Coast throws down
$1 million challenge

Feb 1, 2005 1:50 PM

By MARK MAYER

Michael Gaughan and Coast Casinos won’t back down from a challenge, so anyone willing to bet $1 million on the Super Bowl side can step to the window.

"Word was Las Vegas books were getting a conservative reputation regarding big bets and that the big money was going offshore," said Don Williams, sports book manager at The Orleans, one of the Coast properties owned by the Gaughan family.

"I’ve been with Michael for 20 years and we never backed down from taking a risk," Williams said. "Bert Osborne has all the Coast properties taking the heavy bets. We put the sign up at the Orleans to show we are and welcome anyone to wager $1 million on the game. Come on down."

As of early in the week, New England remained a seven-point favorite over Philadelphia. The spread figures to stick, which brought back memories of a similar line for SB 26 when Washington was a seven-point favorite over Buffalo after opening at 6½.

"In that game, Michael wanted to allow both sides an opportunity that the other casinos weren’t," Williams said. "The public liked Washington so the Barbary Coast where I was at the time, offered a bet for the Redskins at -6½ and for the Broncos at +7½.

"I don’t think Michael would do that again now because it left us open for the middle where both sides would cash," Williams said. "Fortunately, the Redskins went on to win (37-24) and cover fairly easily. Still, it gave us a lot of national exposure by taking the risk. We dodged the bullet once. I don’t see us doing it again."

Williams, part of the GamingToday Bookies Battle contest, likes Philadelphia to stay within the number.

"There’s no denying New England is a quality team, but I like Philly and its defense," Williams said. "Hey, I’m a Steelers fan."