Fantasy sports betting becoming real

Aug 9, 2005 6:25 AM

The next generation of bettors could well have fantasy props on their plate alongside the standard sides and totals of sports events.

"We thought it was the coming trend 15 years ago at Caesars Palace," said Palms race and sports manager Rich Baccellieri, whose book has been listing four baseball props daily for just over a month based on runs scored. "Mostly we deal with a 20-cent line on each one and people are betting them."

For example, last Sunday there was a prop on whether the Yankees scored more runs than the Mets. The Yanks produced X against Toronto, while the Mets came up with X against the Cubs.

"One matchup that provides the customer with two games to pay attention to," Baccellieri said. "You can expect to see the same policy in football with head to head points involving teams playing in different games."

The huge phenomenon around the country that is fantasy baseball and football would seem the perfect marriage with wagering, but the jury among gaming insiders is still out.

"I’ve seen it used over the years at some places with mixed results," Baccellieri said. "So far the interest at Palms has been moderate, which is better than nothing. Down the road, personally I would like to see in-game proposition betting. Say in baseball betting the second inning run total while the first inning was going on. In-game props would be a great tool for making wagers.

The offshore books have been more adventurous, offering individual performance prop wagers to attract customers. For instance, last Sunday you could have bet Dodgers 2B Jeff Kent against Pittsburgh OF Jason Bay. Bay was a —130 to produce more points in terms of total bases than Kent.

The transition could easily be made to football, where leagues all over the country conduct fantasy drafts based on player performance. Betting would seem to be a natural here, especially with the NFL’s incredible popularity.

"I’ve just been at the sports book here for just over four months," Baccellieri said. "It would take a lot of work on our part to keep up with all the individual stats in order to do a fantasy league type betting. But, it has merit."