RICH JAMES: Raid was Indiana protecting its own interests

2013-02-06T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: Raid was Indiana protecting its own interestsRich James nwitimes.com
February 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I feel a whole lot safer knowing the Indiana excise police shut down the Super Bowl bets at Spike’s Lakeside Inn in Schererville.

Talk about knights in silver armor. And I thought the Navy Seals getting Osama bin Laden was heroic.

The bar was cited with three violations of the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Code, including being a public nuisance, failing to maintain good character and reputation, as well as violation of gaming endorsement, which essentially means Spike didn't seek the state’s permission.

Talk about high crime in suburbia.

I felt even better knowing the cops seized some $200,000 that my friends and neighbors had wagered on the biggest sporting event of the year.

And it isn't over yet. Police said the investigation is ongoing, meaning that if you were one of the 400 people who placed a bet, you’d be wise to get to a confessional and have your sins absolved.

Let’s get real. Is nothing sacred? Betting on the Super Bowl is as American as, well, American pie.

There probably wasn't a tavern in Lake County that didn't have a board for its customers to wager on football’s biggest game.

And I suspect most business offices across Northwest Indiana also had Super Bowl boards.

Was there a board in the excise police headquarters? Who knows?

There were two boards at Spike’s. One cost $100 a square. The other was $1,000 a chance. Some of those $1,000 squares had several folks pooling their money for the chance for a big hit.

The payoff was based on the score at the end of the quarters and the final score, meaning there could be several winners on each board.

I guess the excise police chose Spike’s because of a tip. They could have hit any bar in the area. It’s no secret that Super Bowl boards have been around since the first big game.

Lighten up, cops. This is good-natured fun. Unlike Friday night poker games in someone’s basement, there is just one Super Bowl a year.

The bottom line is that 400 some folks dropped $5 or $10 or $100 or more for the chance to win big.

And the heck of it all is that the odds of winning are a lot better than buying a ticket for the state-run lottery.

And the odds at Spike’s are better than driving 10 miles north to the state-licensed casinos and dropping cash into the slots.

I guess the state wants you to lose your money at their gambling operations, not Spike’s.

The decent thing to do is end this charade and return the money to Spike’s and those who won.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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