By Colin Dunlap

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) – Rob Matzie!

What a guy.

He’s a man after my own heart — and certainly after the hearts of many who just want to place a couple bucks down on a game and don’t feel the need to deal with a bookie or some seedy, off-shore racket.

I don’t know much about politics. Actually, I don’t know much about politics by choice — it’s complicated, convoluted and I’ve never had much of an interest in it.

All that said, I know this much, I can get behind State Rep. Rob Matzie if for nothing more than his logical stance on one thing.

He wants to bring sports betting to Pennsylvania.

And I ask, fundamentally, who would be hurt by this?

Who would suffer?

How would this be a bad thing in the least?

Seems to me, the only people who would be hurt by what Matzie wants to institute are the people acting crooked right now — the illegal bookies and people of that ilk who make much of the profits in an industry that reportedly pulls in billions (largely illegally) in the United States annually.

You see, State Rep. Rob Matzie, who is from Ambridge, introduced legislation Tuesday to allow sports betting in all licensed casinos in Pennsylvania. Those include the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County and the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.

There are still a ton of hurdles at the federal level but, in truth, it’s a needed start.

To be 100 percent forthright, I have never placed a sports bet outside the state of Nevada. I save such endeavors for the sports books of Las Vegas, places that are heavenly to a sports fan.

The bright lights, the zillion screens, the beers and the action on everything —- oh man, those sports book. They are a slice of utopia smack dab in the middle of the Nevada desert.

That’s why it’s so puzzling to me why I can walk into one of the aforementioned Pennsylvania casinos and see people gambling — plopping dollar after dollar into slot machines or playing table games — and I can’t for the life of me understand why a college football Saturday can’t be met with a $20 three-team parlay.
I don’t know. I’m a person who can control myself, I set a budget, plan to lose all I bet and just have a little more fun when there’s money riding on a game. It’s that simple for me.

I envision a time on the way home from work when I can shoot into Rivers really quick on an autumn Friday and lay a few bucks on some college games for the following day and the NFL card on a Sunday. Man, that would be a wonderful way to add just a little spice to the weekend.

And, again, I would bet nominally, just well within my budget as a bit of a hobby — that’s why I’m not seeing any problem with anything.

The bill Matzie introduced is expected to be assigned to the House Gaming Oversight Committee for future consideration.

But I ask, again — if we are already gambling in Pennsylvania, wouldn’t this just be the best thing going if we could add sports gaming here? I know I’d love it.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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