conceived. BetonSports, however, is particularly susceptible to prosecution because it takes bets on sporting events over the phone. That is specifically prohibited by the law, as opposed to legal grey areas such as online bets and poker or casino games.

Incredibly, one gambling exec, Calvin Ayre, the colorful CEO of, has plans to actually attend his company’s three day conference in Las Vegas next week!

The “fear factor” ignited by Carruthers’ arrest will likely induce a large number of industry operators to cancel attendance to this year’s conference.
Well, I would think so!
When asked if he would consider postponing the event by, Calvin Ayre simply replied "Why stop now?"
"I say -2000 they arrest him” a prominent gaming operator said, commenting [on Ayre's] decision. “Calvin gets arrested -2000, that’s the line” he doubled up. “What’s the wagering limit on this bet?” we asked. “$50, we don’t want to get killed!” the bookmaker replied. [The Online Wire]
Forget about the fact that should he show up, it’s sure as shit that he’ll get taken away faster than American citizens trying to leave Beirut. Much faster, actually. If I were him, I’d be more worried about being abducted off the streets of Costa Rica by the CIA, having his ass renditioned to some 4th world country and tortured by being strapped to a partly submerged giant roulette wheel.

You may have noticed that I’ve used the word ‘shit’ three times in this post (now four), once in the title. It seems like it’s a whole new liberated world now that it was actually published in the New York Times. When I read that, I almost fell off my subway seat. I could have been trampled in the ensuing stampede for the open spot. The funny thing is that they didn’t even use it in the main story about the president’s offhand remarks that were picked up by microphones. There, it was referred to only as the kind of unfettered language that he acknowledged only weeks ago sometimes gets him in trouble when he uses it publicly. Instead, they shrewdly snuck it into an ancillary story about foreign patrols on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Of course, the Times and the rest of the mainstream media completely missed the point by focusing on the profanity. Here were the leaders of the free world (a little free, in the case of Vladimir Putin); a supposed meeting of the great minds that will bring peace, prosperity, and democracy to the world. But with the cameras and microphones presumably off and their guard down, they were just another bunch of guys with nothing really to say. It was the same small talk you’d hear in any office – how long does it take you to get home? When the talk turned to serious subjects, the President of the United States issued his typically simplistic view of the world:

“The irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over.”

Of course, that’s not irony. Some have already pointed out that what would be considered ironic is that the man who recently signed a bill to drastically increase the fines on broadcasters for obscenity would utter a prohibited word that has broken barriers in the mainstream press. Others might note the irony in a man who decided that it would be good foreign policy to start a war that he didn’t need to, a debacle that is becoming more horrific with every passing week, vetoing a bill expanding stem cell research on discarded embryos stored in freezers and saying: "This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others."

The fact is that these guys have no f----- (still a no-no, at least until the next G8 meeting) idea how to bring peace to the Middle East; no more so than does Dr. Dean Richardson. Or Barbaro for that matter. Their exchange of ideas is no more meaningful nor profound than you and I sitting at some dive in Saratoga discussing the next day’s late Pick Four.

So, I’ll make the moral of the story this: 1) Don't travel in the U.S. if your business is illegal here; and 2) Your handicapping opinions are as good as anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter what Mike Watchmaker or Dick Jerardi or Todd Schrmmpppff or anyone, including and especially yours truly, thinks. Look at the race and bet who you like, and that’s it. For all their expertise, sheets, Formulator, Race, trip notes, pace figures, thorough-graphs, American Produce Records, or whatever, you could hit the Pick Six by betting your favorite jockey, or by picking the numbers out of a hat. And that would be some pretty ironic shit.


t said...

One of your best essays. One day I'd like to be able to stop the data dump approach and start writing. Do you sell your skills in a bottle?

Anonymous said...

Are you drunk. Keep drinking. I like the post.