Bookies rookie enjoying successful run

There are 62 contestants in this year’s Gaming Today Bookies Battle sponsored by Station Casinos. Of those 62, 10 are from DraftKings.

Of the 10, the guy from the smallest outlet is sporting the biggest record.

Yes, Andy Kron is proud of the fact that his DK sportsbook at Wild Rose Resort in Emmetsburg, Iowa is the smallest of the state’s 18 books. He’s even prouder of the fact he has done as well as he has so far in his initial foray in the Bookies Battle, which has him sporting a record of 83-75 going into Thanksgiving week.

“I’m surprised myself at how well I’ve done,” said Kron, who is the sportsbook and OTB manager. “I’m more of an over/under bettor than betting (point) spreads. With COVID-19, it’s been tough trying to figure out who’s playing and who isn’t. I try to do as much studying as I can and I look at the past matchups. But it’s hard to handicap every game and then turn in your picks so early in the week.”

But Kron and the others do so every Tuesday. The 41-year-old from Algona, Iowa has enjoyed the experience and he knows some of the other DraftKings employees who are participating.

“It’s like a contest within a contest,” he said. “It’s like having bragging rights within the company.”

Kron was dealing cards in the poker room at Wild Rose going back to 2006. But when sports betting was legalized in Iowa a year ago and he had an opportunity to be part of the new endeavor, he jumped at the chance.

“I always enjoyed playing cards,” he said. “When I graduated high school, I decided to deal cards. I went to dealers’ school and got a job in the poker room. 

“I dealt for 13 years. But when I found out they were going to open a sportsbook, I wanted to be in there, so I made the switch and I love what i do now, even though I miss the customers in the poker room.”

Kron met his wife April at the casino, where she worked in table games. They’ve got three kids — 13-year-old Haley, 11-year-old Alex and 5-year-old Cooper — and like dad, they’re all big sports fans, particularly of the Chicago Bears.

“I root for all Chicago sports teams,” Kron said. “But the Bears are my first love. That’s why I never bet on them. I like to just watch and not have to root for my money.”

And with the Bears having had their bye last week, Kron didn’t have to worry about selecting them as one of his contest picks. He won’t be as lucky this week as he’ll have to make a stand Sunday night when the Bears travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers as a road underdog.

When the casino was forced to shut down back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kron got to spend more time with his family and while he made the most of it, it was good when the Wild Rose reopened in mid-June.

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“It was a weird time,” he said. “We helped the kids finish school. We stayed home and I had a to-do list of projects, so I got some things done around the house. But by May, we were starting to wonder what was going on and when we’d be going back to work. So when we reopened, it was an exciting time, even though we didn’t have a lot of sports to offer our customers.”

With the coronavirus spiking again throughout the country, Kron and his employer are bracing for restrictions, possibly another shutdown. But with DraftKings’ mobile app, his customers can stay in action.

Having both the NFL and college football going and the start of college basketball this week and the NBA next month should keep him busy.

“We have people signing up for the app all the time,” he said. “We also have horse betting now and it’s great. But when you compare it to sports betting, it’s night and day. The sports guys are younger and bet more while the horseplayers tend to be older and bet less. But we have a very loyal following for both and I grateful for that.”