Cup rage: In-game bets

Jun 20, 2006 6:15 AM

Traveling around Europe to get the ultimate World Cup experience has answered several questions I had coming into this journey.

I visited Germany, the Czech Republic, France, England, and Ireland to get a feel for the Cup that can’t be experienced in the States. I had no idea what I was in store for, but glad to have had the pleasure.

Being American, I thought my treatment would be different from other travelers, most from Europe. I was wrong, they love the USA and want to know about the country.

I was able to wager on the matches every place I visited. Of course, I also took my chances on the Races at Wolverhampton, which didn’t turn out quite as well. I must also confess playing underdogs in just about every sporting event, so my conquests in soccer didn’t go well.

In European betting, they are always offering in-game wagering to all events. Las Vegas was once an innovator to the wagering world, but has fallen behind big time in this area. Why hasn’t anyone done this in Vegas? It is allowed by Nevada Gaming, yet no one has stepped forward!

Think about the possibilities. Not only do you get cash flow from parties that were actually late to bet, but you also position yourself as a bookmaker to hedge off a side that might not be favorable to the house. The incremental money that could flow through to a Vegas book is immeasurable. It’s as if a new sports category had been born.

I also noticed was that English fans were not as excited about their team as we would think. They love England, don’t get me wrong, but the soccer fans are more club orientated. They don’t want to root for a Chelsea player like Frank Lampard if they are a Liverpool fan and vice versa.

They still sing their songs like, "There were ten German bombers in the air." However, to be rooting for their club in a Champions League final is more their taste. It is totally understandable to be associated with your city more than on a national level.

David Beckham, who has the greatest playmaking ability on the level of John Stockton, is not liked by many English fans. I don’t get it! One columnist said it would be better if he could come out like American football kickers and just do the corner kicks.

In Germany,. I met wonderful people from all corners of the world. They loved the fact that an American was seeing their team. Most said, "It’s about time!" I agreed and am glad to have been part of it. I wasn’t a face painter, but the cultural experience of meeting folks from all over the world is something I will always remember.

As for the USA’s chances in the World Cup, keep your fingers crossed. They must beat Ghana and hope for an Italy win outright over the Czech Republic. If the U.S. plays like they did against Italy with a purpose, we may be seeing more than three games from the Americans.