Books ‘celling’ out on patrons

Apr 1, 2003 5:01 AM

In a recent visit to one of my favorite race and sports books, I noticed one of the supervisors trying to explain to a visitor why she could not use her cell phone.

She just could not understand and wanted to know what was wrong. It was insane, in her opinion. This wasn’t even a church! She couldn’t understand the rule since many were allowed to smoke, drink and curse in the sports book. This was an outrage to her and she vowed to get to the bottom of this.

The supervisor told the irate woman that she needed to go to the Gaming Control Board. Prohibiting cell phones in race and sports books is a gaming rule and the casinos are subject to fines if customers are seen making calls. She was just amazed, stating that the Board should be fined for having such a stupid rule.

The supervisor said the law had to be enforced. Well, as a crowd gathered she vowed not to bet at that locale anymore, claiming to be embarrassed and dumbfounded. She mentioned being able to go to Santa Anita with her kids and use her cell phone to call her husband, even while at the betting window without being asked to leave.

After she departed the sports book, I made it a point to ask the supervisor what he thought about the whole situation? He said that the cell phone rule may have meant something years ago, but that it has outlived its usefulness and should be revoked.

He also said there’s as much time spent telling people not to use cell phones as in moving the lines to games. It is especially difficult in times like March Madness when you have such a big influx of people from other states. They just can’t understand the inconvenience both for them and us.

Every supervisor and manager I spoke to agreed that it was time to get rid of this rule and move on to the 21st century. So you big shots out there, don’t you think it’s about time to get off your money-making duffs and get this stupid, idiotic law out of our state! It’s pretty sad when you can get in more trouble using your cell phone than fixing the pick 3 on Breeders’ Cup day.

Vegas beats offshore

One other item on my mind is offshore racebooks. Are Vegas books losing race business to overseas books that offer cash rebates? After talking with several top managers, I would say that if they are it’s minimal. Most people using these type of books are from other states and not from Nevada.

First of all, most race bettors are hardcore and want their dough now when they win, and not tomorrow or next week. Others that use these books for rebate purposes would not be regular Vegas race customers anyway so it doesn’t matter.

There are several explanations why some books are not as crowded as others. Bettors don’t go to the strip unless they have people in town. Customers have moved to the outskirts and favor books close to where they reside. The newer books have upgrades like personal TVs and betting stations.

There are race books in every major hotel and only X amount of horse players, so it’s a real battle to attract them. Contests and giveaways help, but how much can you give away? It’s tough to find a comfortable place to play, but when you do that’s where you end up day after day.

Personally, I feel nobody can compete with out race books. Keep up the good work. If I could just hit a few races, I could improve your handle.