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Beavers’ recreation was really his addiction

Updated: September 25, 2013 8:16PM

As hogs go, Bill Beavers makes for excellent entertainment. When he goes off to prison, we will miss him.

But Beavers will be back soon enough, after serving a six-month stint set to begin Dec. 2, and you can bet he’ll be as old-school incorrigible and quotable as ever.

It’s not as if a short stay in a federal pen is about to transform a guy like Beavers, an unrepentant tax cheat who deserves his fate. He’s 78 and set in his ways — take it or leave it.

We generally leave it, except when we take it. The Hog couldn’t quit playing the slots at a Hammond casino, which is what got him into this mess — the slots give terrible odds. And reporters can’t seem to quit hitting up the Hog for a quote, which, in their defense, offers much better odds.

Case in point: What Beavers said to reporters Wednesday to explain why he said nothing to Judge James Zagel before he was sentenced:

“I don’t beg my woman, so you know I wouldn’t beg the judge, all right?”

Classic Beavers. Not as memorable as his famous claim that he’s “the Hog with the big nuts,” but still a keeper.

Beavers got in trouble for using campaign funds to swell his pension and for gambling sprees at the Horseshoe, then failing to pay taxes on that money. He claimed he had merely borrowed the money, but he got serious about paying it back only after he learned the feds were on to him.

What we have never understood about Beavers is why he played the slots. He is said to be a clever and calculating man, the master of the backroom deal, but he dumped tens of thousands of dollars into those machines, despite their miserable odds. The Hog should have stuck to betting on the horses. He still would have gone bust, but slower.

What Beavers called his “recreation” looks to us more like an addiction, less a choice than a compulsion.

In the ways that matter most, maybe he wasn’t so smart after all.

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