Aquarius 20, 2077, m249
For over a hundred years Las Vegas has been a tourist Mecca for gamblers from all over Earth. And the faithful still flock there to play blackjack, shoot craps, or enjoy VR slots. But with a decline in non-virtual sports the city also saw a decline in sports betting. You can still bet on VR games of course, but they were never able to shake the negative assumption that VR games could be rigged, and so only the strongest-willed of gamblers lay money down.
Las Vegas bookies have been watching MAFL with great excitement; a new live-action sport that holds interest on more than one planet? The bet-makers have been all over it. It checks off a lot of boxes to hold interest for sports betting: it is an exciting game, it is not easily influenced by outside forces, and the league is large enough to make multiple game bets interesting.
So yesterday the newsfeeds from Earth announced that Las Vegas will begin taking bets on the next season of the Mars Aero Football League. While there was much discussion about taking bets on this inaugural season, there wasn’t enough data to ensure that the game was successful. Congrats Mars! Your game is successful enough that Earthers want to gamble on it! Joking aside, the fact that Vegas odds-makers are interested shows that the sport has achieved a level of legitimacy.
Betting can be done on a single game, with bets placed on either the winner of the game or who will score the first goal. This first season has provided those gambling mathematicians with enough data to set odds on the teams based on past performance, and the odds will be released during the off-season.
I’ve heard from a few sources inside the Nevada gaming commission are fielding questions from potential investors and government officials about setting up a New Vegas on Mars. All of this would only be in the idea stage, and it isn’t as if one can just hop on a bus to Mars and set up a casino, but the interest in establishing other settlements on Mars is growing.
I’ve also heard from many detractors who were not happy that there will now be betting allowed on MAFL. The sport will need to be closely monitored for collusion, and no player will be able to place bets on the sport themselves. There is also worry that the may lead to problem gambling on Mars, a vice that has not quite yet made it to the Red Planet (there is already lots of betting overlooked by local authorities). These concerns are real, and it will be up to the league and to settlement governments to ensure that for all the positive things that this change may bring, we must ensure that the negatives don’t detract from the successes we’ve built here.
Expansion has growing pains, and not everything that growth brings will be universally loved but it all, but it is part of this grand experiment. So I would encourage any doubters to keep an open mind. I’ve already got my money on the Titans for next year!