Sports betting promotions have taken over every media platform.
It was going to take a lot to supplant my No. 1 pet peeve on radio and television, but its finally happened. For years, that title has been held by prescription drug companies and their insanely long list of potential side effects warnings tagged at the end of their commercials. Many disclaimers range between 35-45 seconds — equal to or longer than the time spent talking about the good virtues of a drug.
“Take this pill,” we are told, to ease your suffering from constipation, irritable bowel, migraine headaches, elevated blood sugar and arthritis, just to name a few, but … be forewarned!
Despite treating your latest medical malady, taking this pill might make you dizzy, nauseous, have vivid dreams, give you a dry mouth, muscle pain, a rash, hives, experience weight gain, make you put your right foot in, make you put your right foot out, shake it all about, do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around and, worst of all, you may get the uncontrollable urge to watch a Lions game. All of that followed by the announcer who has the gall to say: “Ask your doctor if it’s right for you.”
By the time they’ve exhausted the list of symptoms, I actually start experiencing them. For that same reason, I never read the list of side effects on a prescription medicine I pick up at the drug store. That’s a real no-no when you’re a card-carrying hypochondriac like me.
So, what’s currently showing up on radio and television that is so annoying to me that it makes me actually yearn for more prescription drug commercials? It’s the never-ending advertising pitches for online sports betting, or as they are commonly called — sportsbooks. You … can’t … get … a …way … from … them! According to my internet search, there appears to be 14 legal online sportsbooks in Michigan to choose from.
Do you recall the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer would literally go into a seizure every time he heard entertainment reporter Mary Hart’s voice on television? I’m approaching that level of adverse reaction every time I hear an online sportsbook promotion.
The fact is: Sports betting promotions have taken over every media platform. I see them constantly popping up ad nauseam while scrolling through Facebook. So much so that I find myself yearning for more Facebook posts about other people’s vacations.
In researching this betting phenomenon, I learned that sportsbooks are a lot more than just wagering on the final score of a sporting event. You can indulge in “in-game betting.” During a football game you can bet on the outcome of the next play. Will it be a completed pass, an incomplete pass or a turnover?
For hockey, you can place a bet during a game on which player will score the next goal. In basketball, you can place a bet on how many three-pointers will be scored in a quarter. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day you’ll be able wager on which baseball player spits out the most sunflower seeds in an inning.
If it’s available, I’m hoping I can bet the “over” on the over/under on how many fans will leave at halftime of this weekend’s Lions home game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Care to make a wager on whether I come up with a third Lions joke in this column?
I believe repetitive sports book messaging is creating a conditioned response in humans, much like Russian physiologist Pavlov did when he got dogs to salivate every time they heard a bell. Hear a sportsbook commercial enough, we will eventually feel compelled to immediately grab our smart phones (salivate if you want) and place a bet upon hearing it. Actually, I do salivate when I hear my doorbell ring. That means my pizza has arrived.
I have a suggestion, leave the wagering on sportsbooks to others and spend time reading sports books that have a better payoff — like reading any one of 10 books by local writer Irwin Cohen. Fabulous reads by Irwin include stories about Tiger Stadium and Jewish Detroit history which can be found at Borenstein’s Books in Oak Park and on Amazon.
Until next time, I bet you adieu. Bid you adieu, sorry.