Sunday, December 5, 2021

Column: Sports Betting Is Getting More Reliable

LAS VEGAS (AP). Nobody needs official proof, but it came from New Jersey anyway, where people seem to really love to bet on sports. In September, they invested over $ 1 billion in their favorites, for the first time since the state legalized sports betting just over three years ago.

In the city where it all began, bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro doesn’t need official statistics to understand what’s going on in the sports betting universe. One glance at the line at the hot dog stand in the South Point sports booklet during the Las Vegas football weekend tells him everything he needs to know.

“The hot dog stand is America,” said Vaccaro. “It’s amazing what this hot dog stand does. We average 1400 to 1600 hot dogs on Sunday during the NFL season. “

One of these hot dogs – a longtime leader in losses at $ 1.25 each – ended up on the floor on Sunday when the woman who had Dallas to cover the spread jumped up from her seat to celebrate a late bill over New England. who made her a winner. She was not alone, as gamblers across the country were betting on favorites and the books were bringing untold millions in betting.

The bettors won big, causing some sports books to suffer a rare re-defeat during the NFL season.

“There are usually two bad weeks in a season. I’ve never seen two in a row, ”said Vaccaro, who has been playing sports on the Las Vegas Strip for almost half a century.

This is not necessarily a bad thing in the sports betting industry, where the promise of big payouts is what attracts most people. And there were plenty of payouts in September in New Jersey when the start of the NFL season brought in the biggest numbers ever seen. in one state since sports betting became legal in parts of the country.

There are also quite a few losses, which allowed New Jersey casinos to get $ 82 million out of that billion dollars, which is just over 8 percent.

The margins in sports betting are small, but the profit potential is great. This is why the biggest players in the sportsbook industry are showing it on the air and on the Internet, vying for valuable market share in more than two dozen states where sports betting is legal.

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Another state joined the party last month when Arizona began clearing bets, just in time for fans to join the victory for the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.

Sports betting is expanding faster than anyone imagined when the Supreme Court opened floodgates and allowed states to legalize what had long been illegal underhanded activity in most parts of the country. The radio waves are filled with advertisements promoting various betting apps, and it is difficult to watch any game without reminding the announcer that there are different betting angles in the game.

Where previously players had to place their bets in the back room of the corner pharmacy or behind the stands while playing, they can now do so in seconds by pressing a few buttons on their phones. The simplicity of online betting contributes significantly to the overall growth: nine out of every $ 10 bets in New Jersey in September were placed online.

Easy access to action will inevitably raise some issues that betting proponents are reluctant to discuss. There will be players who put their savings or take next month’s rent money in pursuit of what they believe will undoubtedly be the families that will inevitably suffer. To that end, the NFL said Wednesday it will conduct a responsible betting campaign in the media, funded by a $ 6.2 million grant to the National Gambling Council.

So far, however, sports betting hasn’t ruined the sport like the NFL and other leagues have warned everyone over the years. All major sports leagues have embraced sports betting in an effort to share the profits from the rapidly expanding industry, and betting halls are starting to appear in arenas and stadiums across the country.

One thing remains the same even in the changing world of betting. Bookmakers will benefit in the long run, even if players place their bets on several Sundays of the football season.

This means more tickets will be issued at South Point and of course more hot dogs will be sold.

“Let’s see what happens this weekend,” said Vaccaro. “I know one thing: we will be open. I will continue to book tickets and sell hot dogs. ”

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Tim Dahlberg is a National Sports Columnist for the Associated Press. Email him at [email protected] or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg

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