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When Gambling Hot Spots Reopen Casinos, How Will Things Look Different?

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It’s been a hellish two months for the land-based gaming industry following wide-spread casino closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Though online casinos seem to be picking up some of the slack, people are out of work, state and local economies are holding on by their fingertips, and people are left wondering when and if things will ever return to normal.

In states like Nevada, where the gambling and entertainment industry are pillars of economic security and held together by travel, the situation is a bit more complex. The numbers speak for themselves: 219 casinos closed and over 206,000 gaming workers jobless.

Other areas of the US, where the gambling industry also provides necessary capital needed to fund state budgets, are also searching for answers. Lawmakers, health officials, and gaming executives are scrambling to figure out how and when doors can reopen safely.

As consumers of entertainment, and those employed by it, we must trust that our questions will be answered. When will Vegas casino doors open? Will all casinos around the country have similar guidelines? These types of specifics are still being sorted out across the US but a picture is beginning to take shape as to when and how things might look.

When will Las Vegas casinos reopen?

Many properties including some on the Las Vegas strip are considering Memorial Day as a (very) tentative reopening date. MGM Resorts International said it plans to reopen in early June. However, nothing is set in stone, given the approval process.

First, each property must create a plan to ensure safety for customers and employees. Casinos must implement new guidelines adopted by the Nevada Gaming Commission into their plans, which among them include half the occupancy and frequent cleaning of surfaces and gaming devices.

Joe Bertolone, executive director of the UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation, expect Las Vegas to open at a slower pace than other gaming markets.

“Clearly, the association with air travel in Las Vegas and other integrated resort markets like Singapore and Macau that have transportation as a key component to their gaming offerings, they are just going to open more slowly than other markets,” Bertolone said in an interview.

Caesars Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Tony Rodio echoed this statement during the companies quarterly earnings call.

“I think we’re all in agreement that we think regional markets are going to bounce back quicker because of the lack of needing to fly,” Rodio said. “When the governor in Las Vegas announced the move toward Phase 1 and the Raiders schedule came out, we actually had a pretty significant bump in reservations booked for the fourth quarter of this year.”

Right now there is no exact date or time when Las Vegas casinos will reopen.

Nevada operating and safety protocols

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) released both operating guidelines and health and safety policies that casino properties must follow prior to reopening. The policy memorandum specifically states a “plan must be submitted at least seven days before reopening occurs or as soon as reasonably possible thereafter.”

A few of the operational policies include:

  • A schedule for the replenishment of funds, including cash, chips, and tokens in all areas of casino accountability.
  • Licensees must take measures to pay receipts and wagers that may have expired during temporary closures.
  • Club venues will be allowed to reopen in compliance with any directive issued by the Governor’s office.
  • Licensees must comply with all prescribed local, state, and federal COVID-19 health requirements.

A complete list of all operating guidelines can be viewed here.

NV Governor Steve Sisolak issued policies and procedures to notify gaming operators of new operational requirements to “mitigate and reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all employees, patrons, and other guests.” According to the release, these constitute the “minimum” requirements that should be followed and does not stop operators from implementing their own additional requirements.

Here are a few, but not all, of the new safety and health policies:

  • Occupancy will be limited to no more than 50% in each gaming area.
  • All reopening plans must include how disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer will be available to everyone.
  • Floor plans for slot machines must meet social distancing requirements.
  • Table games maximums: only three players per blackjack table, six players per craps table, four players per roulette table, and four players per poker table.
  • Extensive cleaning of all items including, dice, chairs, chips, and numerous other items when a new player or employee comes in contact with any item.

A complete list of all health and safety guidelines can be viewed here.

Bertolone said one of the important takeaways from the new guidelines is their ability to change.

“The thing that stands out the most is the recognition by regulators that this is a dynamic and fluid situation. While today there might be these standards, tomorrow they may change. Regulators are putting plans in place that allow for change,” he said.

Health and safety protocols are determined by local and state health officials, not the gaming board.

A new look at the casino experience

All of these new rules — which will likely become universal, give or take — bring us to how the whole casino experience will initially change for gamblers. At least, in the beginning, gone will be the dozen people hovering around a craps table rooting for someone on a hot streak. No longer will there be 10-12 high rollers sitting at a poker table stacking chips to look like city skylines. There won’t be groups of friends playing slot machines side by side or lines forming to enter new night clubs and eateries.

Based on the guidelines released by the NGCB, noise levels will be reduced by the lack of customers, spacing will be mandatory, and sanitation best practices will be heavily enforced.

George Rover, managing partner at Princeton Global Strategies and former deputy director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, anticipates similar policies around the US.

“All properties must comply with whatever executive order is handed down by their governor,” Rover said in an interview. “I can see maybe two out of every three slot machines closed or only three people at a blackjack table.”

Many of the policies in states like Nevada and Louisiana have mirrored Rover’s assessment. Expanding upon his comments, Rover said one thing that may cause a hold up in properties reopening is physical space.

“Some will be limited by their physical architecture,” he said. “They are all on equal footing but depending on their layout, some may be on better positioned when it comes to adopting what the executive order requires.”

Regional regulators weigh in

Experts may be focused on Las Vegas, but when reopening casinos begins, it will begin in the South. As first reported by Bloomberg, Louisiana casinos are set to begin reopening May 18, subject to approval by state-police.

“It will be a slow start and a conservative approach,” said Ronnie Jones, chairman of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board (LGCB). “I think what will be proposed here will mirror Nevada and is pretty much what was proposed in Mississippi.”

According to plans released by LA Gov. John Bel Edwards, which can be viewed here, guidelines in Louisiana do in fact mirror some of the policies implemented in Nevada with a few exceptions.

Some but not all of the LA guidelines include:

  • Gaming positions will be reduced to 25%
  • Casino capacity will be reduced to 25%
  • Customers will be offered masks and be encouraged to wear them on the gaming floor
  • Temperatures will be taken by gaming employees

Fielding a workforce

Another potential issue is rallying employees to come back to work. According to a first-hand account written by Jones in Fantini’s Public Policy Review, he notes how severe Louisiana was hit by the pandemic.

“On a per capita population basis, Louisiana ranks 3rd behind New York and New Jersey in the number of infections and the number of deaths. In fact, one parish actually has the highest per capita death rate in the country, even higher than New York. Of the 25 counties throughout the country with the highest per capita death rate, ten are Louisiana parishes.”

In an interview, Jones said he continues to speak with general managers throughout the crisis and some a fearful even if they wanted to get to 100 percent, they don’t think they could.

“I’ve been speaking with general managers and a few are nervous their employees won’t be coming back to work,” he said. “They are either concerned for their own health or they are getting more from unemployment.”

Expected outlook on the casino industry

As with the reopening of any industry, policies and procedures will change. But according to Bertolone, “it’s too early to tell what will be the new norm.”

“Consumers are smart. Gambling is a very practical industry and without safety, the industry won’t recover,” he said. “The basic feelings of safety and cleanliness will be revisited whether you own a casino or a restaurant.”

Rodio said the company continues to work closely with regulators, and government and tribal officials to ensure operations upon reopening follow their directives.

“We will ensure that our operations are in compliance with applicable government directives and tribal mandates,” Rodio said. “While we don’t know the duration or the severity of the economic downturn — we recognize that recovery will take time.”

For now, the best the gambling industry or any industry affected by the pandemic can do is wait. In the grand scheme of things, two months is better than two years.

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NFL Draft Betting Is White Hot As It Goes Virtual, Gems Could Still Abound

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The NFL Draft was supposed to have been held on a virtual island constructed within the fountain pool of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Instead, it will be held in an archipelago of virtual spaces around the United States, another bi-product of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting daily lives and daily distractions. Even America’s favorite sport and betting pastime.

This will be weird, as commissioner Roger Goodell curates the online proceedings from his basement in Bronxville, free (at least in person) of the jeers. After all, those congratulatory handshakes would require so much soap afterwards.

But in many ways, this draft will represent a return to normalcy, or, at least, new-normalcy with the prospect of actual games — for the NFL or any league — still a speculative exercise.

And that’s in part why the draft, which commences on Thursday, April 23, has mushroomed as a betting market in the absence of most any other live action, other than obscure European soccer or table tennis or esports.

The draft schedule is as follows: Round 1, April 23, 8 p.m. ET.; Rounds 2-3, April 24, 7 p.m. ET.; Rounds 4-7, April 25, 12 p.m. ET. It will air live on ESPN, ABC, NFL Network.

Excitement around NFL Draft betting

Typical draft intrigue combined with loads of free time for sharps and dabblers to apply to analysis could lead to some lucrative opportunities for bettors.

“No matter how many mock drafts you read, no matter how much you’re around what the general consensus is, there are always surprises. There’s always picks we didn’t see coming or a team that valued a player much higher than everyone else,” PointsBet Sports Content Manager Andrew Mannino told PlayUSA. “So, I think that in this time where people have more, sort of, space and mental time to devote to thinking this out, there are definitely some gems out there.

“And I think that when we see those usual surprises that we see in the early picks of round one, I think that there’ll definitely be some people who find some gems.”

Mining for them has been brisk on both coasts.

PointsBet has taken more than double the amount of NFL Draft bets as this time last season.

For sports-starved bettors, an NFL Draft like never before

That the now-virtual event represents one of the first tangential connections to a beloved American sport since the COVID-19 lockdown broadens the importance of those extra offerings, he said.

FanDuel and DraftKings representatives told ESPN that betting volume was markedly higher than last year, also, and Fox Bet traders told PlayUSA that they expect volume for the upcoming draft to be “four to five times” a normal year.

William Hill director of trading Nick Bogdanovich said his company had planned on posting “five or six times” more draft proposition bets than usual – they’ve only been allowed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board since 2017 – because of expected interest in a Las Vegas-based ceremony.

“Betting is definitely way up,” he told PlayUSA. “I don’t know what the exact number is. Is it up three times, four times, eight times? But it’s going to be quite substantial.

“We were going to originally [post more bets] just because the draft was in Las Vegas and it was going to be 800,000 crazies here for three days and it was going to be off the hook. So, I knew that we had to get a bigger and better menu up for this year on that alone. But when all that fell through, just the sheer demand for it was there still there.”

PointsBet has launched 210 markets compared to 120 last season. That’s both to accommodate customer demand for something familiar, and because traders don’t have the other major sports to cover, Mannino said.

“As we get more experienced, as legalized sports betting in New Jersey continues to evolve, we’ve got more experience to look back on. There definitely would’ve been an uptick in our offerings, but we would’ve had a lot more on our plate in the meantime and we would have been spending a lot of time on college basketball, the NBA and NHL,” he said. “So, we certainly wouldn’t have as much attention to devote to it. I think the bettors have more time too.”

Tua Tagovailoa speculation a popular betting market

Not even poor broadband can prevent the Cincinnati Bengals from selecting former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow first-overall.

Maybe.

The national-title-winning, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback has been heavily critiqued, as expected, in the weeks preceding the proceedings, but also elicited praise from the likes of Hall of Famer Brett Favre. Bogdanovich considers Burrow such a lock at number one that his company isn’t offering any prop bets on the first-overall pick.

“It’s not really a viable booking proposition. It might be worth some publicity or something,” he said. “They’ve already declared it, that they’re going to take him, so no one’s going to lay it.”

Burrow is a staggering -100000 to be the first player taken at FanDuel, but a relative bargain at -10000 at PointsBet and DraftKings, which even has a market on where his supposed predecessor, Andy Dalton, will play next season.

Multiple outlets have markets on whether the last player selected, the so-called ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ will be an offensive or defensive player. Draftkings posted a potentially lucrative trifecta of sorts in asking the exact order of the first three running backs selected.

Multiple sportsbooks are offering matchplay bets asking which player will be taken first. Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa opened at -150 at William Hill to be drafted ahead of Washington counterpart Justin Herbert (+130) and has lost public favor despite recent public discourse regarding his history injury.

Meanwhile at DraftKings, in a prop pitting two of Tagovailoa’s former targets, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy is heavily favored (-225) to be taken before teammate Henry Ruggs III (+225).

FanDuel has a market on first “Hog Molly” taken, with another Crimson Tide product, offensive lineman Jedrick Willis Jr., the clear favorite.

Ohio State defensive end ChaseYoung is the runaway favorite for first defensive player taken, standing at -3000 to go second at FanDuel and -10000 at PointsBet

Virtual draft has changed virtually everything

While Bogdanovich considers Burrow a lock at the top spot and Young a near-cinch to Washington at No. 2, the rest of the draft, he said, has become a fascinating case study in decision-making in a vacuum.

That includes team player personnel and bettors.

“Everything’s changed for all the people preparing for the draft. All you’re hearing is a lot of rumor and innuendo on social media and Twitter and people running with it,” he observed. “It’s really the most wide-open crapshoot of all time.

“The draft starts at [pick] three. At three you never know. For the longest time, everyone talked about Tua, somebody trading up and taking him in the three hole and now there’s talk of him dropping out of the top ten. So that goes to the wildness of this whole situation. I mean, it’s great theater.”

Bogdanovich likened the situation to two years ago when the first experiment of allowing betting on the Academy Awards in New Jersey was briefly halted after social media buzz suggested the winner of the Best Director category had leaked, swinging betting volume toward away from the favored eventual winner.

“Maybe some team started the rumors so they could get [Tagovailoa] at an earlier spot. You really don’t know,” Bogdanovich said. “I mean, obviously, we’ll tune in on Thursday and we’ll all find out.

“But like I said, it’s all speculation and if you’ve done any research at all in this mock draft, it’s so all over the place. It’s not even funny. I mean some people got [Utah State quarterback] Jordan Love going six and some going 28. It’s interesting and it’s good. Everyone’s getting a little taste of the NFL right now.”

Rumor-prompted market volatility has kept PointsBet traders busy, Mannino said, with Tagovailoa at the center in the New Jersey market, also.

“We’ve seen case after case where a rumor starts and then it’s reflected in the mock draft. And then there’s smoke and then bettors are coming for it,” he said. “It’s keeping us on our toes for sure and the odds are fluctuating all the time.

“At the end of March we had Tua as -650 to be the second quarterback drafted and Herbert at +500. Today they’re both at -115 and it’s a coin toss. We’ve seen rumors come out or you see a new mock draft and people chasing it, getting in on it. And as those rumors circulate, it certainly can be having an impact in the betting community.”

Vegas misses another party in a lost spring

A vacant Strip has been strange enough to process for Bogdanovich, a Las Vegas native. The lost opportunity for the city to host its own house-warming party for the NFL has left him equally disappointed. He’ll still be in his office, as usual, for the draft, but he would have ducked out if the bash had gone on as planned.

“It was going to be crazy,” he said. “People just absolutely love the NFL Draft and there’s not a better place in the world to hold an NFL Draft than in Las Vegas. So it would have been worth going down to see the scene.

“We have to shut betting off at a certain time anyway, so I probably would have driven down to The Strip and from a distance watched the wildness.”

It’s still going to be wild. And a little weird. But there are gems to be found.



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The Myth of the Hot Sports Betting Handicapper

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The most prevalent means of sports service marketing is some variant on the theme that so and so is "red hot" and you should therefore pay him your money and follow his plays. The crooked services do this by coming up with all sorts of confusing and contradictory rating systems and hyperbolic descriptions for their games. How many times have you heard a handicapper brag about being "16-2 on his 500 star MWC underdog plays of the month" or saying that his "Southern Conference total of the month is 60% lifetime"?

Basically, the bottom feeders of this industry can slice and dice their statistics all sorts of ways to make themselves seem "hot". Or they can do what a lot of them do, and simply lie about their performance. When I was first starting out as a sports handicapper there was no such thing as the Internet (at least as it exists today) and I had to rely on a scorephone for line and score updates. This scorephone was sponsored by a group of touts not noted for their veracity, and you had to sit through a few pitches for their 900 numbers before you got to the scores. A bit of a Faustian bargain, to say the least, but it was an effective way of keeping up with scores in the pre-Internet dark ages.

So one night we're at a party thrown by some kid that we did not like too much. My crew and I were racking our brains to think of some mean pranks to pull on the guy. Someone got the idea to rack up some 900 # charges on our mark's phone bill. Since there's no such thing as 900 # directory assistance, I resulted to the only 900 # I could remember – one of the touts from the scorephone that had drilled his digits into my memory through the sheer force of repetition.

For the sake of argument, I decided to write down the tout's NBA plays. I had less faith in his handicapping ability than I would in a prognostication based on a divining rod or Ouija Board, but since I was not paying for the call I figured I'd just see how the guy did. I wrote down his plays and checked his performance the next morning.

To his credit, the tout went 5-3 on his 8 plays. By any criteria a 5-3 night is a solid performance. Later that day I called the scorephone and waited for the tout to start crowing about his 5-3 night. Much to my surprise, the tout did say a word about his 5-3 night. That's because he was too buy bragging about his mythical 7-1 performance the preceding day.

Now, I understand that the revelation that boiler room touts like about their performance is on par with "pro wrestling is fake" or "the games at the fair aren't on the up-and-up" as self evident truths. The point I'm trying to make, however, is that the desire to be the "hot handicapper: is so great that the tout felt he had to embellish a solid performance the night before.

So despite the fact that some handicappers like about their performance, what's wrong with trying to ride the hot handicapper? Plenty-it's not only an ineffective way to evaluate a handicapper's abilities, it also has a number of statistical and theoretical shortcomings.

The simplest way to explain what I'm talking about is to borrow a disclaimer that you'll hear on every commercial for a mutual fund: "Past performance is no guarantee of future results". The sports gambling milieu, like those of stocks, commodities and other financial instruments, is a marketplace and subject to a number of the same tendencies of other financial institutions (what economists call "market dynamics").

The fact that a sports wager's success or failure is dependent to a degree on the "whims" of a marketplace (of odds and pointspreads) and to a greater degree on other external events outside of the bettor's control exacerbates what is already a matter of simple logic: what a handicapper does over a period of time (be it a day, week, month or season) has no intrinsic correlation between a handicapper's performance one year and the next. In other words, the sports gambling marketplace and the random patterns of events that act upon them don't care if I hit 60% last year. If I don't do my work, crunch the numbers, get good prices to bet into, and catch a few breaks along the way I may end up beaten regardless of how well I performed in a subsequent period of time.

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Source by James Robert Murphy

Categories: Sports Betting

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The Myth of the Hot Sports Betting Handicapper

[ad_1]

The most prevalent means of sports service marketing is some variant on the theme that so and so is “red hot” and you should therefore pay him your money and follow his plays. The crooked services do this by coming up with all sorts of confusing and contradictory rating systems and hyperbolic descriptions for their games. How many times have you heard a handicapper brag about being “16-2 on his 500 star MWC underdog plays of the month” or saying that his “Southern Conference total of the month is 60% lifetime”?

Basically, the bottom feeders of this industry can slice and dice their statistics all sorts of ways to make themselves seem “hot”. Or they can do what a lot of them do, and simply lie about their performance. When I was first starting out as a sports handicapper there was no such thing as the Internet (at least as it exists today) and I had to rely on a scorephone for line and score updates. This scorephone was sponsored by a group of touts not noted for their veracity, and you had to sit through a few pitches for their 900 numbers before you got to the scores. A bit of a Faustian bargain, to say the least, but it was an effective way of keeping up with scores in the pre-Internet dark ages.

So one night we’re at a party thrown by some kid that we didn’t like too much. My crew and I were racking our brains to think of some mean pranks to pull on the guy. Someone got the idea to rack up some 900# charges on our mark’s phone bill. Since there’s no such thing as 900# directory assistance, I resulted to the only 900# I could remember – one of the touts from the scorephone that had drilled his digits into my memory through the sheer force of repetition.

For the sake of argument, I decided to write down the tout’s NBA plays. I had less faith in his handicapping ability than I would in a prognostication based on a divining rod or Ouija Board, but since I wasn’t paying for the call I figured I’d just see how the guy did. I wrote down his plays and checked his performance the next morning.

To his credit, the tout went 5-3 on his 8 plays. By any criteria a 5-3 night is a solid performance. Later that day I called the scorephone and waited for the tout to start crowing about his 5-3 night. Much to my surprise, the tout didn’t say a word about his 5-3 night. That’s because he was too buy bragging about his mythical 7-1 performance the preceding day.

Now, I understand that the revelation that boiler room touts like about their performance is on par with “pro wrestling is fake” or “the games at the fair aren’t on the up-and-up” as self evident truths. The point I’m trying to make, however, is that the desire to be the “hot handicapper: is so great that the tout felt he had to embellish a solid performance the night before.

So despite the fact that some handicappers like about their performance, what’s wrong with trying to ride the hot handicapper? Plenty-it’s not only an ineffective way to evaluate a handicapper’s abilities, it also has a number of statistical and theoretical shortcomings.

The simplest way to explain what I’m talking about is to borrow a disclaimer that you’ll hear on every commercial for a mutual fund: “Past performance is no guarantee of future results”. The sports gambling milieu, like those of stocks, commodities and other financial instruments, is a marketplace and subject to a number of the same tendencies of other financial institutions (what economists call “market dynamics”).

The fact that a sports wager’s success or failure is dependent to a degree on the “whims” of a marketplace (of odds and pointspreads) and to a greater degree on other external events outside of the bettor’s control exacerbates what is already a matter of simple logic: what a handicapper does over a period of time (be it a day, week, month or season) has no intrinsic correlation between a handicapper’s performance one year and the next. In other words, the sports gambling marketplace and the random patterns of events that act upon them don’t care if I hit 60% last year. If I don’t do my work, crunch the numbers, get good prices to bet into, and catch a few breaks along the way I may end up beaten regardless of how well I performed in a subsequent period of time.

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Source by James Robert Murphy

Categories: Sports Betting

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