Former Cincinnati Reds star Pete Rose, banished from baseball in a betting scandal more than three decades ago, has signed on as spokesman for a Nevada sports-handicapping service. This comes as legal sports betting is expanding across the country.
Rose recently agreed to serve as a national spokesman for handicapper Wayne Allyn Root’s Vegas Winners sports-betting analysis and advice service. Rose spent most of his career as a player and manager with the National League’s Cincinnati Reds. He collected more base hits (4,256) than any player in Major League Baseball history.
Radio ads featuring Rose began airing nationally last week, according to the Vegas Winners website. Rose also is signed up to make public appearances on the service’s behalf.
In announcing his affiliation with Root’s handicapping service, Rose said, “It’s always been about winning for me.”
The former Big Red Machine star added that he has been “known to do a little sports wagering myself.”
Following an investigation, Rose signed an agreement with MLB in 1989 banning him from baseball for betting on and against his team. However, he denied the betting allegation until admitting it about 15 years later in his book.
Now the 79-year-old former hard-charging player, known as “Charlie Hustle,” says he continues to bet on sports, but only legally.
“That’s why they have casinos,” he said.
In addition to his troubles with illegal betting, Rose was imprisoned at a federal lockup in Illinois after pleading guilty to two felony counts of filing false income tax returns, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. He has conceded he’ll probably never be in baseball’s Hall of Fame during his lifetime.
Phil Mushnick, a New York Post columnist, recently criticized Rose’s alliance with Root.
“In a legalized sports gambling climate that has given inspiration to every creep in every town who wants their cut of a growing sucker business, Root and Rose are joined in unholy matrimony, till debt do them part,” Mushnick wrote.
Sports Betting’s Popularity
A public vote in Louisiana during the November election demonstrates the growing popularity of sports betting. Voters in 55 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes approved sports betting within the boundaries of their parish. The parishes where the large cities are located, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, approved it overwhelmingly.
Also in November, voters approved sports betting in the two other states where it was on the ballot, South Dakota and Maryland.
Sports betting in legal in 19 states and Washington, D.C., according to the American Gaming Association website. It is legal but not yet operational is six more states. Legislation to legalize sports betting is active or has been pre-filed in five other states.
Rose is not the only person who had a history with illegal gambling in professional sports and now is involved with a legal betting service.
Tim Donaghy, a National Basketball Association referee from 1994 to 2007, was imprisoned in a betting scandal at the end of his NBA career.
His experience is the topic of a podcast series, Whistleblower, by sports journalist Tim Livingston. The series looks at illegal gambling and Mafia influence in the NBA.
Originally from the Philadelphia area, Donaghy lives in Florida and is affiliated with a wagering service, Ref Picks: Tim Donaghy’s Handicappers.
The website states that Donaghy knows “how and what can affect a score.”
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