CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Buzz Daly

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Sportsbook Scene Column by Buzz Daly

25 August 2003

If anyone has doubts about the dynamic nature of the sports-betting industry, they should have been in Las Vegas during the last week, as a series of events were held which involved all sectors: bettors, bookmakers, vendors and sports services.

We'll try to encapsulate them and give the flavor of each one, but without a lot of detail, as we are leaving shortly to go out of town for a few days.

Starting in reverse chronology, the Sports Betting Festival, a handicapping seminar and networking opportunity was held at Bally's, August 22-23. It got off to a dubious start with the Friday night reception held in the sportsbook lounge, which was open to the public. Participants had little direction, and since many attendees did not know each other by sight, it was a hit-and-miss affair.

But the following day, the agenda got back on track when the free Saturday morning workshop sessions got underway. A variety of useful topics were covered, among them: Ted Sevransky's dissertation on 21st Century Handicapping, Andy Iskoe's advice on NFL Totals, Marc Lawrence Jr.'s talk on The Advantage of eCapper, Tony George's money management tips, Ed Myer's coverage of NFL Teasers, Marco D'Angelo's rundown of 10 Common Gambling Mistakes, and George Henry's Handicapping by the Numbers.

The afternoon seminar was a paid-for event and featured Marc Lawrence discussing trends and angles and how to use them. Rob Gillespie covered the topic "different books, different looks," and Lawrence "The Prez" Prezman expounded on where sports services should be focusing their efforts.

Prezman, whose company, Who2beton.com organized the event, did a credible job cobbling together an all-star program and arranging the daunting logistics. There were a few glitches, such as lack of specific directions for how and where to catch the shuttle busses to the Saturday night party at Jaguars, a Vegas strip club, and some other communications mishaps.

Afterwards, we spoke with Prezman, who apologized for the shortcomings in organization, but expressed optimism that feedback on the event's substance was generally positive. "I take full responsibility for the lack of specific information being disseminated to attendees," he told us, "but the people who paid for their tickets got their money's worth," he stated. "And the morning workshops got a terrific response."

He noted that this first annual affair was a "great learning experience, and I am looking forward to organizing a bigger and better second annual Sports Betting Festival next year. It is already in the planning stage, with several sharp industry people assuming responsibility for its creation."

Prezman credited Marc Lawrence for being the catalyst that allowed this event to happen, and be a success. "Without Marc's cooperation, we would never have had the credibility to pull of an affair that featured so many prominent names in our industry," said Prezman.

For more details and photos of the event, check out coverage at Gambling911.com.

As a prelude to the weekend's activities, one of the offshore industry's leading sportsbooks sponsored a gala Thursday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The by-invitation-only party lived up to its billing as many top names mingled, networked, drank from an open bar, and ate a lavish array of appetizers, finger foods and entrees against a backdrop of lively music and acrobats from Cirque du Soleil, who performed at intervals.

The highlight was the BoDog Girls, a scintillating combination of good looks, good skills, and great personalities who performed a variety of chores, from checking in the guests to bartending. Like everyone else at the party, we were seduced into getting a BoDog pawprint tattooed on our body by the BoDog girls. Of course, the testosterone-drenched leaders of the sportsbook – Cole, Rob and Jason – were circulating and were very attentive hosts.

Sting was there, gathering good stuff for his newsy website, and helped record the event for posterity by snapping some candid photos.

We're not going to run down who else was there, because we would inadvertently leave off a name or two and offend some people. Suffice it to say, if an explosion destroyed the building where the party was being held, a lot of touts would have either sprouted wings, or been spending eternity in a hot place where there is no air conditioning.

All the aforementioned social events were preceded by a first-rate party hosted by The Prescription at the Golden Nugget on August 16. It was an opportunity for the site's posters to celebrate together in person, since many had never met their online compadres.

Ken Weitzner, or the Shrink as he is more popularly known, was a gracious and generous host as cash prizes were awarded in ticket drawings and t-shirts were distributed.

Some notables showed up, including several prominent offshore bookmakers, and if all the schmoozing that was going is any indication of a successful event, this one hit the top of the party meter.

The Shrink has been involved in this industry virtually from the get-go, when the Internet was first being used by bettors as an information tool. Yes, he still is happy to accommodate controversy at his popular website, but after talking with him, it is evident that he is also evolving into a sort of elder statesman for sports betting. He said he tries to promote a positive approach, but noted he likes to maintain an edge to what he does, as well.

Offshore Update: We were contacted by several leading members of the offshore community, who wanted us to help get out their news.

* Top Quality BM Available. One of the industry's most qualified bookmakers just left his job and is available for a new opportunity. He has over 30 years' experience in dealing with both wiseguys and recreational players, and is a dedicated houseman who puts in 12-14 hour days routinely.

"A book must separate wiseguys from squares," he told us. "You don't want them as partners. So, if you book them, get all of them, including the followers. No point moving a number if you don't get buyback."

He knows how to run a shop and has proved it with an eye-popping list of credentials, and references from the most respected names doing business. The reason he left his last position was due to a difference of direction with the shop's new owners. They hated to lose him, and are among his references.

He is experienced in more than moving numbers, and understands how to recruit players and how to treat them, so they feel loyalty to his book. He is not a bargain basement kind of guy, but is reasonable and willing to negotiate for a new position with a merit-and performance-based compensation package.

This may seem gratuitous, but it should be noted that this B.M. has no bad habits to detract from his performance which might cause him to miss work.

He does not wish to be identified over the Internet, but will be happy to personally respond to any feelers from interested parties who are seeking a bookmaker who is willing to assume total on-the-job responsibility.

Anyone who wants to reach him can send us an email at buzzdaly@aol.com, and we'll forward it to him.

* Angry sportsbook owner. from Costa Rica-based Rio Sports (www.betrio.co.cr) called to say his shop was getting unjustifiably bashed by a site that claims to be a watchdog. He said a principal in a leading website has been demanding to know the identities of the owners of Rio.

Dave noted that this is utterly irrelevant, since Americans who control sportsbooks do not put their names on any ownership papers. The position of agencies like the Department of Justice and the FBI, which is to pursue any U.S. citizen who owns a book, is an incentive to keep such material confidential, he insisted.

"We've paid our dues, we've never stiffed anyone and right now there is no group of customers claiming that we slow pay or don't pay. It is pretty well known that we are among the first to help out other books that get into trouble" he stressed. "More to the point, our reputation is solid among those who would know if we were unstable.

"I'm talking about all the leading books out there who routinely handle major book transfers. We can do business with any book that matters, and that is very important to our clientele."

The website he mentioned is reputable, but is feisty in maintaining its independent voice. Ideally, this issue can be resolved amicably.

Dave suspects that part of the reason for the attack is the perceived friendship he is supposed to have with The Prescription. He denies that there is any special relationship between his shop and The Prescription and suggested if someone has a gripe with Ken, that criticizing Rio is not the way to settle the dispute.

* Fresh Start. We also heard from Roberto at Curacao-based Royal Sports (www.betroyal.com) who wanted to let bettors know that the shop has been reorganized, fresh funding is in place and a new website is open for business.

He said the recent departures of many long-standing Royal employees has received a lot of publicity and might give out the wrong impression. "We have hired new staff and threw out $3.6 million in software that wasn't performing to our standards," he stated.

"ASI software is now being used, and a new, much improved website has been installed. A 10-cent line in baseball is still offered, with overnight lines available the day before games are played. We are ready for a busy, high volume football season," he added.

Royal's approach to bookmaking reflects the new ownership, said Roberto. "We are taking action from the whole spectrum of players, including the wiseguys. We've given them limits because that is simply being prudent," he added.

Roberto wanted customers to know that many staffers have been retained who have been with Royal for along time. "We have a strong mix of older employees and some fresh new blood."

Okay, that clears up a lot of accumulated items. Remember, Sportsbook Scene is not a watchdog or consumer advocate. We try to pass along news of interest to bettors.

Correction. In our last column we inadvertently and incorrectly cited Panama as a G-7 nation. What we intended to say was that Panama is trying to grow into a position resembling the major industrialized nations, known as G-7.

Please send comments, questions, etc. to buzzdaly@aol.com.

Buzz Daly

In a previous life, Buzz Daly was a mainstream journalist and public relations account supervisor in New York and Los Angeles. Despite a number of challenging positions, Buzz was unfulfilled and his muse lay dormant.

In 1994, he created Players' Guide to Sports Books, and since then has been immersed in the world of legal sports wagering, where he has established himself as a reliable and credible authority.

Buzz covers the industry through a syndicated Internet column titled Sportsbook Scene, the weekly sports betting tabloid Players' Choice, the buzzdaly.com website and several handicapping radio and Internet shows with such notables as Jimmy Vaccaro and Kelso Sturgeon.

His objective is to provide the sports wagering public with useful, relevant information as well as an occasional whimsical observation as seen through his unique and personal prism.

Buzz Daly Websites:

www.buzzdaly.com
Buzz Daly
In a previous life, Buzz Daly was a mainstream journalist and public relations account supervisor in New York and Los Angeles. Despite a number of challenging positions, Buzz was unfulfilled and his muse lay dormant.

In 1994, he created Players' Guide to Sports Books, and since then has been immersed in the world of legal sports wagering, where he has established himself as a reliable and credible authority.

Buzz covers the industry through a syndicated Internet column titled Sportsbook Scene, the weekly sports betting tabloid Players' Choice, the buzzdaly.com website and several handicapping radio and Internet shows with such notables as Jimmy Vaccaro and Kelso Sturgeon.

His objective is to provide the sports wagering public with useful, relevant information as well as an occasional whimsical observation as seen through his unique and personal prism.

Buzz Daly Websites:

www.buzzdaly.com