“We have a big, giant electronic board,” Mr. Gorla said. “To see Hopkins up there is kind of interesting. We don’t play big time in other sports, but we do play big-time lacrosse. It makes me kind of smile.”
The anticipated demand arrived from an array of bettors — from curious out-of-towners to professional handicappers. Mr. Avello said the book ultimately “did quite well.”
“[Mr. Gorla] told us about the interest back East as far as the participation and the people that go to the games,” Mr. Avello said. “We thought if [we provided lines], there would be people who would watch it on TV and throw out a few dollars.”
It seems harmless enough — even amusing and perhaps gratifying to longtime lacrosse aficionados pleased someone is finally paying attention.
Yet, risks always are involved, and some in the game wonder whether their sport’s growing pains will mirror those of basketball, which endured betting scandals in the 1940s and 1950s as it grew in popularity.
“That was the Wild West, and we didn’t have the same institutional structures as today …,” said Howard Wasserman, a professor at the Florida International University College of Law and a specialist on sports law. “I think everybody is just more sophisticated. The athletes are more sophisticated, the coaches are more sophisticated, the regulators are more sophisticated.
“I wouldn’t expect there to be a greater concern of the gambling infiltrating into point shaving with this any more than any other sport.”
Mr. Gorla said sports books in Vegas are vigilant of shenanigans, particularly with a morass of regulations dictating rules for wagering on college athletics.
“There’s nothing to be scared about,” Mr. Avello said. “Nobody is going to get a big enough bet down to change the outcome. This is $300, $500, $1,000 bets, that type of thing. There’s nobody putting down big money on it. It’s more a lot of little bets than big bets.”
The new world
It’s a new twist in lacrosse, where injury reports typically are not guarded with a shroud of secrecy. Most players have a connection — a relative, a high school teammate, a guy met through a summer camp — to someone on just about every team they face.
“It’s a closed community,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “There’s a lot of interaction between the guys on the teams. There’s a lot of interaction between the families. The thing with Las Vegas puts it in a whole other arena because there could be real money put on games, which then could compromise individuals.”
Mr. Meade said the first he heard of an organized effort to set lines on lacrosse games was in 2004, when his Midshipmen lost to Syracuse in the national final.
That game, like many others in recent years, was televised nationally. ESPN and ESPN2 both aired a regular season game this season, a first for both networks. ESPNU showed more than 40 games.View Entire Story
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