NFL is bad beat
for sports bettors!

Nov 18, 2003 8:11 AM

BETTORS LOSING BIG TO BOOKS! More than half the football season is nearly behind us, but bookies don’t ever want the season to end!

"The sports books are raking it in," says a pipe in a Strip casino. "Players can’t seem to find any winners, especially in the NFL."

How can that be?

"To give you an idea how hard it is to pick a winner, two weeks ago the Gold Sheet listed its NFL plays, and lost 10 of its first 10 picks!" said our pipe. "That’s never happened before!"

Gaming Control Board statistics seem to support that notion. For the month of September, Nevada sports books held an astounding 16 percent of all football wagers.

Ordinarily, bookies retain about 5-6 percent of the handle for football wagers.

It got so bad that the amount bet seemed to decline over the course of the month.

"Would you keep betting if you couldn’t win?" asked one unhappy bettor.

I guess not.


A SHORT TERM WINNER? "Don’t expect the Bangor (Maine) anti-gambling group to take their defeat last week and walk away and hide," reported our Northeast pipe.

"The vote for slots, which was strongly supported by Shawn Scott of Las Vegas, won’t be challenged but the gambling opponents think they have found another way to get around the issue," he said.

In a November 4 referendum, the voters of Bangor approved putting about 1,500 video lottery machines at Bangor Raceway, a harness racing facility that is 51% owned by the city. The other 49% is owned by Scott’s Capital Seven company. Last April, the voters approved the racino but needed a statewide vote to go forward.

The anti-gamers will have a strong argument to overcome, says the pipe. "Under current estimates, the 1,500 slot machines will produce about $70 million a year in revenue for the city. That’s a strong argument for the machine supporters," he said.


ONLINERS ARE GOING OFF! "When is Comdex coming to town," asked the rosebud last week.

Almost without fanfare, Comdex has arrived and is operating at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It’s not like it used to be. Estimates for this year call for some 50,000 attendees. Just a few years ago, the gathering numbered anywhere from 150,000 to 200,000 attendees.

But, that was before the Internet bubble burst.

Still, there are believers that feel there will be a resurgence in Internet activity. If that materializes maybe Las Vegas will again see those huge numbers among Comdex attendees.


WHEN THINGS GO BAD! Sometimes Lady Luck turns her back on the house. Case in point is Wembley PLC, a publicly traded English company that owns several dog tracks in the U.S. For several years prior to 2003, Wembley had a cash cow in Lincoln Greyhound Track in Lincoln, R.I.

And, its four dog tracks in Colorado were managing, despite strong opposition from casinos. But if the Colorado tracks could get approval for video lottery machines, they also would be cash cows like their Rhode Island cousin.

So the pitch was made through a referendum, and Wembley backed the measure with more than $7 million.

Then, the bottom fell out when indictments were issued against two major Lincoln officials for allegedly conspiring to bribe a major political figure.

That was all the voters of Colorado needed. They rejected the VLTs by a 2-1 margin.