Bookies used to ooze sincerity. They meant it when they promised to break kneecaps for nonpayment of debts.
Now bookmakers headquartered in foreign lands try to take away red-blooded American jobs through betting on the internet.
Worse, these modern-day bookies operate in the slippery world of self-promotion. They will use any statement, no matter how vague or unsupported, to solicit more gamblers.
The upstarts even infiltrated that storied American gabfest, Tuesday night's debate between Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.
One of these companies is mybookie.ag, whose web address is in Antigua and Barbuda.
Mybookie.ag offered betting lines for all sorts of trivia on the presidential debate.
You could have risked money on whether Trump would use the slur "Sleepy Joe."
Another betting option was the color tie each candidate would wear. Red was the favorite for Trump, blue for Biden. Sure, it's as predictable as Trump babbling about fake news, but bookies are in this for money, not creative flair.
The most thought-provoking bet was what would be said first by Trump or Biden. Mybookie.ag offered odds on five possibilities: CDC, pandemic, mask, World Health Organization or Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Better options would have been hoax, incompetent response, record recovery, incompetent president, miracle vaccine and incompetent leadership.
Of course, mybookie.ag promises more than novelty bets.
In a press handout, one Natasha Nikolov of MyBookie Media promoted the company's leading oddsmaker as a political soothsayer.
Nikolov headlined her announcement about the oddsmaker in bold terms.
"Source: political polls are usually wrong — here’s why the betting lines are more accurate," she gushed.
I asked Nikolov for her data proving political polls are wrong most times.
She replied: "There are tons of contradicting stats and info around the accuracy of polls."
Nikolov's response ducked the question. I tried a second time, asking her if she could back up her statement that political polls are wrong most times.
She sent me an opinion piece by a contributor to NBC and a Wall Street Journal story from 2015 headlined: "Why political polls are so often wrong."
Nikolov provided an ounce of material from the tons she said were at her disposal. She failed to make her case.
In New Mexico, pollster Brian Sanderoff is almost always right. His earning power depends on it.
Mybookie.ag makes a similar financial argument in claiming sportsbooks are best at predicting election results. Nikolov says they can lose money if political odds are set incorrectly.
Another of her company's claims is people will lie on a political poll but probably won't gamble hard-earned money on something they don't believe in.
Her argument is at odds with what I know to be true. A segment of sports fans always bets on long-shot sentimental favorites to reach the World Series or Super Bowl.
And my pals from the old neighborhood bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers in every game last season, even with future hall-of-fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured and unable to play. The Steelers finished 8-8 without Big Ben. The crew did worse, losing its collective shirt and shorts.
Sentimental fools aside, Nikolov said her company's oddsmaker has special insights on the presidential election. She said he could explain why sportsbooks are seeing a win for Trump in November and how their approach differs from polls.
Few would discount Trump after he won almost every swing state in 2016. His victories over Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin were upsets that proved state polls wrong.
But Trump in 2016 could call himself a government outsider and successful businessman. Neither description is true this time, not after he's been in charge for four years and we've seen his tax returns.
There's a more important reason why shifts might occur.
Countless voters this year are unemployed. They won't forget Trump's assurance in February that his administration had the novel coronavirus under control.
After 205,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States, everyone has an opinion on how Trump handled a crisis as great as any since World War II.
My lasting memory is Trump blaming former President Barack Obama, even though Trump had been in office for three years when COVID-19 emerged. The disease did not exist when Obama was president.
Even with all that's changed this year, a bookie says he's a better bet than the pollsters to size up the November election.
Such cockiness never would have surfaced in the old days.
Bookies who operated from bars or candy stores had a standard answer when asked about politicians. They always took the fifth.