Go East Young Bookie!

Jul 3, 2018 3:00 AM

Back in the 1800’s Horace Greely was credited with the popular phrase “Go West Young Man, Go West” when offering advice about going west to seek fortune and opportunity. If Horace Greeley were alive today and were offering advice to those interested in the business of sports wagering, I suspect, and would bet serious dollars, he would modify his famous quote and post to a Twitter account: “Go East Young Bookie, Go East!”

As jurisdictions on the east coast of the United States embrace and welcome full on sports wagering it will only be a function of time before the national and international gaming operators wake up and realize, no different than the stock market, they will need their line makers and risk managers for their sportsbook operations to be based on the east coast or else start making those folks get into their Las Vegas offices by 5 a.m.

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Consider this simple reality: there are nearly 60 million people and the highest concentration of professional sports in the north east United States, and those bettors are not likely to want to wait until 11 a.m. or noon on the east coast to start getting their bets down.

It is inevitable. To accommodate the soon to be bustling business demands, betting lines originating out of the UK and Las Vegas will likely migrate to New Jersey or New York and become the base to set the lines and manage the betting exposure throughout the country.

One of the real questions national and international gaming operators will need to ask themselves as legal sports wagering is embraced in new jurisdictions is how they will utilize online and mobile sports wagering over using the sportsbooks as a lure to get people into their respective casinos.

As a traditional gaming guy, I would prefer the action be at a live book. However, given the standards and expectations of the modern sports bettor, the reality is mobile and online gaming will dominate the next round of serious sports wagering expansion. And casinos will see action from their mobile and online sports betting customers in their casinos when sports bettors come in to use their comp credits.

Casinos for the sports bettors will turn into the modern-day version of a Blue Stamp redemption center. Not necessarily a bad thing, just the obvious evolution of the role of a sportsbook in a traditional casino and a change in how the casino formulae work.

To be sure, Las Vegas will start out as the home base and source for most line setting and companywide risk management for the multi-jurisdictional sportsbook operators, but as volumes of wagers and dominance of sports betting action shift to the north east area of the United States, there is a certain inevitability that sportsbook decision hubs, currently based in Las Vegas, will migrate east.

Though it has been a long-held belief of mine that it was inevitable full on unrestricted sports wagering would ultimately find its way into other states of the union, I will be sad to see another area that made Las Vegas unique leave home. But I look forward to seeing what new creative efforts will evolve to keep sports wagering in Nevada unique and special.