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updated: 8/10/2012 8:54 AM

Is it time for sports wagering in Illinois?

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  • New York Giants president and CEO John Mara believes New Jersey would never host another Super Bowl if it allowed legalized sports gambling.

    New York Giants president and CEO John Mara believes New Jersey would never host another Super Bowl if it allowed legalized sports gambling.
    Associated Press


I heard that John Mara, president and CEO of the New York Giants, is crying about never getting another Super Bowl because New Jersey is thinking about legalizing sports wagering.

Jersey's reasoning is that people are winning at the tables and hip-hopping to the states they live in with the money and not keeping it in the state.

Of course, there are some issues on both sides.

First, more people come to Atlantic City and lose from other states than win, so the corporate suits running the casino are raking it in.

But trust me, if someone lays a $500,000 bet on the Super Bowl in Vegas and wins, he will be leaving and taking his big winnings back to his hometown of Naperville or wherever.

The notion that all of the money will stay in New Jersey is ridiculous.

Mara's team and the NFL have benefited more from legal and illegal wagering than anyone else, outside of the folks who take the action.

Right now there are four states that allow legalized sports betting: Delaware, Oregon, Montana and Nevada. New Jersey would be the fifth.

The NFL would no longer be the most powerful league in the world if gambling on its games stopped.

If it ceased tomorrow, I believe at least half of the people who order the NFL package on DirectTV would cancel.

There are Sundays when normally responsible people are late for meetings, dinners, dates or just blow off an obligation because they are down money from their NFL bets. The guy can't think straight because he has a Monday night bet and can't think beyond it.

Without gambling, the TV ratings, the newspapers, the tout sheets, and sports radio would all suffer. Sports books would be ghost towns, and all the leagues, but especially the NFL, would throw a fit if the odds weren't in the local newspaper.

There are plenty of people making money hand over fist in the other 46 states by taking action.

There's no government involvement, and unless you have an overseas account your dealings from a bookmaker can be anything from wonderful to contentious.

Then there are the guys who want to book bets and then get stuck themselves with no one to regulate it. Why can a guy who buys a ticket in Montana jump up and down and brag to a bunch of folks at the local diner?

But if you win a wager in the Chicagoland area, the only one to see you jump is the family dog in your basement.

We have the lottery, horse racing and casinos -- all odds in favor of the house. But sports betting is a no-no. What a joke. Gov. Quinn, you could help the state -- think about it.

Your turn:

Should sports wagering be allowed in Illinois? Email me at

Your Sox votes:

Thanks for all of the responses to my White Sox MVP question. Here is a sampling of the responses:

Mac from Schaumburg says Alex Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and Alejandro De Aza are all invaluable.

Poli gives his vote to Don Cooper because he has done such an outstanding job with the whole pitching staff.

And Matt from Elgin thinks it is A.J.

I still feel Rios is important to this club, but I love A.J., too.

•Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at For more, visit

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