Following the lead of the Old Blog I think it wise to continue a tradition that I've held for a few years now by offering up my predictions for 2018. Some of these are serious, some not so much. In this crazy world I'll leave it to you to determine which is which.....
1. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) will be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
This will return sports betting to legal status and will all but put an end to the Multi-Billion dollar illegal gaming syndicate and bring gaming into the light. In some states. In others, like Texas where I live, gambling will continue to be illegal and underground so unregulated shops will still exist. In states where there is already a sane policy toward gaming sports books will open in casinos across the land. Online sports betting will continue to grow and, unfortunately, so will the preponderance of commercials on television (or whatever replaces it).
This will, naysayers prophesies of doom notwithstanding, have a negligible effect on Vegas. People will continue to travel there as much as they do now. Because it's Vegas.
2. 2018 will be the year that horse racing corporations finally end their takeout insanity.
They're going to have to. Because the Vig on sports betting is 5%, while the take out on horse betting can run as high as 30% (or higher). Horse racing is a dying industry, but it doesn't have to be. What they don't seem to understand in the corporate offices is that there's no better feeling than holding a ticket on a 30/1 shot whose rushing down the stretch in the lead, or hitting a Pick 4 that pays 50/1 on your initial investment, or watching your 4th choice come in on the back of your Superfecta.
It's up to serious horse players to put a stop to all of this and stop wagering in jurisdictions that continue to approve high-takeout percentages. This is not just a financial issue, it's a moral one as well.
3. Park MGM will open with slot machines, despite rumors to the contrary.
Failing to include these tiny individual profit centers would be a stupid decision by MGM. A company that, unfortunately, seems to lead the way in stupid decisions.
4. Vegas Casinos Will Continue to not understand the so-called "Millennial problem".
Instead, they'll continue to chop the odds and increase the house edge. By doing this they will ensure that people stop gambling as much in their casinos. The BEST way to combat this is to support them when they stop doing these stupid things, CET has bettered the odds at the Cromwell make sure that you spend a portion of your gaming budget there when you're next in town.
Closer to Houston (where I live) I would advise that you stay at Golden Nugget but dedicate most of your gaming budget to L'Auberge, who has slightly better odds/rules across the board.
In Las Vegas, avoid MGM, WynnCore, Venetian/Pallazo and most of the Strip. Even the Golden Nugget downtown. Stay in those places sure, see shows, go to night clubs, but move your gaming elsewhere. If say, the Boulder Highway (which has much better odds) and other off-strip areas show marked increases while the Strip and Fremont (More on them later) continue to decline, even the dolts that run the big gaming corporations will eventually figure it out.
5. 18 Zero Roulette is coming.
It will have a bet minimum of .25 cents, a house advantage of 87% and the tables will be packed. (See prediction #4)
6. College Football will start to discuss a sea-change in realignment.
I don't think it will happen in 2018, but discussions surrounding 4 16 team super conferences will start to be seriously considered next year, just not implemented.
I predict that, eventually, the large schools will also determine that leaving the umbrella of the NCAA is better for business than being regulated in the same manner as Conference USA schools. I've already laid out how this would work, you can find it in the archives of this blog.
7. Lane Kiffin will return to a Power 5 head-coaching job.
I know, he just signed a 10 year extension at FAU, but if he keeps winning there will be a school that takes him in. In fact, were I the AD at Kansas I'd reach out to him and see if there's any interest right now, extension be damned. (The above advice also applies to Rutgers, Oregon State and Illinois.)
Hey, it can't hurt.
8. All things come to an end, and so will the career of Tom Brady.
I think that next year will be the last year for Tom Brady as an NFL quarterback. Don't ask me why, I just do.
9. Your team is going to be great, play honorably, and be a bastion of winning the "right way". Every one else is cheating.
Feel good about yourself. It's sports.
10. I will have a winning year with sports betting. Trust me.
I have no historical evidence as to why you should believe this, but it's true.
Here's hoping that 2018 is good to you and that a vast majority of your tickets are winners.