Sports and gambling have always been something of a controversial marriage. While for some, mixing the two genres casts a shadow of something sinister over good old fashioned competition, for others, it provides an additional element of excitement that makes finals such as the NBA even more appealing.
Traditionally, we would see the link between sports and gambling as something obvious – sports betting. However, in a new move from the big guys in Atlantic City, it now seems that the newest trend over in New Jersey is to combine two of the nation’s favourite pastimes: betting and basketball.
The trend, which started in March this year, saw the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City offering players a basketball shootout which would win them a cool $10,000. A total of 1,022 people each paid $20 to enter the contest, and the final winner, Al Callejas, managed to sink the hoop and take home a cool $10,220.
At the time, Callejas told the press: “I never win [in the casino.] This is the perfect setting for me.” Indeed, he seemed unfazed by the fact that the competition took place in the Signature Room of the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa, rather than in a traditional gym setting.
It’s an interesting concept as far as casinos are concerned, and many experts were deeming it “the country’s first skill-based casino contest.” This is quite the bold claim in itself – are there no other casino games out there which rely entirely upon a player’s skill?
The modern day casino world is full of myths, from the sublime to the ridiculous. For example, one article at Springbok Casino even dispels the myth that slot machines pump out oxygen to keep players playing. If we’re being fooled into believing this, could we also be fooled into thinking this is the only skill-based casino game out there?
Perhaps a better claim from casino owners is that this is the only kind of casino game which requires physical endurance. As we all know, professional basketball players undergo rigorous training regimes to ensure that they are playing up to their personal best, and this is perhaps something which ordinary folk should also employ if they wish to get their hands on these Atlantic City jackpots.
Certainly, it’s a break from the norm for Atlantic City and will without doubt be a healthier dose of gambling than that traditionally offered by New Jersey-based casinos – let’s just hope this isn’t the last we see of basketball making its way into other entertainment genres.