BILL'S RANT

The Baltimore Sun

The Super Bowl attracts more wagers than any other sports event in the United States (an estimated $10 billion total), but around the world, plenty of other sports -- soccer and tennis, to name two -- draw action in the billions of dollars, especially on the Internet.

The French Tennis Federation has gone to court seeking to halt three sports book companies with online operations from taking wagers on the French Open, contending such wagering threatens the reputation of the tournament and players.

Last year, an online wagering company -- one of the three named in the suit -- canceled bets on a match in Poland because of unusual betting patterns, heightening concerns about gambling and tennis. Interestingly, the three companies named in the suit are regarded as reputable and some of them counter that even if the suit is successful, bettors will simply move to unregulated companies that might not be as cooperative and transparent in their operations.

Such a conundrum between allowing reputable companies to operate wagering Web sites or trying to shut them down -- and driving the betting public to shady operators in the process -- illustrates why Internet gambling is a genie that is just about impossible to put back in the bottle.

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