John Lindheimer is pretty proud of himself. And he should be.
The director of The Book at Harrah’s Hoosier Park finished tied for second in Gaming Today’s Bookies Battle contest sponsored by Station Casinos behind winner Randy Madayag of The Mirage and represented his property well.
“It was fun,” said Lindheimer, who is in the Bookies Playoff contest. “There’s some very sharp handicappers in the contest and I’m honored to be part of it.”
Lindheimer said it was a wild ride to get into the top 10.
“I got off to a good start, then I treaded water in the middle and that put me in a bad spot,” he said. “But I got hot at the end and it got me within striking distance. With three weeks to go, I thought if I could win 30 games I could be right there. I did that, I actually did that and exceeded my 30-win goal. But Randy threw together two great weeks and he put this thing away.
“I had too many games where the number moved against me. But I’m happy with second. It’s a nice accomplishment. My bosses got a kick out of it. One of them is Chuck Esposito’s brother so he was following myself and Chuck.”
Lindheimer said business has been brisk at his shop since the start of football back in September and it hasn’t slowed down. He expects the Super Bowl to do a big number with the Kansas City-Tampa Bay matchup of quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady
“People had a pent-up hunger to watch and bet on sports, especially football,” he said. “Things have been going great here. We were ready when we reopened, and everyone has followed the (coronavirus) protocols.
“Judging by the numbers I’m seeing, people in Indiana are betting with both hands. And I can tell you this — the American public sees this as a beatable market. If you can find a way to consistently beat the closing number, your probabilities of winning go way up.”
Like every participant in the Bookies Battle, Lindheimer had to deal with COVID-19 issues that impacted players and coaches alike throughout the NFL season. It made a challenging contest even more so.
“You never knew what was going to happen so you did the best you could and hoped your picks didn’t get impacted too much,” he said. “It was definitely unusual.”
Personally, Lindheimer, 57, kept to himself during the pandemic and continues to be careful when he leaves his home.
“I really don’t go out much — just to work, occasionally pop into a store real fast and that’s it,” he said. “We’ve been very careful — me, my wife and my daughter. We’ve managed to stay healthy through this thing and we’re taking it very seriously.”
Part of the success in Indiana has been mobile betting and Lindheimer, who came to Hoosier Park a couple years ago to oversee the track’s sportsbook and has been with Caesars for 2 1/2 years, said that helped sustain business when the retail shops were closed.
“It’s a very competitive mobile market,” he said. “We have 10 apps, including all the heavyweights. People can get a bet down anywhere in Indiana. We have a very loyal customer base that walks into our book here at Hoosier Park and we put out a great entertainment product. They are treated like a guest who is valued, and they enjoy the friendly service.
“I’m really proud we were able to increase our numbers. I can’t tell you how pleased I am with all that has been going on. We’re real lucky to have been able to keep going, real lucky. The leagues have gone through a lot of adversity to play these games so I’m thankful for that.”