M Resort takes bets to Brave New Era

Sep 8, 2009 5:06 PM
by Micah Roberts |

Have you ever been in a pub chatting with the guys while a game’s going on and someone makes an outlandish claim like, "I’ll bet you" this team comes back from a 14-point deficit and wins?

We’ve all done it, but for the most part there are no takers, other than someone willing to give you 2-to-1 beers as the odds on the wager. Not many people actually want to be the bookmaker when real cash might have to be paid out with large odds attached to it.

That all changed last March when the M Resort, Spa & Casino opened their sports book and unveiled the latest in sports gaming technology called In-Running Wagering. The product was developed and operated by M partner Cantor Gaming and allows for those who have a hunch a team isn’t dead in a game to actually be able to lay some cash down while the game is going.

"We wanted to create something unique and different for the Las Vegas wagering community," said Director of Race and Sports Lou D’Amico. "In this format, you get to play the game within the game and be the coach."

Unique, it definitely is. The is the first major advancement in the Nevada sports wagering world since 2001, when Station Casinos unveiled their closed loop intra-net system for betting at home.

Prior to that, it was Computer Bookmaking Systems that actually created the bet terminal which took away the pens from ticket writers, and allowed the bookmakers to actually make a calculated guess of their risk day to day.

You remember those days, right … a three-ply ticket, time-stamped with the wager and hand written? Yes, the good old days.

The reality is Nevada sports books are near the bottom of overall casino revenue. It doesn’t make a lot of business sense to invest millions in developing new technology and take away from an already light bottom line, or lease a system that’s already in use around the world for egregious monthly fees.

Either way, technology is a tough sell to the big bosses, especially in Las Vegas’ current age of corporations, which would rather please the shareholders and analysts with a consistent flow of revenue than sell them an idea of technological advancement for a minor part of their operation.

That’s where Cantor Gaming comes into play. The subsidiary of world-wide financial leader Cantor-Fitzgerald has been involved in upgrading several areas of casino technology in Nevada with products that have already been in use and proven successful in Europe.

Cantor’s involvement with the In-Running Wagering goes back to England, where they helped Ladbrokes with a great system for betting soccer matches as they were playing. In most instances, it generated more action for an entire match, while the game was being played.

The system used is complex, moving the lines as the game moves with little assistance needed from a human. The initial line is set and input by Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which Cantor bought last year, and from there it uses a huge data-base of team tendencies, past trends, money-line conversion charts and just about anything relevant to time vs. probability to quickly spin a line for players to bet into.

"At any point in the game, you can bet the adjusted point spread, money line or total," D’Amico said. "We’re also going to be adding some other things involving propositions."

Those prop bets, just in time for the football season, include will a drive result in a first down, punt, field goal, touchdown or turnover, for example.

The M has In-Running Wagering terminals located in the sports book’s regular and VIP seating, but the greatest advancement of all is Cantor’s hand-held betting device that lets you walk around and bet without having to be locked down in a seat.

In-Running Wagering has been long overdue in Nevada, but unfortunately a little phrase in Nevada’s Gaming Control Board’s Minimum Internals Control Standards prevented books from treating that type of wagering like existing half-time wagering, which is essentially in game wagering.

But once Cantor Gaming introduced their new system and got approval from the GCB, the sky was the limit and M Resort is the beneficiary.

D’Amico got their first taste of college football for the book overall and In-Running Wagering over the weekend, and now they get their first look at pro football this Thursday and Sunday.

Better get there early to ensure you get a terminal or hand-held device, because pro football is going to be very popular with the bettors.

And why not? Imagine being able to hedge your bet as the fourth quarter starts, kind of like surrendering in blackjack. Or how about pressing your initial investment when your team is only down by a field goal. There will even be instances when you can middle your bets when you get a large enough margin.

There are lots of possibilities with this technology for the bettors.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Micah Roberts