How many people truly enjoy watching a few grown up men frantically kicking a ball in a pit? And for some reasons when the ball got kicked into a little box, these grown up men jumped around, do headstands, kissed the field, and do all kinds of funny acts that are normally seen performed by little children. It is truly perplexing to watch these “just for laughs” actions. The strange thing is that these are no ordinary stunts. What is being played is a make-belief sport is called soccer. During the “seasons”, literally millions watch these incredibly amusing shows. For many who are mesmerised by such events, it is not just a show. Big money is in circulation.
While the boys are busy kicking a ball, millions are betting. No formal estimates are available on the magnitude of sports betting. Suffice to say that it runs into hundreds of millions at the very least. Betting is more sophisticated than what casinos offer. At the simplest level, it could just be a binary outcome – win or lose (or tie). But bets get more complicated. Apparently, there are skills involved in some of the more sophisticated bets. Wikihow has a step by step instruction on how to bet (you can learn here). Mathematics geniuses with statistical knowledge may have a better chance of winning it seems. Whatever the outcome, the last of the step-by-step instruction is a MUST KNOW (according to Wikihow):
“Place a stake with the best bookmaker you have found for selected game. Don’t forget to collect your money when the game is over.”
No wonder betting is so exciting (not the game per se). Unfortunately, Wikihow has omitted another critical instruction – Don’t forget to rush to your nearest loan shark when the game is over!
Wikihow is not alone in this gambling optimism. The Singapore Pools has a similar but simplified “how to bet” instruction guide: Check Odds > Place bets > Check results > Collect winnings. You can’t lose it seems. In Singapore’s case, at least the government is caring enough to set up a National Council for Problem Gambling. You have an option to head for the Council before commiting suicide or heading for the loan shark.
Gambling goes beyond soccer. It is a high stake game. Kicking the ball can be extremely lucrative. Lionel Messi was reported by France Football report (via ESPNFC.com) to have made $71 million (€65 million) in total earnings in 2014, making him the highest-paid soccer player in the world. The money spinning game does not stop there. At every level, there’s money to be made. Scientific American has this to report:
The soccer world is abuzz with the allegations that officials at FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) engaged in racketeering, money laundering and other criminal activities.
Officials at FIFA engaged in a “24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer,” according to a statement released by the United States Department of Justice on May 27.
But while it’s tempting to blame such activities on weak morals, research shows that corruption—or abuse of power for private gain—is far more complicated, said Marina Zaloznaya, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Iowa.
Corruption can span large groups—such as organizations or even the populations of entire nations—if the majority of the people within them find bribery and other forms of corruption to be commonplace, Zaloznaya said. [Understanding the 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]
Organizations with widespread corruption typically develop cultures that justify and encourage corruption, often so much that corruption becomes routine and isn’t viewed as an offense, Zaloznaya said.
Soccer is more than kicking a ball around!
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?