Book Closes On Osborne’s Great Career

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It was 1985 when Bert Osborne left Fayette City, Pennsylvania with an idea that he might be able to make it in Las Vegas just as a few of his Pittsburgh friends had done recently. He figured he’d at least get the opportunity to see if the sportsbook world was for him, but he had a feeling it would be. And boy was he right.

After 30 years of being one of the elite bookmakers in Las Vegas, Osborne retired on Monday.

He got his start in the Barbary Coast racebook where he moved up and eventually became director of the brand new Gold Coast sportsbook in 1989 and then in 2006 he took over the new South Point book.

Osborne was the sportsbook hub director for Coast Casinos when Coast merged with Boyd Gaming in 2007. After Michael Gaughan split from Boyd shortly after the merger – taking the South Point – Osborne stayed with him.

Bert gained a lot of notoriety in Las Vegas during his stint at the Gold Coast when he did the Monday Night Football lead-in for local ABC affiliate KTNV-TV five minutes before the game started. Everybody in every Las Vegas sportsbook saw him talk about the matchup, giving odds and eventually a selection. It was a pretty cool revolution back then.

I had the opportunity to meet him around 1999 while working for a competing local chain of books around town, and I always loved our discussions – most of which dealt with bookmaking strategy. It was always like school was in session. I would just sit and listen to soak it all in. He didn’t have to share any of his wisdom, but did. That’s the Bert everyone knew – always kind, generous and full of laughter.

Some of that laughter was quieted two years ago when he found out he had bladder cancer, but he battled through it all like a champion. Weekly flights to the UCLA Medical Center for chemotherapy took a lot out of him, but he still showed up for work the following day. He won the battle a few months ago and is now cancer-free.

Work was his life and he loved his job. It’s what he always wanted to do and he did it to a degree of success not many have in the city. Bert rarely took days off – sometimes it would be a short day with just posting baseball numbers during a summer day, booking the first wave of early games and then handing the reins over to his staff.

When vacation time came, you could bet he would be off to see his parents, Bert and Shirley Osborne, back in Fayette City. He would also bring his parents out to stay with him in Las Vegas for long stretches at a time.

For most of his friends and co-workers, they’re sad to see him hang up his pencil, but at the same time they’re also happy for him. Time is precious. Be happy to the fullest. Enjoy time with the parents, travel a bit and just live life.

Osborne was always happiest with the rush of wagers firing in at a rapid pace and making quick decisions on the numbers. I have a feeling he’s going to really be happy knowing there’s so much more outside the work he poured over for the last 30 years.

Be happy my friend, enjoy life, and know you etched your mark in a city that isn’t an easy place to leave an imprint.

A bunch of his friends, colleagues and co-workers will be toasting him this Thursday night (6 p.m.) at Sierra Gold on 215 and Jones. Feel free to stop by and wish Bert all the best for his retirement.

CG Posts NFL Wins

CG Technology sportsbooks posted 2016 NFL season win totals Thursday afternoon with no team higher than 10.5 and a low total of 4.5 on Cleveland. The NFL announced in early January the home-and-away opponents all 32 teams will play. When they play won’t be known until April.

The five teams set at 10.5 wins are Carolina (UN -130), Green Bay (-115), New England (OV-120), Pittsburgh (UN -125) and Seattle (-125). The next highest total was set at 9.5 wins with Arizona (OV -120), Cincinnati (-115) and Denver (UN -120).

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].

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