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March Madness and knowing your limits during Gambling Awareness Month John Martin

John Martin of Maryland Lottery joins Nestor to discuss March Madness and more mobile sports wagering news. And as always, the tips for how to play your brackets and place your bets responsibly during this hectic time of basketball and fun.


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John Martin, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

What’s up you and st Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are we can work we got a lot of madness going on around here we got NFL free agency Lamar madness March Madness crabcake madness, the Maryland crab cake tours getting back out on the road and when I do, we’re going to be a Costas which is why I’m wearing the Costas gear. They got me the white one. It almost looks fake, almost. It’s green screen fake and I got rid of the yellow one. And Tom was tired of the Steelers yellow. We’re gonna be giving these away. It’s the instant lottery the old schoolers don’t they look cool. They’re kind of cool. I’ll be giving these away Costas in early April as well as it fade Lee’s got a Baltimore positive I’m gonna get the dates together. And the times and of course our friends are winter nation 866 90 nation I get to wear the funny floppy hat by to get your free two years 0% financing and they put us on the road. And this guy is on the road to March Madness. Opening Day, all sorts of scratch off things going on. You have a jackpot John Martin joins us here he is our guy from the Maryland lottery course the executive director of all things lottery and gaming and of course the gaming side important as I kicked the weekend off with the terrapins at Hollywood casino and Perry Ville on the Barstool Sports getting out and you know, March Madness. It’s beer, its wings, its food, its burgers, its brackets. And of course now it’s mobile wagering, right, John?


John Martin  01:22

All thanks to begin with him.

Nestor Aparicio  01:25

Including Martin and Mary

John Martin  01:26

Martin. Thank you. Thank you. You know what it is crazy. It is crazy. Madness is correct. It is where we are knee deep in it. I don’t know if we’re stepping into it or stepping out of it. But there’s a lot going on here. And you know, you talk about the obvious things with with a tournament. My friends at the American gaming Association put out a press release the other day based on some research they have done. They estimate that about a quarter of the adult population but 68 million people will have some skin in the game some wagering on the tournament that’s not just watching the game that out wagering on the game that’s wagering having some some financial interest in it, whether it’s brackets, or whatever. Going to a

Nestor Aparicio  02:11


fist brackets are as old as time is right. I mean, I think about my first brackets and I’ve talked about and my first brackets were in the 70s in seventh, eighth and ninth grade, when it was a it was a thing you pulled out of the newspaper. I remember making copies. I better get I’m gonna get Holabird, middle school and trouble here. Maybe Mr. Stadium because i Mr. Stadium was on the crabcake tour two weeks ago. You gotta go see it. John was unbelievable to drug city. It was incredible. But I remember making it that’s how far back it goes with friends. And then it be I mean, gosh, in the 80s and 90s. It took off. Now we’re, I’m sitting in Hollywood Casino. It’s real. You can be anywhere, anytime. And there’s certainly some danger involved in this that I know. We want to point out on the front end, the back end of the segment this month.

John Martin  02:55

Well, yeah, absolutely. And today, as we speak, we have 10 retail locations and eight mobile sports books to responsibly place your wager breaking news, Nestor, we may have two additional mobile sports operators up and running before the end of the tournament within the next two weeks. So stay tuned to all things sports wagering related and see if in fact, we have additional entrance into that. But regardless, anytime

Nestor Aparicio  03:23

you give me a tip like that, I know it’s going to happen. So I’m now now I’m have to ask you next week and week after but I mean, you’re, you know, things that are happening, that’s good. I

John Martin  03:32

know things I know things. Some things I prefer not to know. But these things are good things to know. And and what it means, obviously, is that env and for some people, they still prefer the social atmosphere, right. And even though we’ve gotten mobile gone nuts with it, they like to get together with friends, go to one of our 10 retail sports books. You mentioned you’re going to be a barstool at Hollywood period. We’ll


Nestor Aparicio  03:53

bet on the Terps you know what I mean? It’s more fun, you know, the

John Martin  03:57

why not? I mean, both men’s and women’s tournaments feature the Terps this year so you know, let’s let’s ride that as long as we can. We know that’s, that’s exciting when you’ve got some some local interest in it. But whether you’re playing with with friends at the at one of the 10 venues or you’re you’re playing on your mobile device, again, the key takeaway is play responsibly, have a plan, stick to it. Remember, it’s fun, it’s entertainment. And if you find out you or someone you know has a problem with with addictive behaviors, there are free resources at one 800 gambler and MD gambling All

Nestor Aparicio  04:35

right, well, I for all of us that are going to gain weight over the weekend off the wings and beer and you know, hopefully the Terps go a little further and get through the West Virginia thing. They’re still what we do here and your 50th anniversary is like happening, it’s on it’s real. We talked about a lot last year and talked about the rollout and, and even talked about how neat some of this is. I want to Give a shout out to great Kurt fans and gkv and Roger Greg, I saw you shout them out on LinkedIn, the commercials they’ve won awards, the the line of what you guys are doing the rollout the 50th has really been fun and nostalgic. And I think people are seeing it now. And when I pull these out when I pulled these out of drugs city, and I know Costas is a part of this, too, you get a lot of people out there that have been doing this a long, long time that that remember all this cool stuff that you’re putting out on the street and on billboards right now.

John Martin  05:28


You know, it’s great to go back and the ticket you’re referencing our instant lottery $2 ticket is a is a throwback to 1976 when we launched that very first scratch off ticket. And today’s contemporary lottery business features a number of Second Chance drawing so not only can people win cash prizes, if those tickets are not winning tickets, they can submit them for drawings, and char Anita Davis of Baltimore, Maryland is our first $10,000 winner on the instant lottery ticket. Second Chance, so congratulations to tourney to Davis. Also congratulations to an anonymous winner who showed up and won $5 million.

Nestor Aparicio  06:11

No wonder they were anonymous. Right?

John Martin  06:14

On her 50 years, five $50 Ticket 50 years. First of three top prizes top prize $5 million, had a chance to meet the winner the other day. And as you can imagine, is

Nestor Aparicio  06:29

this thing, right? That ad is that that is this thing right here, right? Yep, yep, that


John Martin  06:32

is that thing right there. And, you know, again, it’s incredible when you when you look into someone’s eyes, and they are a little glazed, stunned, but you realize you have just told them that you have a life altering amount of money, and you wish them well as I did that they they have a purpose for it. And they can take care of their family and and obligations that they have. But it is amazing to see someone just realize that they are a millionaire. And you know, a million dollars used to mean something and I’m old school Minister, you might be the same thing. You know, to me, if you win a million bucks, that’s still a pretty good day at the office.

Nestor Aparicio  07:14

I would be okay with that. I would take it.

John Martin  07:17

Yeah. You know, sometimes people get get a little jaded, you know, oh, it’s, you know, $2 billion. Jackpot. And by the way, the Powerball jackpot is rising, just in case anyone in your household wasn’t paying close attention. But I know they are. You know, jackpots rise and people gotta get a little jaded. Well, you know, it’s only a couple 100 million, it’s only a couple billion. You know what, a million dollars still goes a long way. And we’re happy to see people who are playing responsibly and also enjoying the benefits of some life altering prizes.

Nestor Aparicio  07:50


I want to give you a little oxygen on the Orioles thing too, in the baseball thing because that’s coming up. I mean, I mean, Lamar Lamar, Lamar, Lamar, Lamar, Lamar, free at Lamar, March Madness Terps. Wow, it’s we are two weeks out on opening day, three weeks out on Baltimore opening day, and you guys are always doing stuff with homeruns. I always reference Gary Rennick II and if I ever get Rhino back on the program, I’m gonna find out whatever happened to the person that won the million dollars back in the 80s. But you know, that raise a million dollars on a Grand Slam? And at this point, you’d be like, she had more than that for a grand slam. You know, it’s like, it’s like, this is the time of the year and we’re still the tournament’s barely started. They had a couple of tipping games, but the odds of getting every bracket the perfect bracket that ESPN used to do. I read The New York Times piece, it’s like 3.9 bajillion. It’s like a not even a billion or a trillion. It’s something alien that I know. Even kajillion Yeah,

John Martin  08:45

it kind of makes those Powerball mega million numbers seem seem real. Yeah. You had a perfect bracket. At Sure. Yeah. But you know what the homerun riches contest is one we enjoy every year. And when you have the occasion, sit back and plan what you want to do for your 50th anniversary as we have done here at Maryland lottery gaming. You look at things and say what’s the unique spin we can put on it. And for years, we have offered fans the option to submit their non winning tickets into a drawing and be selected contestant of the game. And we do it for all 162 games of the year. And if they happen to be that game holder and auras player hits a homerun they win $500 For every Orioles homerun hit in that game. Well this year we said let’s do something different. At some point in the season, they’re going to hit their 50th homerun and traditionally that said maybe late May early June. So when that lucky contestant in the game happens to be there for that 50th homerun, they will win $50,000 And then we’ll have a second $50,000 prize at the end of the season. For everyone who participates in the Homer enriches Second Chance drawing. We’ll have an additional drawing for $50,000 Basically the 160/3 game of the season if you will, but way at the end in October, you know, I hold and

Nestor Aparicio  10:03

harbor some deep, deep thoughts about being involved in the Maryland lottery and, and all the branding and so I have an idea for you. Okay, this is this is baseball at the ready. Okay know your guardians guy. I’m an Orioles guy. So it’s the 50th home run, this is what I would offer, if I were in those whiteboard rooms for ideas for the Orioles. And I love your idea. But here let’s let’s add a little spice to it. It’s the 50th anniversary in baseball of the designated hitter, there’s a one in nine chance that the person that hits the home run will actually be a designated hitter. And as designated hitter. I think the winner should get 50 million more dollars. What do you think? Wow,

John Martin  10:44

you know, there’s a reason you’re on that side of the screen. And I’m on this side of the screen.


Nestor Aparicio  10:49

And I just did I just do lottery karaoke that I didn’t fail.

John Martin  10:54

You know, I think as I’m told often here, stay in your lane.

Nestor Aparicio  10:59

No, my latest sports in my lane is the designated interest the 50th anniversary. That’s a big deal. For me, it was a dump to DH guy, you know what I mean? So I’m just trying to add a little you said you were trying to add things. Alright, so I got shot down by management. I understand that’s happened before. John Martin is here he is director, Executive Director of all things. Gaming, I’m going to be giving these away one last thing for you because I’m wearing my cost this shirt. And if we do this the right way. And the times and the planes align. We’re going to be over cost this next month on the crabcake tour, which I did a Christmas time I do a couple of year. And we have great guests, I probably bring my friends from Tradepoint Atlantic probably bring Chuck down from the fountain that drug city, quite frankly, more marijuana vendors there for you. But I know there are some special places and we’re gonna talk more about this next month. But there are places that been with you for 50 years, and I’ve worn this shirt, literally because they’ve been 52 years longer than the designated hitters. Mr. Costas will tell you over there, because that happened in 73. I happen in 68. I remember all of this stuff. But there are some legacy places and you sent them to me. And the list is amazing. Because some of them are literally packaged goods stores are literally corner stores that embrace the lottery before there was a lottery. They’re like, Oh, we’re gonna have numbers and it’s going to be legal in the state. And in 1972 73, somebody came in and said, Hey, you want to put in? Was it a machine then? What was it only machines? Right?

John Martin  12:21


Yeah, yeah, there were terminals put into stores. But they don’t they weren’t called terminals. No, they weren’t called I guess they’re called machines back then.

Nestor Aparicio  12:29

Yeah, my god machines, you’re gonna put a machine we don’t have any machines in here. We have a refrigerator, we have this and that. But I mean, that’s how I remember 73 I remember phones that were connected to cords and like all that old phone booths and things like that, right? But but for you guys go into these initial vendors, where cost is still has a sign in a window and it’s all original. That’s where literally the first lottery tickets were ever sold.

John Martin  12:54

Oh, and it’s a slice of history. And you know, I I certainly wasn’t there at the time. But you know, you go back and you think what pioneers these folks were and like a lot of things in in in a flash forward to sports wagering. You know, the lottery back then is sports wagering has been here more More recently, our attempts to legalize and put structure to basically illegal operations,

Nestor Aparicio  13:17

no doubt about I watched Guys and Dolls. I saw guys and dolls in high school, you know?


John Martin  13:22

Right. Exactly. And so So yeah, the numbers games on city streets. And that wasn’t just a Baltimore thing that was a an urban thing all over the country, the world. Yeah. And don’t kick yourself there’s probably still some derivative of that going on today. But the reality is the the lotteries were put in place to to fund government causes, and to regulate an unregulated market and to provide player protections. So that 50 cent dollar wager would pay off X amount of dollars, and the player was guaranteed that they would get that money. And the funds then were directed the profits were directed to, to state agencies to distribute in worthwhile causes throughout the jurisdiction. And that’s what happens today and happens with sports wagering. And again there there’s a lot of still black market, illegal sports wagering going on. So we’re not there yet. And now I’m thinking you know, legalizing lotteries and sports wagering and casinos will eradicate the black market, but you certainly want to to direct players into more structured, safe, protected areas like like traditional lotteries, casinos and sports wagering vendors.

Nestor Aparicio  14:39

Well, it really is amazing coming full circle, John, and I’ve been talking about this on my you know, my soapbox here most of the week is Yeah, I used to watch March Madness and get a little itchy because the kids were the only ones not making money. Right. And this is before you could literally grab your phone on behalf of your agency and place a wager with one of them. But I think even back to offer Dundalk, John, you know what I mean? I’m literally I’m from Dundalk, man. So my dad came home with pool cards from the point I every March Madness we played, I was the guy holding $1 from everybody that the winner was 40 bucks or whatever in 1982 a bunch of a bunch of guys in my middle school that you know, I never won. And because I never picked Duke Duke Duke always cost me always took Savior the terms, but I’ve been talking about that in good fun all week. But the real story is I’m from Dundalk. Okay, so you play fine, our pool card, you play this or whatever, you gotta go find big Louis and get paid afterward. And that creates all sorts of chaos, that we’re all familiar with everybody in my listen audience that knows anything about sports numbers, what’s the over under What’s this? What’s the point spread, like all that’s been going on? We’re now like, one year and a couple of months into having it be a thing where you don’t I you know, I’ve referenced everything. I’ve watched prohibition stuff and cannabis, all of these things, vices and things that were really dangerous, and things to people wanted to do and fell comply It compelled to do. And now it’s there. And I people come up to me all the time. And they know about my relationship with you. And I give these away and I talk about and they know traditionally I’m not a guy that talked a whole lot about betting in the way that maybe some of my competitors did. But this is universally a good thing. When I think back to the trouble that could have happened at Holabird if the wrong guy would have had the 40. But you know, just talking about as a kid, extrapolate that into the modern era. I don’t think anyone can argue knowing people that have been on sports, that we’re not in a better place. And I want to say this on behalf of the kids playing basketball in the NFL. I don’t know enough about that. And I’m trying to learn as a journalist and as as a fan, like what all this means. But I do know I feel better about the kids dribbling the basketball, knowing everybody to the popcorn vendors making money, except the kids playing ball. And I think we’re whatever they say they are aims towards justice, right? I mean, I think we’re getting to a point where this is regulating this part of sports wagering as a guy who’s done this for 31 years, this is a good thing, John, I believe that,

John Martin  17:19

well, unfortunately, there is a counterpoint to all of that. And, you know, not to make this a big, you know, social debate here. But, you know, there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with that, and people will point to, again, particularly in March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month, you know, the addictive behaviors and the, and the ability for, for people just to get their access to it. And maybe people who, who have some addictive behaviors or tendencies, you know, what happens in a lot of things, you know, you talk about prescription drugs, you talk about alcohol consumption, tobacco,

Nestor Aparicio  18:01


to put up a stop sign somewhere, right, as a bartender, we’re not serving that guy, we’re getting a cab, if it’s, you know, wherever that would be that there has to be some sort of barrier to make sure that it remains safe. And in the spirit that is intended, which I talked about in the Spirit’s intended, because I’ve continued talking sports for all these years, knowing people in my audience are doing this. And there’s, there’s a lot of risk and no benefit to in regard to the activity of doing it. Now that we’ve had legislative, I think it’s very important that all of these, that all of these mobile devices have some sort of, you know, barrier for

John Martin  18:40

what people share. Sure, you know, they the guardrails are there, and they have to be used by individuals. And ultimately, it is a personal responsibility thing. And, you know, we, we don’t take this lightly, we don’t just pass it off as so what, you know, we know 95% of our people play the games as intended, have fun with it play responsibly, budget, their time, view it as entertainment, social environment, but we know that roughly 5% You know, are going to have some challenges. And we’ve got to address that so that the safety nets are there. And we have great relationships with people like the center of excellence from the University of Maryland, and other responsible gaming entities across the country. And we’re proud of our efforts in that too, to put up the stop signs to be responsible in what we do. And when appropriate, make sure resources are available. As I said earlier, one 800 gambler, and MD gambling website is our two excellent free resources for not only the individual but any family or friends who are impacted as well.

Nestor Aparicio  19:47

So back I purchased the station in 1999. I gained access in 1998. And this is we had a web page like a geo cities webpage or something at the time And we had a fax machine here, John, and we would on March Madness week, put the brackets out, and people would fax we would have I would have insurance here grading brackets. So I went from being a kid and hollyburn middle having 20 or 30 friends put a buck into a pool and maybe win 30 bucks after a month right to everybody. Hey, I pick Kansas. I’ve been to getting the complaint department here, right? As far as who won the Man case, at the end right in 1999. So I have experienced this as well as on a weekly basis. We had a pigskin pick him it had a name. And every week the fax machine would pile up we’d have 820 Because John, this is how it would go to the Maryland lottery. I have real listeners here. I know Arbitron says 20 people send me postcards last week. So we it was a grading thing. We gave dinners away. So I I guess I was involved in sort of lightweight prognostication in the early days not as far back as Jimmy the Greek doing the intangibles. But close enough, John, I appreciate you anything Did I miss anything? Are you guys are doing something? We the anniversary of doing all sorts of stuff, all sorts

John Martin  21:09

of things. And coming up next week, just as tease is what we call a tease in the industry.


Nestor Aparicio  21:13

That’s why I’m wearing a costume shirt. I’m T crabcake. Tour. Come on.

John Martin  21:17

Next. Next week, we introduce a new a new lineup of scratch off games. A couple of things in there. I think it’d be very interested in. Are you a fan of old arcade games?

Nestor Aparicio  21:27


John Martin  21:28


All right. We may have one of those available as a scratch off ticket next week. Stay tuned or go to Mt. Hold on, go to MD right now and find out

Nestor Aparicio  21:39

old arcade game so I’m just playing playing along with your finger. I think old arcade I think like skee ball and like old school Ocean City. They beat pinball machines free video free filagot asteroids Pac Man Donkey Kong free that is what I think of old arcade games. So if this is a Pac Man game or something, it’s really modern you know from like the 80s somebody

John Martin  22:08

from the 80s Do you hear yourself talk modern from the 80s Go ahead.

Nestor Aparicio  22:14

I’m just gonna let it teach. That’s all I’m gonna say. Because I don’t know whether it’s really old arcade or whether it’s arcade that I would tell my kids is old. That to me is still like cool like Pac Man or Donkey Kong or Gulag or


John Martin  22:28

what show up next week and we’ll find out you’re gonna make me go

Nestor Aparicio  22:31

to MD is where you’re gonna make me do John Martin is here. He has these in these in them and those you can get them anywhere. But you can only get these from me on the Maryland crabcake tour if you’re following along next month we’re going to be Costas we’re going to be fadeless while we do have instant lottery scratch offs we’ll be doing that our friends when their nation are also heavily involved in the Maryland crab cake tour invested in off and they’re gonna come out of a crab cake with me at some point to as his John. We’re going to be Costas we’re going to be fade these we’re going to be doing it the right way. Make sure you’re gambling responsibly folks. Make sure to take it easy this we don’t get too bent up on the Terps this weekend. Please make it to a Monday please beat Alabama and bring me good barbecue Don Sheeler there’s a shout out. I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570 Tell us about John my friends go to Birmingham they better bring me back barbecue. We never stop talking. Baltimore barbecue and positive stay with us.

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