The DraftKings debate: the scoop on online gambling

Gambling comes in many forms, legal and illegal. When I was in high school, I played the part of “bookie” for one year, making little profit but having fun. Tragically, my empire crumbled all at once and without warning when those names in my little black book realized we were doing this on the honor system, and the losers decided not to pay up. Lacking the necessary enforcer most in my trade kept in employment, I had to close up shop.

These days, things are more sophisticated than a black book and a threatening associate who doesn’t mind getting rough. Online fantasy (or gambling, depending on your stance) websites such as FanDuel and DraftKings have had an explosive year, bringing in throngs of new members who gamble every week on different sports, with the NFL being the current frontrunner.

These sites have also drawn criticism from the public, trying to fight off claims that they’re illegal online gambling sites and not strictly for fantasy sports use.

They have not been successful in this endeavor.

The New York attorney general declared Wednesday that they were in fact illegal gambling sites and that they were to cease taking bets from New Yorkers. While both sites told ESPN they’re optimistic about getting the decision repealed, the future isn’t as bright as it was before.

 

Regardless of legal trouble, business has been booming for both fantasy sites. Forbes reported that DraftKings entry fees, which totaled $45 million in 2013, rose to $304 million in 2014. That kind of growth has drawn criticism, but it’s safe to say their fans outnumber their enemies.

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Protestors rallying outside the New York attorney general’s office

 

“I love winning, and the time I put into my teams every week is fun, too,” said Jett Maurer, a resident of Dennison, Ohio, and one of the many users of FanDuel.

Maurer, who started playing this football season, also talked about how his involvement in FanDuel  led him to be a more devoted sports fan.

“My favorite part is scouting players for next week’s team,” Maurer said. “It actually makes me pay more attention to the sport.”

The sites, which operate differently from most season-long fantasy sites, allow the gamblers to choose a new lineup each week or day, which creates a more flexible environment to bet in. This is undoubtedly one of the main draws of the sites. The leagues also vary by size, amount of money won.

As the seasons change and basketball becomes the main focus, Maurer said the game isn’t the only thing that changes.

“There are more basketball games every week, so that means you have to pay more attention, and it also means there’s more at stake,” Maurer said.

Not everyone is a fan of the sites, however. Some people don’t like how the system is set up and believe the sites leave a gray area in how the winner is chosen that leaves the outcome arguable.

Nick Merrick, a senior at Ohio State University, is one of the people who aren’t impressed.

“I like gambling when there is a clear winner, when you either win or lose.” Merrick said. “This seems like fake gambling.”

Other, larger entities aren’t huge fans either.

 

Regardless of naysayers and future concerns, both DraftKings and FanDuel are enjoying another impressive year. Whether or not their good fortune will last is still up in the air.

 

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Drinks and a show: 5 Athens bars with live music

Athens has never been accused of having too few places to drink. If anything, it could very well be the opposite. One way to wade through the pool of choices is to know what you want in a drinking establishment. So if you like live music, boy do we have five bars for you.

1. Casa Nueva

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The first on the list is Casa, a local favorite known for its good food to pair with your drink. Casa has been known to draw bands from all over Ohio and surrounding states. This is the place to see upcoming bands that show promise. While the establishment is more spacy than others on this list, the stage is front and center and provides good sound for the whole joint. They also offer good specials, including one dollar PBR’s on Tuesday. Casa is one of the classier establishments on the list, and the visitors here tend to be adults, or at least older students. If you’re looking for a tamer atmosphere that’s still fun, this is the place for you.

 

2. Red Brick

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The Red Brick Tavern has a reputation for being a bar where younger students go, but don’t let that stop you. They have an entire room downstairs devoted to live music, complete with a stage up front and a bar in the back. The bands that play there differ, and you don’t always have to pay a cover, which is a plus. They stage is also separate from the rest of the bar, which means that, on a crowded night, you might get some breathing room if you’re there to see the show. Also, don’t forget about karaoke on Wednesday, where you have the chance to be the star of the show. My advice would be to wait until everyone’s had a few dinks though.

3. Jackie O’s

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In Athens, Jackie O’s is synonymous with craft beer. Their micro brewery is lauded throughout the state and their selection is probably the most diverse on this list. Their arguably most popular brew is called Mystic Mama, so be sure to order one if you happen to be in the neighborhood. Like Casa, Jackie O’s draws bigger names than other bars and you can usually bet on a good show. In short, you come for the great beer and stay for the good music.

4. The Union

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Not to be outdone by anyone, the Union is another great venue to hear bands. They have as many local bands as out of town ones. Some have called it a hipster bar, but I’ve never seen that personally. I could not in good conscience send you to a hipster bar. There is one small problem, however. It burnt down last year. The reason it is still included in this list is because so many people choose this bar as their go-to haunt and they are in the process of rebuilding. Those with patience will not regret returning to the Union for a good show once it reopens in the future.

5. Smiling Skull Saloon

Photo By LeeAnn Marhevsky
Photo By LeeAnn Marhevsky

While some may turn their nose up at the Skull, it does have a certain atmosphere that some find enjoyable. The Skull is unashamedly rough and could never be mistaken for more upscale places such as Casa Nueva. They do offer some local entertainment, usually at least twice a month. The stage, while small, offers an intimate seat for everyone in the house. Fair warning, it will get loud. Most of the bands that play there are local so it’s a great place to hear new bands that aren’t as known. Like Jackie O’s, they also offer their own craft beer, called Skull Ale. However, tread lightly. Rumor has it nobody who tried Skull Ale has ever been seen again.

 

The band’s back together: reminiscing with Marching 110 alums

Nostalgia and excitement swirled together in the air Saturday as Bobcats, old and new, filled the seats of Peden Stadium for the Homecoming game. The weekend’s festivities were in full swing as I spoke with some of the Marching 110’s alumni on the sidelines, where they were confident and excited to be taking the field as they had in the past.

Some were going over their routine one last time, twisting and turning in time, while others chatted with old friends. As they waited, their reminiscing whisked them away to days gone by.

It seemed that every band member had a story to tell, and they did not disappoint. One graduate of the class of 2012, Derek Fulk, said he remembered his freshman Homecoming game where he was able to play together with his older brother, a 2003 graduate, when he returned to the field with the other alumni. Due to the age difference, Fulk hadn’t been able to march in a band with his brother before.

“Marching with my brother was priceless,” said Fulk.

Another woman, Kristi Moore, was proud to say that she met her current husband while marching together. Moore, who graduated in 1999, played the clarinet and her future husband played the snare drum. The long practices and bus rides may have been a factor in their budding romance, but Moore joked that they “probably met at a band party.”

It was clear to see the Marching 110 was still an “exhilarating” part of their lives. Every alum said the same thing — they were and always will be a family. They also laughed about the rigorous practices and how worth it they were.

“The games, the crowds, that’s where they payoff was. That’s what made it worth it,” said Clinton Harris, a graduate of 2000.

Harris went on to say the band made it possible for him to play in amazing places like OSU’s stadium, Toronto, and even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which he called “the best five miles of cold weather” he’d experienced.

“The band has taken me many places, but I always come back,” said Harris, who has only missed two Homecoming games since graduation.

The alums all agreed that the most noticeable changes to campus were the new buildings that occupied ground previously held by little more than grass. They also said that no matter how much the campus changes physically, the people were still as genial and welcoming as ever.

“There might be new buildings and dorms, but there’s still the same great people,” said Harris.

As the clock ticked down closer to halftime, the alum gathered their gear and prepared to storm the field and show the fans that they still had the 110 spirit. The second quarter ended and the Bobcats had a strong lead of 17-3 against the dreaded Miami Redhawks.

Even though the game had paused, the fans did not. They rose to greet the 110 alums with a wild roar as the graduates stepped onto familiar ground. While they may have moved onto the next chapter in their lives, they still relished the opportunity to perform for their Bobcat family.

“Just because you leave Athens doesn’t mean you stop calling it home,” said Moore.

Packing for college: 5 things you can’t come hOUme without

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you probably wait until the last minute to start packing. It’s part of the natural order of things and something to be expected. In your panicked frenzy to stuff as many things in a bag as fast as possible the night before you leave, you might just forget something. Court Street Stories took a survey of students on campus and came up with five things that you absolutely can’t forget, even if you’re in a hurry.

  1. Fest Shoes/ Boots

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No matter how much you like to dress up, don’t forget — you’re going to get dirty. Fest season gets very, very muddy and your favorite pair of vans won’t cut it. Also, keep in mind Athens has plenty of natural locations to explore, and I wouldn’t suggest hiking up Bong Hill without something sturdy. If you don’t have a pair of boots an old pair of shoes will do. You might not wear them to class but they’ll be sure to come in handy.

 

  1. Lucky T shirt

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There’s nothing quite like that one shirt you’ve had forever that fits just right. It’s become a part of you and you staunchly refuse to give it up. Whether it’s a wacky T-shirt with a deer riding a bike on it or a concert T-shirt from when you saw your favorite band, you can’t give it up just yet. It may have seen better days, but it’s all yours. Make sure you bring that little slice of comfort with you, it’ll be useful on those stressful days.

  1. Favorite Hat

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Not everyone is a hat person, but those who are feel naked without one. Your wardrobe just isn’t complete without that baseball cap (or a top hat if you’re feeling fancy.) Hats can make or break an outfit so make sure your A-list caps are safely tucked away in a bag.

 

  1. Black clothes
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Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset

The results of the survey came back loud and clear— students like their black clothes. Contrary to popular belief, there has never been a “new black,” orange or otherwise. The classic color for any occasion, it’s a must have. That little black dress is a powerful weapon ladies (or men,) and black pants are perfect for throwing together a last minute outfit that looks like you actually plan those kinds of things.

 

  1. Raincoat

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Whether you’re looking for the “Gorton’s Fisherman” yellow or something a little less blinding, a raincoat is an absolutely necessary on campus. It’s not the flashiest piece of clothing but it’s invaluable on those long treks from South Green to West Green in the pouring rain. Those clear days never last forever, and you’ll be sure to get caught in the rain eventually. Come prepared.
There are a thousand other things on your mind as you’re packing for school, but some students agree that these will be vital in this new chapter of life. So while you’re stuffing all your jeans in one bag and hoping you remembered to bring socks, keep these five items in mind. It might just save your life.

 

 

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The Cotton Hunt: My search for men’s clothing in Athens

Since the beginning of time, men have hunted, and no good hunt would be complete without an elusive target. My prize, however, doesn’t walk on four legs or even two. It’s much trickier to find. My goal was to track down a store that actually sold men’s clothes in Athens.

“You’ve got to be willing to look for a while if you want to find anything good,” said Ethan Grant, a freshman sympathetic to my cause. I was inclined to agree.

After a day of searching, I came to one conclusion — if you’re trying to find a good selection of men’s clothing, good luck.

I started off close to campus. A short walk down Court Street revealed a few prospects. Stores of all sorts fill in the gaps between local eateries and bars guaranteeing the best drinks in town. If you need new guitar strings, they have a store for you. If you’re looking for a new dress, Athens can provide one.

However, if you’re looking for a new sweater or maybe a pair of khakis, your patience will be tested.

My first choice was the University Bookstore. I thought of this as a store filled with clothes for prideful Bobcats, with an OU emblem on every piece of clothing. My memory was correct. I appreciate school spirit as much as the next guy, but I’m not a billboard.

This seemed to be a running theme throughout Court Street. If they sold men’s clothes, a Bobcat or an OU logo was on it somewhere. Both bookstores, The House and Universitees, marched to the same drum. Also, it seemed their selection began and ended with athletic and casual wear.

Onward I trudged, determined to find something. As I closed in on the end of the street, I saw a faint glimmer of hope. Signs advertising several men’s brands drew my attention towards the Import House.

Once inside, I was not entirely disappointed. They too had the apparently mandatory selection of Ohio University clothes but also offered other things. Band t-shirts hung here and there, and it was also the only store I found on Court Street where you could buy men’s shoes.

According to some employees of the stores on Court Street, the reason they offer only OU clothing is obvious— it’s what people want.  

“We get [the clothes] people ask for, and they keep asking for the same thing,” said Linda Hancock, who works at Import House

I decided to expand my search. I headed to East State Street, far enough away that students without a car would have a hard time making it to any of the stores. Biking there is possible but not for the faint of heart. My heart, being faint, chose to catch a ride from a friend.

The selection in Elder-Beerman and Sears was more diverse. Finally, I had found somewhere that offered formal wear. The prices at Sears were fair, but Elder-Beerman hovered close to being too expensive for a college budget.

These stores, however, were not at the top of some student’s list of desirable places to shop.

“I don’t know anyone my age who shops there,” said Dylan Sterling, a sophomore who thought Athens could do better.

Wal-Mart faced a similar problem. While it has a wide variety of clothing, it’s notorious lack of quality had both Sterling and Grant, who said they did not like to shop at Wal-Mart, wishing for more options.  

The only store left was rue 21. This store did sell men’s clothes geared towards people our age. In all of Athens, I had found one store that sold clothing specifically for my demographic. If you aren’t a fan of rue 21, you’re short on options.

As my hunt came to end along with the day, I come to the conclusion that there indeed places for men to shop. The problem, however, was what few choices we have are out of reach for anyone without a vehicle.

In short, you might be better off waiting until Thanksgiving break to buy that new coat for the coming winter. Happy Hunting.