Sunday, July 25, 2021

Who runs the clock?

One of my friends was a professional bookie in Detroit during his misspent youth.

For a period, several of his "clients" were beating Los Vegas on a regular basis. The venue involved Professional Basketball and the specific things they were betting on were point spreads and total points.

Most of the games were in the mid-West.

It turns out that every person who officiates in professional sports has an elaborate, statistical profile kept by serious bettors.

The local guys were making bets where both officials were picky and made lots of calls that stopped the game.

The local guys slipped the time-keeper (at the time an unpaid position) a hundred bucks. He was either instructed to stop-the-clock-early-and-start-late or to run-long-and-start early. Nobody noticed that every game stoppage had an additional half-second tacked on to each end or a half-second shaved off.

Over the course of the game, the time added up. Shortened games were lower scoring and had a smaller spread. Games where the time-keeper started late and ended quickly were higher scoring with larger spreads. Adding or subtracting half a minute to actual play time resulted in adding or subtracting two points to the total.

The local guys didn't win EVERY bet, but they won enough to get the attention of the big houses in Los Vegas. They sent folks to investigate.

The time-keepers were paid a stipend after Vegas figured it out and the scam ended.

God is in control

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also
   -Genesis 1:14-16 KJV

 "...divide the day from the night and let them be signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years...the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night..."

One interpretation of "rule" is to measure or divide, as in "a ruler". Rule also means to command. Either interpretation suggests that God created the "clocks" that mark time. Said another way, God created time and is not ruled by it.

It is calming to remember that God is running the time-clock as well as the score-board. Especially when the passing of time seems to get goofy.


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  2. That it is. And the 'ways' gamblers use to cheat are myriad and complex, but they always get discovered.

  3. They would have been better off figuring out how the timers behaved and factored that into the betting. Just analysis, no manipulation. 'Taint cheating if everyone has the same information.

  4. I wonder if any of the timekeepers had "uncomfortable" visits.