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February 7, 2012 Print

Dig Deeper: Sex, Gambling and the Super Bowl

by Chad Hills

On Super Bowl Sunday 2012, Indianapolis hosted a four-year Super Bowl reunion between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. In a very close, down-to-the-last-second game, the Giants won (21-17).

Lucas Oil Stadium’s normal seating capacity is 63,000; that is, unless it’s hosting the Super Bowl. Close to 100,000 fans greased their shoulders and literally “wedged” themselves into the stadium, with about two of every five ticket holders standing for the entire game.

No, thanks. I prefer my soft couch – with plenty of shoulder room – in my warm house with a plate of hot nachos in my lap that won’t cost $20. What’s more, I’m from Colorado, and the Denver Broncos (and our beloved QB, Tim Tebow)  didn’t make Super Bowl 46. Sigh … But Super Bowl 47 will be here before you know it.

How much did some of these Super Bowl fans spend? SmartMoney.com found the average 2012 ticket prices ranging between $800 and $1,200 – that’s before tickets were sold again. The average resale ticket for Super Bowl 46 went for about $4,000. (Just imagine, you could eat nachos every day for the next five years for the price of one re-sold ticket – and probably die from heart failure in the end. Don’t try this at home.)

What’s more ridiculous is that the asking price for a 30-second ad during this year’s game was $3.5 million. An investment-adviser site, The Motley Fool, estimates that Comcast, which owns NBC, raked in nearly $250 million selling ads alone – the highest per-ad rate in history.

Nonetheless, you have to admit, Super Bowl ads can be as good as – if not better than – some Super Bowl games. One of my all-time favorite, family friendly (that’s distinct from “Dad-friendly”) Super Bowl ads aired in 2010, when the Saints beat the Colts in Miami, Florida (31-17). It was the Wal-Mart birthday clown ad  (most dads will be able to empathize).

But not all activity surrounding Super Bowl events is family friendly fun with wholesome entertainment.

In fact, host cities will likely experience excessive alcohol consumption, unruly crowds and other shady dealings. Tourism may become temporarily supercharged, but there’s a price to pay.

Two problems in particular tend to plague  Super Bowl events: human sex trafficking and sports gambling.

Sex Trafficking

According to the WashingtonTimes.com, “The annual Super Bowl weekend is considered to be the largest sex trafficking event in the United States, and some even say it is the largest in the world…. Here in the U.S., the Indiana and Michagan [sic] based Coalition for Corporate Responsibility (CCR) will be leading the charge against human trafficking during the upcoming Super Bowl XLVI.”

Indiana has been proactive in its efforts to block Super Bowl sex trafficking, but, undoubtedly, it will be present to some degree, alongside the most popular football event.

Regardless of what Super Bowl host cities do to minimize sex trafficking, it really comes down to your choice as an individual – are you going to fuel the demand for more pornography, sex trafficking and prostitution or refuse to go there?

A moment’s decision can cause a lifetime of regret. Don’t go there, and don’t fuel the demand for this predatory, life-destroying vice. That goes without mentioning the alarming exposure to sexually transmitted diseases at such events.

If you are struggling with some kind of sexual addiction, try visiting PureIntimacy.org to learn about God’s design for sex and His context for sexuality within marriage. As the musical group Casting Crowns describes in their song, sexual addiction can be a Slow Fade that happens incrementally but destroys your family in the end. Keep sex and regret out of football, especially if you are fortunate enough to attend a Super Bowl.

Sports Gambling

The Super Bowl is the most popular one-day sports gamble, according to Las Vegas numbers from the American Gaming Association. In 2011, more than $81 million was gambled on the Super Bowl in Vegas casinos alone. And that only accounts for the money gambled legally in Vegas on a single sports event. The National Gambling Impact Study (NGISC) report (p. 14) estimates that illegal sports betting in the U.S. ranges between $80 billion and $380 billion annually. According to The Motley Fool online investment advisors, an estimated $10 billion was gambled on the Super Bowl alone this year, securing a place in history as, “the most-gambled-on Super Bowl event ever.”

The NGISC report estimates that about 15 million adults and adolescents suffer from problem or pathological gambling addictions (NGISC report, Ch. 4, p. 1, paragraph 1). Imagine filling Lucas Oil Stadium to (regular) capacity 238 times – that’s how many people in the U.S. are addicted to gambling.

Perhaps the most important question is: What are you modeling to your kids and family? The “Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” approach actually teaches your kids to do as you do, not as you say. They can smell hypocrisy a mile off.

Many adult problem and pathological gambling addicts began gambling as a children between the ages of 10 and 13 years – often gambling on sports or other events with their dads for the first time. It can be a gateway for much deeper addictions later in life.

A healthy family is not something to gamble with. Not only do families lose when dads or parents gamble, but so do employers when productivity is lost to gambling or spending excessive work time predicting or rehashing sports events.

SmartMoney.com reports that “employers lost $1 billion in wasted work during the week leading up to last year’s Super Bowl weekend…. American employers lost $205 million for every 10 minutes employees spent talking about the Super Bowl instead of working…. According to a January survey of 2,625 adults by coupon aggregator CouponCabin.com (survey), 92% of people who have bet on the Super Bowl said they’ve lost money – 14% lost $100 or more. “

Want to read more about sport gambling? Read it in one of my previous blogs, Nacho Bet on the Bowl Game .

 Dig Deeper …