'Raining champs' -- books survive Phils and 3-day Game 5

Nov 4, 2008 5:10 PM

by Mark Mayer |

The World Series is over, but the aftershock from a three-day Game 5 could revise thinking in Nevada books on how payouts should be made over suspended games.

Could, but likely won’t.

"If it’s not broke, don’t fix it," said Ed Salmons, Hilton race and sports manager. "People who bet baseball understand the rules. A lot of bettors would just assume have their tickets graded rather than wait who knows how long before a game is decided. I think the long-standing house rule we use for postponements makes sense and don’t see the need to rewrite it."

MGM MIRAGE properties went a different route for the playoffs.

"Had this been a regular season game, we would have paid out winning tickets for Philadelphia," said Mark Tutino, race and sports book supervisor at MGM MIRAGE, whose properties decided that for postseason play winning tickets would be paid out at the completion of the game – which happened to be two days later.

Heavy rain forced postponement of last Monday’s Game 5 after Tampa Bay scored a run in the top of the sixth inning to force a 2-2 tie. Most Nevada books follow the rule that if a game is stopped past 4½ innings, the score reverts back to the last full inning of play.

In this case, Philadelphia led 2-1 and winning tickets were paid out on the Phils. That meant Tampa Bay tickets lost and over/under totals were refunded.

"We changed the rule for postseason play a couple of years ago, but it never came up until now," said Jay Rood, head of the race and sports book operations at MGM MIRAGE. "Our rule is made known to bettors and they mostly received it well. But this is only for postseason. We don’t want a situation where a postponed game during the regular season could drag on for months without a result."

Anyone with a winning Phillies ticket unable to stay in Las Vegas to see the final result will have at least 120 days to contact MGM for the cash payout. Had this been let’s say a Red Sox-Yankees World Series, there would have been a lot more action.

"Wagering on the Series was down this year, maybe a 5 or 6 on a scale of 10," Rood said. "Bets were about 60 to 70 percent for Philadelphia."

Salmons said that the Hilton book came away winners during the Series except for Game 2, won by the Rays at Tropicana Field.

"We made it up a bit by winning Game 5 twice," Salmons said.