Monday, January 16, 2017

GambleBlog: Books take a beating, cry some crocodile tears.

Listening to Sportsbook-friendly sites such as ESPN Chalk one would think the Books are on the edge of financial ruin....

Bettors jump to underdogs as Sports books suffer huge losses. David Purdum*, ESPN Chalk.

"Seemed like a blue-collar betting day with public parlaying, teasing and pounding money lines on Packers and Steelers," said Bill Sattler, the director of specialty games for Caesars Entertainment. "We salvaged the under in [the] late game, but another solid week for the public."
Rodgers led the Packers on a last-second drive to set up Mason Crosby's winning field goal in Sunday's 34-31 victory over the Cowboys.
The Steelers topped it off. MGM took twice as much money on Pittsburgh plus the points as it took on Kansas City, but the more severe damage was done by parlays.
"It's just colossal," Jay Rood, vice president of MGM race and sports, said of his shop's loss.
"Awful," said Westgate SuperBook assistant manager Ed Salmons of the weekend's results. "Can't be worse."

Don't believe it.

In fact, in the long run, this couldn't be better for the Books.  Winning weekends for the public, especially big ones, make amateurs feel like pros, they lead to an increase in betting traffic and, inevitably, more revenue long-term.  If the public took a beating every week, and only the sharps won, then sports betting would crater quicker than the rest of casino revenue.

There's a reason people aren't playing as much slots, blackjack and other table games, and it's not because Millennials "don't like to gamble".  It's because casino operators got way, way too greedy and ginned the odds.  People like to play in an environment where they at least feel they have a chance. Tighter slot odds, the horrific move to 6/5 Blackjack and reduced pay tables on other games only serve to drive gaming revenue away from the big casinos on the Strip.

It's in this same vein that consistently losing will drive away all but the addicted gambler, and those people (sadly) won't have money to risk for much longer anyway.

The bottom line is that casinos understand math, players understand luck (and often mistake it for skill).  You see it all the time.  It's the same misunderstanding of odds and probability that lead people to pay outrageous sums to touts for picks of dubious provenance.   Everyone goes on short runs, especially in sports gaming.  I could tell you that I'm 7-4 in College basketball for the last week but my Million Star plays are 3-0.  It's meaningless.

What is meaningful is that I'm somewhere around 54% right now season long, and that (after factoring in the bowls) I ended last college football season at right around 50%, despite my rather brutal regular season start.

None of this should matter to you however because of this reason:

I'm an oil and gas accountant, living in Houston where sports betting isn't allowed. I keep saying this, but a lot of the picks that I like aren't things I'm betting on because of two reasons: 1. I'm not currently in Vegas and 2. Given the nature of my job, and the fact that I post under my real name, there are reasons for me to avoid the online sports betting sites. If I were always as hot as I am right now I'd be living in Vegas.

But, I'm not.  And neither are most bettors. Everyone needs a run and the casinos understand this.

This is why they're crying crocodile tears on the outside but are secretly dancing a jig internally.  Even IF this public-money hot streak continues through the Super Bowl, they're going to rake it in on most weeks next year.

It's called churn.

And they understand it better than almost anyone else.

*I'm a huge fan of the work of David Pardum, so please do not take this to mean he's written a bad piece.  He's a good gaming reporter.

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