- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Thom Loverro: Addiction is the real affliction
Question of the Day
The NBA hopes its gambling scandal nightmare ended when former referee Tim Donaghy was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months for taking money from gamblers for inside dope.
Donaghy claimed gambling and game manipulation is far more pervasive in the NBA, but his claims were dismissed by the league. David Stern identified Donaghy early in the scandal as a “rogue referee.”
Mike Osborne might bet otherwise - if he could bet.
Osborne is the executive director of Harbour Pointe in Baltimore, the oldest and foremost residential treatment facility in the United States solely dedicated to compulsive gambling addiction. He is a recovered gambling addict who, betting on everything from the Little League World Series to the Super Bowl, built up a debt of $500,000 to offshore bookies.
He believes Donaghy is the alarm no one wants to hear - the Jose Canseco of gambling.
“I think [Donaghy] will be vindicated just like Jose Canseco was with steroids,” Osborne said. “Eventually, we will see that he was not far off base. It’s just well hidden.”
He knows gambling like this doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are few, if any, isolated incidents. And for pro sports leagues that don’t want to be proactive instead of reactive, it will be a case of pay me now or pay me later.
Osborne believes alarms are going off all over sports - from the Donaghy scandal to the Baltimore Orioles scout who recently was fired in a gambling investigation by Major League Baseball to the reports of game fixing in tennis. And the proper response, Osborne believes, for the NBA and the business of sports is to wake up and recognize the addiction of gambling - not just the crime.
“It is coming to the surface,” Osborne said. “For some reason, the idea of gambling as an addiction has not been recognized by many publicly [though it has by the American Psychiatric Association], and people don’t want to look at it like a drug or alcohol problem. They don’t want to deal with the idea of gambling as an addiction. It is hard for people to understand how someone can get high when you are not putting a substance in your body.”
Osborne is not saying there shouldn’t be criminal consequences if laws are broken in connection with gambling like with Donaghy, who was convicted of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.
“In Tim’s case, of course he deserved a consequence,” Osborne said. “But where he is going now won’t help him rehabilitate. He could still be a compulsive gambler coming out of jail.
“The criminal issue comes with the addiction,” Osborne said. “The drug of choice in gambling is money. And when you start to dig a whole for yourself in these sports, you often find yourself dealing with the mob and loan sharks with the fear of threats on you and your family. Sports figures could find themselves compromised in more ways than one. For them to fix a game and have a debt washed away is an easy way out.”
The addict needs a way out other than the self-destruction that could come with fixing a game - not enabling the addict but offering support for those who want help.
“Society needs to look at it as an illness and an addiction,” Osborne said. “Look at all the chances Darryl Strawberry got with his drug addiction. You don’t get that with gambling. Someone comes forward, and they are finished, banned. No one is out there offering help to them.”
Of course, Osborne knows he sounds like the spoil sport at a very big party. Gambling these days is the tax of choice among politicians, who prefer it because you give them your money instead of them taking it from you.
About the Author
- LOVERRO: Redskins should be great before declaring greatness
- LOVERRO: Hall of Fame is one birthday present A-Rod will never unwrap
- LOVERRO: These are Bruce Allen's Washington Redskins now
- LOVERRO: CBS Sports leaves broadcasters hanging in Redskins name debate
- LOVERRO: Who are the men behind D.C. 2024 curtain?
Latest Blog Entries
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world