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Nicole Boisvert always liked sports. She just never contemplated having a career in it.

The 35-year-old from Williston, N.Y. was content dealing craps, then being a floor supervisor. Running a sportsbook wasn’t on her radar.

But when the Supreme Court opened the door for states to have legalized sports betting three years ago and her casino decided to open a sportsbook, Boisvert suddenly found herself in a strange, new world.

“I didn’t really know much about the business,” said Boisvert, who manages the sportsbook for DraftKings at the del Lago Casino-Resort in the Finger Lakes region of upstate N.Y. “But I saw it as a great opportunity to get my name in there. They hired me as a night shift supervisor, then got promoted to manager and it’s been an amazing experience.”

Boisvert oversees a 6,000 square-foot book that seats 300, has 23 kiosks, 1,000 square feet of television screens, a restaurant, bar and VIP area. And with the assistance of DraftKings, which oversees the book’s operation, she can focus on the customers more than the numbers, even though she holds a degree in accounting.

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The DraftKings folks have been amazing,” she said. “They’ve been such a big help and I’ve learned a lot in a short time. It’s a rapidly changing industry.”

Boisvert has learned a lot as a first-time participant in Gaming Today’s 2020 Bookies Battle contest sponsored by Station Casinos. She got off to a fast start and is 29-19 through the first three weeks of the NFL season.

“I honestly think it’s a little bit of luck,” she said of her early success. “The first couple of weeks are the hardest because the rosters are new and with everything that’s been going on with no preseason. I’ve been pretty much going by feel. It’s not the greatest strategy but it seems to be working and I hope to keep it going.”

Boisvert is one of seven DraftKings Bookies Battle participants and she is at the top of the DK list.

“I’m really excited about how well I’m doing,” she said. “I know a lot of people from DraftKings are also in the contest and they’ve been very supportive of how I’m doing so that’s kinda cool.”

For a while, the sports betting industry was going through tough times as the coronavirus put a halt to sports in North America. Many states ordered their casinos closed and the del Lago was no exception.

“The real challenge since reopening has been getting back into the swing of things, making sure everyone is following the (COVID-19) guidelines, social distancing, keeping everything clean,” she said. “We don’t have mobile (wagering) yet in New York so we have a lot more foot traffic in the book. So we have to manage the crowds and make sure everyone is complying. But we also want to make sure all our customers get taken care of and have a good time.”

With the NFL playing and college football ramping up, weekends have been busy at del Lago.

“We have a lot of (Buffalo) Bills fans in this area so they’re here betting and watching the Bills,” said Boisvert, who is a New York Giants fan and also roots for Syracuse University basketball. “It gets a little insane on Sunday but it’s great to be busy and I love seeing our customers having a good time.”

And when the Bills action rolls in, Boisvert doesn’t have to worry about the risk side of things. Since DraftKings sets the lines, it makes the necessary adjustments for her.

“They’re always on top of it,” Boisvert said of DraftKings. “They’re following the action and making the changes when they need to.”

It frees up Boisvert to focus on customer service and make sure everyone is being taken care of.

“It’s important that our customers feel comfortable,” she said.”

And being a woman doesn’t change things.

“They definitely respect me,” she said of her customers. “I feel comfortable in my role. I’ve never had a problem.”

Away from the casino, Boisvert tries to take advantage of the outdoors. She and her husband Brian, who is a table games supervisor at del Lago, love to get outside and do things in the Finger Lakes region, which is known for hiking, boating and other activities.

“I like to stay active and be out in the sunshine and warmth,” she said. “It’s really beautiful here. There’s so much to do.”

But now that it’s football season, Boisvert’s time beyond the book may be reduced. No problem, she said.

“It’s an exciting time of the year,” she said. “The energy inside the book is amazing and I’m having a great time being part of it.”

About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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