Mobile apps changing game for bettors’ habits

Oct 3, 2018 3:00 AM

Profits in any casino game comes from the volume of activity in the category of the wager. Sounds profound, but the principle is simple. Let’s say one person makes one bet of $100,000 on a casino game that has a 5 percent casino advantage. With one bet, the bettor either wins or loses $100,000 conversely the casino either wins or loses $100,000. However, if 2,000 people each make a $5 wager on the same casino game for total wagers of $100,000 the likely result is that the casino will win a net of $5,000 which is the casinos game advantage of 5 percent. 

The 5 percent game advantage against the volume of 2,000 $5 bets allows that math of the game to work and provides the casino an expectation of the win that allows the casino to operate. 

With most casino games the casino win comes from multiple similar bets repeatedly made. In slots and video poker games some serious players can play several hundred games in an hour. In blackjack, a fast player can play between 90 and 120 hands an hour,. But in the sports book, the number of bets a gambler can make tends to be limited to their bankroll and how many games are available to bet and often is in the form of three or four bets for a three to four-hour period. Add the challenge of standing in line to make a bet the process itself slows the betting opportunities for the gambler. 

Online and mobile gaming, on the other hand, provides instant and on-demand opportunities for making traditional and non-traditional sports wagers. Because of the online option a wide range of betting options are available including a form of wagering popular throughout the rest of the world “In-game Wagering.” With “In-game Wagering” the gambler is offered bets ranging from continuously changing odds on the end of game results, end of the inning, period or quarter results, player stats, next play results to just about anything a performance statistic or a result can be independently tracked and verified. 

Since these wagers require almost instant action they do not generally work for over the counter traditional sports bet ticket writing. For the gambler, these wagers increase the action and fun factor, while for the book operator they increase the volume of bets and improve the book’s opportunity to let the math do the job like any other casino game. 

For the book operator, online betting is cheaper to operate, the computer servers never sleep, do not go on break, do not require health insurance and never complain about uniforms, working conditions or the food in the employee cafeteria. The online system can also accommodate thousands of bets in the same time a ticket writer can punch up a bet and can better track gambler’s activity than a human being. In the isolate, online betting is a much better business model than the traditional ticker writer system. But is it the best for a casino? 

Sports books and poker rooms tend to be the least profitable segments of a casino. And for the most part, sports books are an amenity for the casino customer as well as another reason to go to the casino. In the days before online sports betting it was a regular event to see gamblers rush off to a casino to get a sports bet down then settle down to have a cocktail or two, play some craps, blackjack or poker while they wait for the game to start or even during the game as long as they were playing somewhere that they could keep an eye on a TV screen so that they could keep tabs on the game they bet. 

Most NFL Sunday mornings would see married couples come into the casino with the husbands heading to the book to get a bet down and the wives heading to a slot machine while their hubbies are in the book. This often resulted in a hubby having a win or loss of a hundred or two on the games and the wife blowing a few hundred in the slots. 

In the days since online sports betting, behaviors have changed a bit. Rather than running into the casino to get a bet down, the gambler will set up and fund his account, and bet until they have lost their account deposit or go and cash out their winnings. Online wagering has taken over so much that other than Kentucky Derby day, it is more a rarity than a regularity to see a material line in a book to get a bet down. 

To be sure online sports betting makes much more sense to an operator both in the cost of operations and volume of wagering, but does it make long-term or practical sense to reduce the reasons for gamblers to come into a casino? Right decision for a casino or not, online sports wagering is here to stay. And for the sharp gambler, online sports wagering can turn sports betting into sports investing.