Not easy doing it by the Book

Feb 13, 2008 12:40 AM

Diamondís Gems by Sid Diamond | Iíve been asked many times in the last few years if I missed still being in the sports book business. My standard answer has always been "no, not really." But I must admit that I had an attack of nostalgia before, during and after this past Super Bowl.

I felt very strongly about the winner as well as the total points. I know "my store" would have done very well and of course that satisfaction I dearly missed.

This is not to say that Iíve always done well on the Big Game, as I remember the Rams being a 14 point favorite a few years ago vs. the lowly Patriots. I loved the "Greatest Show on Turf" and couldnít understand the public betting on the questionable New England club, especially on the money line, which was enormous.

Needless to say, the Rampart got destroyed that year, but I learned a great lesson. Never fall in love with a big favorite, as with the underdog you always have two chances to win and with a favorite you only have one.

I remember my first Super Bowl in Laughlin at the Edgewater Hotel in the early 1980s. Bill Paulos called me in the next day for our result, and trying to add a little humor I told him Iíve got good news and bad news.

He wanted the good first, and I told him we booked $86,000 (we had only been open for a few months at that time), then I had to tell him the bad, which was that we lost $26,000 on the game. I must admit that he took it well, much better than I did.

Speaking about my eight year tenure in Laughlin, it was the most satisfying period of my professional career, and that period I certainly miss more than anything. The working environment created there made me anxious each day to get behind the counter and perform and attempt to succeed for myself as well as my employers.

When I got up to the Excalibur it was an entirely different ball game. The general managerís chair had more behinds in it then you could shake a stick at. After about a year or two with a few of them they had me go corporate and I then had to answer to twice as many bosses, and some had conflicting vested interests.

New responsibilities were designated to me, such as projections, progress reports, financial structuring, numerous meetings and the like. One G.M. said I canít accept your projection as it stands, change it as we need to have more revenue from your department.

With that I respectfully told him to project whatever he needed and Iíll sign it, which he happily did. I never did understand how you could anticipate the revenue of a sports book accurately as each day, month and year had different circumstances attached to them.

This part of the business I didnít miss at all, and it figures to be really brutal now with some corporations having mega-multiple establishments.

In 25 years of operating sports books in Nevada I never had an office bigger than a king sized bed that I shared with other personnel, nor did I ever have a secretary and didnít need one. To this day I believe the managerís office should be out on the line with the writers and be fully accessible to the public at all times.

When pray tell was the last time you saw a manager (they are called "directors" now) out front all day long welcoming the customers to their establishment. Iím sure many still do it, but the majority of them are buried in paperwork in their offices attempting to forecast their revenue for the next monthís department headsí meeting.

Naw, I donít really miss the business, and besides, I enjoy writing about it more, and I even have a secretary now.

If youíve got guts enough to play these selections, I certainly ought to have guts enough to send them out. Iíll give mostly total plays to start, with a few sides mixed in. Itís a short NBA week, thank goodness, due to the All-Star game on Sunday.


Pistons at Hawks Ė under


Spurs at Cavs Ė under

Suns at Warriors Ė over

Maryland at Duke Ė over

George Washington at

St. Louis Ė under

BYU at Colorado State

Ė BYU by a mile


Georgia Tech at Clemson

Ė Clemson by half a mile


Nebraska at Iowa

State Ė under

Villanova at St. Johns

Ė under


again (revenge)


Saint Louis at U-Mass

Ė under


Georgetown at Providence

Ė Georgetown

If by chance these plays donít show a profit, youíll be entitled to have the next weekís 20 star selections for free!