Castaneda takes over Wynn book

Castaneda takes over Wynn book

November 28, 2018 3:03 AM
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Wynn Resorts is expected to officially announce Doug Castaneda as its new sports book director this week. It’s one of the elite sports book positions in the state.

Castaneda replaces Johnny Avello, who recently left Wynn to work for DraftKings. 

Castaneda got to work on his bookmaking chops at the Stardust in 1995 and learned under the likes of Joe Lupo, Robert Walker, and Bob Scucci and then crafted his own style prior to starting as a supervisor at the Wynn in 2005.

“They couldn’t have picked a better person,” said Scucci, who now runs the Boyd Gaming sports books. “He’s one of the sharpest guys we had at the Stardust and it was quickly apparent from the first moment we hired him, which is why he was promoted quickly.”

He didn’t just book games, he learned how to be an incredible oddsmaker and have his bosses trust his opinions when posting the first lines in town. Beyond those set of skills along with being able to explain the process to CEO’s or GM’s in layman’s terms, it was apparent long ago this is what the kid from Los Angeles was destined for.

“Doug has the perfect temperament for the job,” Scucci said. “He’s very analytical and calculated when he speaks and thinks out all his answers before answering too quickly on questions. He’s also one of the sharpest bookmakers in the city. He knows his stuff.”

He definitely knows his stuff and from a personal level as one of my best friends in Las Vegas. I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier seeing an individual get a promotion in the business. Fifteen years ago I tried to poach him away to the chain of sports books I worked at, but he declined because there was a sense of loyalty to his employer and bosses that was just another shining example of his character.

Tough October

According to statistics from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the state’s sports books saw a significant drop-off in winnings from football in September.

The books had won a record $56.3 million overall and $44.23 million on pro and college football. But October saw the win amount fall to just $11.3 million from football, a drop-off of 74.5 percent from September. Overall, the books won just $29.5 million in October, a drop-off of 47.6 percent from the previous month.

It should be noted that October had one less Sunday than a year ago, which showed up in the overall sports betting results since it pushed a full slate of NFL games into November.

Mixed results

Thanksgiving leftovers are awesome for all of us at home, but in the sports book business, the mere thought of Thanksgiving Day leftover risk from the three NFL games is enough to make any sports book director grab a few Tums and aspirin to calm nausea.

With five straight days of football on the holiday weekend, there’s a daisy chain effect of parlay risk carrying over to the next day forming a tidal wave of liability. The wish for the house is to crush the momentum right out of the gate by winning two of three Thanksgiving games, but in Week 12, bettors came away with wins on all three favorites, capped off by the Saints covering their ninth straight game. 

“Thursday was bad for us,” said William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich. “Friday and Saturday went well, but Sunday ended up being bad. USC and the Broncos saved us from a real good beating.”

Notre Dame remained unbeaten with a 24-17 win at USC Saturday night but failed to cover the 14-point spread thanks to a backdoor TD by USC. The books were also helped Saturday night with the final two games posted -- the bettors’ get-back games -- had the underdogs win outright. First, it was UNLV taking back the Fremont Cannon from Nevada in a 34-29 win as 14-point home ‘dogs, then Hawaii won at San Diego State, 31-30, as 18.5-point underdogs.

The books managed to take some of the steam off the tidal wave with Friday and Saturday wins but still started Sunday in the hole with all the parlay risk. It seemed like everyone had the Saints stamped on a live parlay ticket waiting to cash Sunday.

“We really needed one good outright win. Thanks, Miami,” said Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay of the Dolphins 27-24 loss at Indianapolis. “Our worst games were Tampa Bay, New England, the Giants, and the Chargers and the games that saved us were the Broncos, Browns, and Dolphins. We lost three-fourths of our decisions.”

Kornegay got the Vikings (-4) to help his book out Sunday night in a 24-17 win against the Packers who have now lost all six road games this season. But the Texans’ 34-17 win against the Titans (+4) was popular with the public.

“A small loser,” he said. “A little bit more than peanuts, but not quite a sandwich.”

There were a few books that withstood the poor start Thursday to winning a ham sandwich on the weekend, such as Caesars Palace, CG Technology and Station Casinos.

“The Raiders and Jets were the key games for us this morning and we lost them both,” said Station Casinos sports book director Jason McCormick Sunday night. “The Broncos win bailed us out.”

And how about those Broncos? For the second straight week, they beat a team riding a six-game win streak. They won at the Chargers, 23-22, last week while getting -7 and they beat the Steelers Sunday in Denver, 24-17 while getting +3. The previous two weeks saw slim losses to the streaking Texans and Chiefs. All four stayed Under.