Buried underneath the $6.2 million mound of debts that Darren McCarty has accrued to the point that he has reportedly filed for bankruptcy comes this one bit:
In addition to at least $185,000 owed to casinos in Detroit and Las Vegas, he listed debts to banks, credit card companies, friends, utilities, law firms and a roofing company.
Man, this has been some kind of week -- some kind of year, some kind of century -- for stories highlighting the association between gambling and sports. The level of casual gambling in pro locker rooms has always been high -- rarely is there a basketball practice completed without some kind of shot competition with a few dollars on the line, and it goes on up to the sort of thing Michael Owen reportedly organized for his millionaire teammates and Operation Slapshot alleged (whatever happened to that, anyway?), a sort of private gambling club for athletes looking for anonymity and big-ticket action -- but it seems to be showing up more frequently than ever.
The pro leagues, with their various rules against players betting on their games, have become connected as well. The Leafs have poker-room sponsors. Pro-Line, which is to sports betting as argyle is to Armani, is a sponsor of the CFL. The NBA will hold its all-star game in Las Vegas next year, presumably to ensure full attendance from its players.
McCarty made a lot of money, and threw even more away. That he lost some of that at the roulette tables comes as absolutely no surprise, technology and casinos having brought gambling home, so to speak. Much of it is legal, all of it is accessible -- some will call this a cautionary tale, but it would appear to me we're only going to be hearing about more and more of this kind of thing.