The Las Vegas Strip is a 4.2-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South, The Strip is not actually located within the City of Las Vegas but…Ironically enough In Paradise, Nevada.
Forty Five years ago it was just Desert sand.
It is One of the World’s Top Tourist destination…..
Why you ask? …The answer is: Gambling!
According to the American Gaming Association, approximately $3.5 Billion Dollars was wagered in Nevada on Sports Alone in the Calendar year of 2012, Out of the Over $380 Billion Dollars Wagered on Sports throughout America.
Gambling on Sports….is Big Business.
For most of Society, whether it’s the Stock market, Legal Situations or just the Purchase of a Home or Vehicle, before you foray into any forum where you invest your hard earned money, you educate yourself or hire someone to advise or represent you.
…..Not Sports Gamblers.
In over 25 Years of wagering on Sports, I’ve yet to meet a fellow gambler who didn’t think She/he knew Everything about Sports and knew Exactly who was going to Win.., At least 50% of the time they Didn’t,because for the Average Gambler, Picking Winners is like flipping a Coin.!
This is one of the main reasons why “The House” (or Bookmakers) Are so Successful…..Under-Educated Clientele, and as much as the Flashy Casino promotions may deceive you into thinking they want you to Succeed or you’re there just for Entertainment purposes and it’s all in good fun…….
…The reality is, Casinos (Bookmakers) prey on the UN or under Educated individuals and count on the “Public” for their Big Profits.
To Casino Operators (or Bookmakers), there are two types of gamblers…..”The Public” (The general public, small wagering individuals who have little or no knowledge on how the Sports gaming industry actually works, Your average Sports fan who is more concerned about his/her favorite team winning than the Vigorish charged and lose 90% of the time if not more.) and “The Sharps” or “Wise guys” (Where if you haven’t guessed by now is pretty much the exact opposite of the “Public”, these are a small percentage of individuals that have studied the gambling industry for many years, more than likely commit a extremely high percentage of their time shopping for the best lines and keeping up to date with every piece of information that is possibly available in order to find that small edge……because for the most part, Sharp gamblers are wagering Large amounts of Money.) Bookmakers take these two groups into account when setting “The Lines” for all their Games (or Propositions/Props, which are things you can wager on that is not the direct outcome of a Sporting Event).
There are two main ways to wager on a Sporting Event when you are attempting to predict the winner. The first is called a “Money line” wager, in this option a player is needing only to predict the winning team of any specific game, Sounds easy enough right?….the caveat is; there are many games where one team is much better than the other and Casinos or Bookmakers are not in the business of giving money away, so if you have a game where one team is heavily favored the odds for picking that team will be immensely low and you would have to wager a larger amount of money to win back a very small amount, here is an Example: If The Miami Heat were playing the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2012 season where Miami won the NBA Championship and Charlotte was one of the worst teams in the league, you might see a line for Miami to Win at -8500,Which means you would have to wager $8,500 to win $100 in Profit…..and to most players the risk of wagering a large amount of money for such a small payoff is not worth the action…(on the flip side if you wanted to take the Long shot of Charlotte Actually winning the game over Miami, you could find odds in the +6000 range Which means you would risk $100 to Win $6,000 Profit which sounds great, but has a very small chance of happening, Not that upsets don’t happen, they do, you just have to be mighty lucky to not burn your bankroll before you hit one)….plus if we take into account the psychology of your average gambler for a Minute, Most want to have that feeling of being Smart after a win and the adoration that comes from your peers if you win a bet, nobody gives you accolades for predicting an obvious outcome…..so while “Sharp” gamblers wager on Money line options a lot, because they wager much larger amounts of money and are in it for business not emotional validation, the general Public mostly uses option number two……
….Point spreads, this is the way a Casino or Bookmaker balances the odds of a game between two teams so they can then raise the payout odds because they have a better chance of collecting wagers on both sides of the “Line”, whereas in the Money line option, almost everyone will choose the heavy favorite.
There are many factors that go into a line or odds being set, for many individuals who do not have a great knowledge or understanding of the Sports gaming industry they believe that when they see a line of a sporting event published by a Casino or Bookmaker, that it is the “Prediction” of what the Bookmaker believes will be the outcome…..NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.!
Lines are set based on where the Bookmaker believes the PUBLIC (or their Clientele) will wager as close to an even amount of Money on both sides of that Game…Example: if a line for a Football game is set at Dallas -7 over Cleveland, the Bookmaker is believing/Hoping that half of the Public will wager on Dallas-7 , while the other half will take Cleveland +7, and the lines are continually adjusted as money flows in on that particular game. It is the reason why when you see a Line Open at say -6.5 on a Monday. Then on Thursday the Line is raised to -7.5, It’s not because the Bookmaker has decided the favorite will Win the game by 1 more point, It’s because a Majority of the Money that has come in on that particular game has been on the side of the Favorite, So the Bookmaker raises the line in hopes of getting Money on the Underdog for the rest of the week, to balance HIS ODDS.!
Lines or Point Spreads are set before the start of each day’s action (in some cases well ahead, these are called “Futures”) but for some Sports like NFL Football, Lines can come out up to a week in advance of the actual game.
This is where the bookmakers try their best to “read” the action coming in and adjust the lines accordingly (this is also done on an hourly basis for daily Sports like Basketball or Baseball.)
It is a common myth that all bookmakers’ perfect scenario is to take the exact amount of wagered money on both sides of each game or proposition….this is not necessarily true, For smaller bookmakers, perhaps your local corner bookie or start-up online site this may apply, but Major Casinos and large offshore online sites who have Enormous Capital to utilise understand that all they are trying to attain is the higher percentage chance of Winning, Servicing the higher wagering players believing they will Eventually get their Money back, if not on this bet then the next one… while also profiting from the guaranteed Vigorish.
When a Casino is setting the opening line for a game, (For this example we will use an NFL Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns being played in Dallas, Texas.)The Casino will take into account that Dallas is the Home team and under normal circumstances with both teams healthy, being at home gives you a 3 point advantage. The Casino will also take into account that The Cowboys are considered one of America’s favourite “Public” Teams, meaning the general public likes to wager on the Cowboys whether they are good or not. (Some other notable Public Teams include The Pittsburgh Steelers, The New York Yankees and The Los Angeles Lakers.) So taking this into account the Bookmaker may add another 3 or 4 points to the Cowboys advantage, Because even though the Bookmaker does not believe Dallas deserves those extra points, he Knows that the general public will take Dallas because they like to cheer for their favorite teams, so even if these we’re two evenly matched teams based on talent, just because the Cowboys we’re playing at home and they are one of the known Public teams, Bookmakers would set the betting line at Dallas -7 over Cleveland and if you wanted to wager on Dallas, the Cowboys would have to win the game by 8+ points for you to cash your ticket….whereas if you wagered on Cleveland +7 and Dallas even won the game by 6 points you would still win the bet. (If the game ended in Dallas winning by exactly 7 points, it’s called a “Push” or Tie and both sides are returned the money that was wagered.)For this reason most of the time Lines or Spreads are set at ½ Points like -6.5 or +9.5 (One main question is always asked when this point is brought up and that is, if everyone Knows that Bookmakers purposely set lines high, why doesn’t everyone just always bet on the underdog? It is a great question…but the fact is, although it may seem simple enough to do, We come back to the psyche of most gamblers where it is never a fulfilling enough feeling just to win, but wanting to feel super smart in the process, hence beating or outsmarting the bookmaker.)(The Sharps do follow this line of thinking more often than not, but understand it’s a fluid situation and one formula does not work in every situation.)
Vigorish or most commonly referred to as “The Vig” is the Fee a Casino or Bookmaker charges for use of their Services. (On some occasions referred to as The Rake)
It is not much different than a Realtor charging a commission for assisting in bringing buyers and sellers of a property together, a Mortgage Broker bringing together Clients in need of a mortgage and Lenders who desire your business or most closely aligned to that of a Stock Broker, taking the predicted action on both sides of a commodity and paying out the side who is successful in their prediction….They are all middle men bringing two sides together.
Although there are slight variations to this, most point spread wagers are charged at a rate (or Price) of 11/10 or -110 to place a bet.(from the previous example of Dallas vs. Cleveland), If you wanted to wager on Dallas -7, and Vegas set the price for that wager at the normal -110, that means you can win $100 Profit for every $110 wagered or risked, anytime there is a Minus (“-“)sign before the number that means you have to wager that amount of Money to win a $100 profit, so if you wagered $220 on Dallas to win at -7 points and they did…..you would be returned the original $220 that you wagered and awarded $200 for correctly predicting the outcome making the total return $420,…..conversely, if you wanted to pick Cleveland you may have gotten a price on the Plus side, something like Cleveland +7 points, +105, when there is a Plus (“+”) sign before the number that means you can win that amount of profit for every $100 wagered or risked….so by wagering $200 on Cleveland +7, and succeeding in that prediction, you would be returned the $200 wagered plus $210 for correctly predicting the winner for a total of $410.
Here’s how the Casino or Bookmaker gets paid: again using the example of Dallas -7 vs. Cleveland, if the Casino takes in 100 wagers of $110 each on Dallas at the price of -110 they would have a total of $11,000 wagered on Dallas, consequently we’ll say that this is the perfect scenario for the Casino and they get 100 wagers of $110 for Cleveland at -110, they would have a total of $11,000 wagered on Cleveland. We’ll say the final score is Dallas 24 Cleveland 21, Dallas did win the game but DID NOT Cover the -7 Spread or Line so the 100 bets made on Cleveland actually wins.
Here is the math: The casino returns the original $11,000 or $110 per player to each Cleveland winner….they then pay $100 in profit to each of the Cleveland winners for a total of $10,000….but remember they took in $11,000 from the 100 Dallas bets and since they only paid out $10,000 in prize money they made a profit of $1000….from that 1 game.!(Obviously everyone who picked Dallas Lost their Money and do not get anything back.)
Now imagine that the average game wagered on, every Sunday in an NFL Football Season is in the Millions of Dollars and there are 12-16 games per week for a 17 week regular season and a 3 week playoff that culminates with the single highest wagered on event of the entire calendar year…The Super Bowl.!
…Then remember there are also wagers taken on Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, Soccer and every other Sport played on planet Earth.!
Yes, Sports Gambling is Big Business.!
A few topics of Warning to the New or Under-Educated Gambler:
CREDIT, CASINO ENTICEMENTS, PARLAYS, TOUT SERVICES.
I cannot emphasize this enough, DO NOT EVER GAMBLE WITH CREDIT…..I’m going to say it one more time for the hard of hearing…..DO NOT EVER GAMBLE WITH CREDIT.!!!
O.K., Gambling is just like Alcohol, Drugs, Prostitutes and any other Addictive activity…It’s enjoyable at first, but could get you in Trouble if you are not careful.
The #1 way for someone to get into trouble in the World of Gambling, is Borrowing Money to Bet and I Guarantee you that the Casinos and Bookmakers will Offer you this tantalizing Option if they believe they have the Security of Collecting these normally HIGH-INTEREST LOANS.
I’m sure I could write a whole book on this topic (I’m Sure this has already been done) So We won’t go over every Minuit detail here, but just understand you have been Warned.
This PERK normally goes hand in hand with the Credit a Casino will offer you, but it’s not limited to only those that qualify for Credit.
If a Casino observes that it has an Individual that Wagers either higher amounts of Money or even smaller amounts but frequently, they will desire to keep you as their Exclusive Client (Better still for the Casino if you are one of the Under-Educated).
Perks will include Rooms/Suites, Transportation, Entertainment, Dining/Drinks and of course for the Male Clientele…..Escorts.
These things are all nice, Except that if you are receiving them it probably means you are LOSING Money…and likely Lots of It.
Casinos/Bookmakers again are NOT in the Business of Losing Money…therefore if you are actually Winning Money…the Casinos Would rather you went elsewhere…not entice you to stick around by offering you Perks.!
To the Bookmakers or Sharps, Parlays are often referred to as “A Suckers Bet.”
Parlays are a great temptation in the World of Sports Gambling, sort of like picking 6 Lotto Numbers, wagering $2 and hoping for the Million dollar jackpot…..Highly Unlikely, But so enticing!
The general objective of a Parlay bet is to put multiple predictions on one single ticket, with the greater amount of games increasing the odds in the payout.
In Vegas most Casinos offer Parlays of up to 12 games per ticket with payout odds at 1000-1 for winning a 12 gamer. So based on wagering $20 on a 12 game Football Parlay you would collect $20,000 if ALL 12 predictions/Games won, but if you lose ONE of the 12 games, you lose the entire ticket.
It is one of the most heart-breaking feelings a Sports gambler can have, attaining a 12 game Parlay ticket, having the first 11 games go according to your predictions then Losing the last game….and the entire payout!
That is the reason it is considered a Suckers bet, because only a Sucker wins 11 of 12 games and has nothing to show for it.
Look; like the Lottery, if you wanted to put a few dollars a week on a Parlay, as a long-shot hope, knowing the odds of hitting it are Lotto like, then it shouldn’t be a problem….the thing is, a lot of gamblers start investing their entire bankroll into the Parlay dream.!
Have you ever seen the Movie “Two for the Money” with Al Pacino & Matthew McConaughey? (If you have not, I Highly Recommend you do.)
The premise of that film is my basic theory pertaining to Touts or Tout Services.
These are Sensational Salesmen who deceive the Public into thinking they Know Something about a game that you don’t, and if you subscribe to or buy their service they will let you in on these “Insider” Secrets that will make you a Guaranteed Winner…..
…It’s ALL B.S.!
But boy do they sell it well, flashy ads with paid Models, Rented Sports Cars, Mansions and Yachts THEY could only dream of…yet if you paid them a “small” fee or sometimes a percentage they will let you into their insider world with all the secrets that make them successful gamblers!
Look, there is a Sucker born every minute, or so the saying goes and if you would like to believe there is someone out there who was so successful at gambling (promoting their winning percentage at 90% or more, yet most people could live a decent life off 65% winnings) yet, would then put in the grueling hours per day it takes to run a business to make OTHERS Rich!?
I know if I was winning at a 90% clip and living the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous life with runway models and beach front Mansions, the last thing I’d be doing is operating some Sales business 7 days a week, 16 hours a day HOPING people would Pay Me for my advice!
Sonny Reizner was one of Las Vegas’ oldest and wisest Bookmakers who famously Opened a line at the Castaway’s on who Shot J.R. Ewing in the 1983 TV Series DALLAS.
He once said of a Mark Twain quote that was attributed to Religion …”It should have been written about Touts”, Twain’s Quote was: “It’s not what we don’t know that hurts us, It’s that we know so much that is NOT true.!”
The Moral of all this is, If you desire to be anything more than a truly recreational gambler that can afford to lose whatever you wager….Don’t Trust someone else to do your Work.
Sports Gambling has evolved into a World Wide Phenomenon, with the advent of the Internet opening unforeseen opportunities.
The biggest obstacle the industry faces though is Legalizing it throughout America so All of that $380 Billion can stay within the Country’s Borders.
The Stigma Gambling once faced is slowly starting to fade but if the American Government waits too long they may lose loyal Clientele to the current overseas Sites that have been there for gamblers since the inception of the Internet and seeing how that Money turned a once destitute desert into a World-Class Destination….
They would be Prudent to Act Expeditiously.