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Best of Gary Trask
'In-game' betting expected to make Super Sunday even bigger3 February 2010
Long gone are the days when a betting window at your local sportsbook shuts down for a game right after kickoff.
The proliferation of "in-game" betting at Las Vegas sportsbooks is gaining momentum and will likely add to a Super Bowl handle this Sunday that some are predicting will be the highest in the 44-year history of the game.
"It's going to be enormous," predicts Mike Colbert, the Director of Race and Sports at M Resort in Las Vegas where "in-game" betting was taken to a new level this year after Cantor Gaming began distributing hand-held betting devices . Cantor Gaming also administers the devices at the Venetian and Palazzo.
"We're expecting the highest turnout for in-running betting that we've ever had. It's been getting more popular with every week and with the Super Bowl I would expect us to be using every device we have on hand by the time kickoff comes around."
The mobile gaming systems allow patrons to wager on virtually every single play of the game they are watching. In addition to being able to bet on an adjusted money line, point spread and total throughout the game, wagers such as "Will this play result in a first down," and "Will the kicker make this field goal," are also offered on virtually every play.
Regular game wagers are also accepted on the device and last month Cantor began offering a "pocketcasino" feature on the devices that allows bettors to play casino games while roaming around the high-limit slot salon, Grazie Gold Lounge, race & sports book and other designated public areas including bars, lounges and restaurants at The Venetian and The Palazzo.
In order to get started you must deposit money up front and sign the paperwork saying that you will be responsible for the device. It is pretty simple to use the device, but the tricky part is trying to keep up with the action. If you want to bet a certain play, you have to act faster than the offensive coordinator and quarterback on the field. You must click on what you're betting, how much the wager will be for (the minimum is $10 and the maximum is $1,000) and then confirm the bet in typically less than 20 seconds or so.
I found out just how challenging it can be during a visit to Lagasse's Stadium at the Palazzo in November. I was watching the Colts against the Texans and by the time I confirmed my initial "in-running" bet on Indianapolis "not to get a first down on this drive" and looked up at the big screen TV in front of me, Peyton Manning was completing a 30-yard slant to his tight end Dallas Clark.
It was the quickest $25 I had ever lost.
"Yeah, things happen pretty fast," admits Lagasse's Stadium General Manager Mark Zakin. "But we have people all around that can help you if you're having problems and once you get the hang of it, it becomes a lot easier.'
Colbert added that the most popular games for the "in-game" betting devices have been the Monday, Thursday and Sunday night games, as well as the playoffs.
"The stand-alone games are most popular because that's the only game going on so it's easier to pay attention," he says. "That's why we're expecting the Super Bowl to be a huge draw."
While the Cantor outlets are the only ones with mobile devices, "in-game" betting will also be featured on Super Sunday at all 13 of the Lucky's Sportsbooks in Nevada. Play-by-play wagering is not available, but at each commercial break a new point spread and over/under is posted on the game and bettors can go to the window and place their wager.
"We did it for the first time for the Conference Championship games and the reaction was great," said Jimmy Vaccaro, Lucky's Director of Sports Operations and Public Relations. "We didn't get a lot of big money bets, but the volume was really good considering we didn't really advertise that we would be offering it."
The AFC Championship Game was a perfect example of how dramatically an "in-game" point spread on a game can waver. The Jets began the game as an 8-point underdog to the Colts, but after taking a first-half 17-6 lead, Vaccaro had the Jets as a four-point favorite. Of course, the Colts came back to score 24 unanswered points and win the game, 30-17.
"It made the game that much more interesting for everyone in the sportsbook, including me," Vaccaro said with a laugh.
Vaccaro said that he is always glad to offer something to his customers if it's something they want.
"You want to keep the customers happy and keep'em coming back," he said. "As long as we can make a line each time that's fair to both sides, we'll keep doing it. It works. It gets people out of their seats and it keeps them interested from start to finish."
While this form of betting is new at some places, John Avello has been offering "in-game" betting for years. The Director of Race and Sports at Wynn Las Vegas said he remembers his days at Bally's in the mid-1990s when he set up a row of 30 computers for his customers to bet an adjusted line from start to finish.
"I guess we were ahead of our time," he said with a laugh. "What [Cantor] is doing now is a lot more elaborate. It's quicker and easier, but it's the same idea."
Avello has offered "in-game" betting at the Wynn for big events like the NFL Playoffs and the Final Four, but is undecided if the Wynn will offer it this Sunday.
"It can be a tough thing to pull off because we're going to have outlets all over the place and crowd control can become a concern when people are rushing up to the window at every break in the action," he explained. "At the very worst we'll offer a new line after every quarter, but the logistics of doing something like that on a day as big as Super Bowl Sunday can be real difficult."
As a bookmaker, Avello said he likes the challenge of "in-game" betting.
"You have to be on your game," he said. "The games and the numbers move and change pretty quickly. If you make a mistake, people will pounce on it."
Avello, a 23-year veteran of the industry, feels that his logistical problem will likely be solved in the very near future as he predicts betting from cell phones will eventually become commonplace in Nevada.
"There a lot of safeguards that will have to be put in place, but eventually it has to happen," Avello said. "It only makes sense. When you have something that the customers want, you hope to make it easy and accessible for them. That's the name of the game."
'In-game' betting expected to make Super Sunday even bigger is republished from iGamingSuppliers.com.
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