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Why Colorado Could Be A Major Player When Online Betting Begins

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For the past two years, legalized sports betting has permeated the country. State-regulated industries have cropped up in bunches along the east coast and in the heart of the Midwest.

Forgotten, it seems, is the West. The American frontier. But soon, a gateway will open to what is otherwise an untapped region.

The western United States “has a very different vibe” from the east coast, as Eddie Motl, vice president of communications for Fox Bet, put it. Within a month, Fox Bet, along with several other sportsbooks, will experience that vibe firsthand. Because that gateway — that long-sought-after, ever attractive gateway — is set to open Friday, May 1 with the debut of Colorado sports betting.

Yet the pomp and circumstance will certainly be understated when the first legal sportsbooks go online. The coronavirus pandemic has sidelined sports and closed casinos. So how can incoming operators maintain such a rosy outlook when uncertainty looms like a storm cloud?

Because, as FanDuel CMO Mike Raffensperger said: “Entertainment is important, particularly in challenging times.

“People need opportunities to entertain themselves. And frankly, a diversion in difficult times is something that’s important for mental health.”

Significance of Colorado sports betting not lost on operators

The addition of Colorado sports betting carries weight that extends beyond its own boundaries.

Robert Walker, the director of sportsbook operations at Nevada firm USBookmaking, told Legal Sports Report that, more than New Jersey, “Colorado is the first real battleground for US sports betting.”

Johnny Aitken, CEO of the Denver-based PointsBet, added that “Colorado could be a domino state. They’ve listened to operators about what we need to successfully compete with the black market. Hopefully, new states take notice as they open up.”

“Expansion into any new state is exciting because it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our unique approach to gaming and engage with sports fans,” Motl said. “Sports in America are tribal and so anytime we get to communicate with a new community, in this case Colorado, it’s an opportunity to learn from those fans and serve them with content tailored to their style.”

Sustainable tax rate sets up successful future

Even only within state lines, Colorado going live means much more than padding an operator’s portfolio.

For the likes of FanDuel Sportsbook, which expects to go live May 1, the Centennial State will become its fifth state in which it operates regulated wagering. But there’s much more significance with Colorado.

Specifically, as laid out by Raffensperger, the state “enacted legislation that we feel is conducive to a healthy and productive legal and regulated sports betting marketplace.”

That means a sustainable tax rate (10%) that sets up a competitive industry while also helping fund state initiatives. It means all-inclusive access to online wagering, from sign-up to cashing out, for the public. Such traits have helped New Jersey, where FanDuel remains a sports betting power, truly flourish.

As a result, New Jersey has become something of a template, one that operators are thrilled to see followed by Colorado.

Original outlook of Colorado sports betting

When New Jersey first went online, its model closely resembled one that paid dividends in Europe. By focusing on the everyday players, by capitalizing on digital marketing, and by offering in-play wagering and a wide array of markets, said model sets the table for a thriving industry.

The 18th state to introduce some form of legal sports betting, and whether purposefully or not, Colorado set itself up for success by following that model.

“For us, the regulators have been great to work with,” said Jamie Shea, head of sportsbook digital for DraftKings Sportsbook. “It’s just been really some good back and forth, working together. We all want to see the sports betting industry flourish in every way. … We all have the same goal. Working with the legislators and regulators in Colorado, it’s been great to see their enthusiasm.”

Its 10% tax rate allures, like a radiant light that leads one out of the darkness and into the promised land. It sets Colorado up to potentially accept as much as $6 billion in wagers, according to PlayColorado projections, in addition to $400 million in gross operator revenue and $40 million in tax revenue.

New Jersey, for perspective, taxes retail operations at a 9.75% rate and levies a 13% tax on mobile wagering.

The tax rate alone, Raffensperger said, “incentivized our investment.” But then you add in online access; a state that features franchises from MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL; a reasonably large population total; and a culture, as he put it, that features “a great independent spirit” that pairs well with sports betting.

Indeed, Raffensperger emphasized, “we get really excited about the commercial opportunity.”

Coronavirus pandemic has shifted plans of operators

The launch of Colorado sports betting, at least commercially, obviously comes during an inopportune time.

The COVID-19 crisis essentially sidelined sports entirely, aside from a few niche markets. It’s not lost on incoming operators that sports betting offerings will remain slim once they go live.

“It has presented us and many other sportsbooks planning to launch in Colorado with added challenges,” Motl said of the coronavirus. “We’ve spent this additional time learning about our future customers in Colorado, understanding their tendencies and appetite for sports betting content as a whole. Operationally, we’ve worked to ensure that our infrastructure and process with state regulators is seamless once sports return.”

Operators remain bullish on Colorado sports betting future

Therein lies the optimism and persistence of bookmakers: This pandemic will not disrupt our plans.

Like Henry Ford said: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”

“We’re very optimistic on Colorado,” Shea said. “We’re so excited to be launching in that state. Nobody can predict how long this (the coronavirus pandemic) is going to take. But what we can say is we will be there. … We are very cognizant of the seriousness of the nature of the world. We don’t want to take that away at all.

“We want to make sure everyone’s staying safe and following the guidelines of the government. We’re just an entertainment company but we hope to provide that little bit of light in the day.”

Flexibility is key during a time of zero sports

Fox Bet still intends to make its Colorado debut in May, though after the state’s go-live date. And, like many of its counterparts, it continues to exhibit flexibility in this time of uncertainty.

“As leagues and sanctions adapt to this new environment, so do sportsbook operators like us,” Motl said. “We’ve offered NASCAR’s iRacing, the NFL draft, as well as other smaller sports and competitions in accordance with (New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement) via the Fox Bet app. We’ve also gotten creative, for example coming up with the best sports movie bracket challenge. As sports leagues and governing bodies across the globe re-open competition, we will have more to offer.”

It appeared as if the coronavirus pandemic really hit home for the public when sports went off the air. When the NBA postponed its season, Raffensperger said, “it felt pivotal in a lot of ways in how this crisis came to bear for this country.”

For the FanDuel CMO, when sports return, the healing can begin. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes more clear.

“I think that’s an important moment of feeling like it’s a step forward for the country,” Raffensperger said, “a moment of catharsis. … I think it’s going to be, not to be too highfalutin about it, the start of a moment of healing and something we’re really excited about certainly commercially but also just our role within sports culture at large.”

When leagues and event organizers postponed and even canceled seasons and events, operators did not sway from their Colorado plans.

If anything, at least for FanDuel, there was more of an obligation to move forward as planned.

“I would say the reaction was we need to stay the course,” Raffensperger said. “I think we recognized we needed to shift our plans a little bit, in the manner and the means in which we launched. … I think whether it’s free-to-play gaming, some of the things that we’re doing on our fantasy sports platform, I do think it’s important. I think it’s the role that FanDuel Group plays, kind of in our commercial role at large.”

Plans to launch in Colorado remain on track

Before COVID-19, some incoming Colorado bookmakers — such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers — circled May 1 as launch date. Others, like Fox Bet, sometime that month.

Those plans have gone unchanged.

“We are of course giving full consideration to the current circumstances regarding the disruption to the sports calendar, but our pre-existing timelines and goals for the multi-state expansion of theScore Bet remain on schedule,” John Levy, CEO of theScore, said. “We are pressing ahead with product development and regulatory initiatives and — subject to receiving all relevant licenses and approvals — are excited to introduce theScore’s unique integration of media and gaming to sports fans in both Colorado and Indiana later this year.”

Perhaps now more than ever, Shea noted, the public needs some kind of respite. And platforms such as DraftKings provide just that.

“Especially now, people need entertainment,” Shea said. “We are a sports company, a gaming company, an entertainment company. People need to be able to blow off some steam. … I think it’s nice to have that stability, that confidence that not everything has shut down, that there are still some movements going on. Some new and exciting things. It’s nice for the fans to have some levity at this time.”

Obviously operators will not have many betting markets to offer customers right away. Hopefully, though, the sports calendar will fill out in short order. That would certainly benefit bookmakers. But it would also provide a sense of normalcy for bettors, fans and the general public.

Companies like FanDuel are hoping to fast-track the latter.

“The reason that we’re launching on May 1 relative to the plan we had prior,” Raffensperger said, “is because we think it is important to demonstrate to Colorado our innovative spirit. … I think we’re still really optimistic and eager to introduce ourselves to Colorado, to do it in a way that adds value to consumers and bettors and fans. Again, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of major American sports alongside every other sports fan in Colorado and frankly around the country.”

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Professional Poker Player Transition to Sports Betting – Where's the + EV in Horse Racing Systems?

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EV or Expected Value is a widely used term in poker terminology to determine if the outcome of a play is +, 0 or – in terms of profitability. This article is aimed for Poker Players who also like to punt on UK and Irish horse racing. It never ceases to amaze me how many good poker players are terrible at betting on horse racing. If they can spend so much time on their poker game then why not also put in the effort when placing a bet to ensure that you have the most + EV decision that you can possibly make with all the information at hand. The title of the post is actually a small bit misleading as I personally believe that all horse racing systems are doomed and the way to consistently profit at betting on horse racing is to have a horse racing method not a system.

The following article will lay the ground work for anyone who wants to start taking their punting to the next level. There is no better satisfaction then spending an hour or two analysing a race and 1 horse just stands head and shoulders above the rest when you compare all the different factors that I will explain below. Of course the toughest part is having the discipline to only wait for when these such occasions occur when placing a bet, and some times, this may mean you do not bet for up to a month. (This may help explain why I moved into playing poker from sports betting as the results of your actions are known instantaneously, and you can play a game anytime of any day). I also think you can compare a MTT player to a professional sports bettor – you can go long periods without a win and then score a few big results and then rinse and repeat and hopefully over the course of the year you will have been profitable.

1. You must specialize. All the most profitable professional sports bettors pick not only 1 sport but only a small niche in that sport. Patrick Veitch, who has won over 10 million punting on horse racing in the UK only bets on UK flat racing. He even has a massive team of researchers who do a lot of the work for him, but he as he also works 18 hours days during the flat season he is naturally burnt out by the end of the season.

For the beginner though, what I mean by specialize is concentrate on an area of ​​horse racing where you can get the most information. Information is power so unless you own a shed load of 2 year old horses or are the nephew of Aidan O Brein, there is no point in specializing in 2 year old horse races as you just wont have enough information to go on. Therefore it makes more sense to specialize on handicap races, where each horse in the race must of least have run 3 times to qualify but mainly are run by the same horses year in, year out until they are retired.

The best races then to specialize in are 4 year old plus handicaps in flat and national hunt racing as you have the most information available and you can start to see patterns in horses and therefore pick out some very + EV selections when you have spotted this pattern and the majority of the racing public haven't. This is the bread and butter of successful punting, going against the crowd.

Personally I used to specialize in 4 year old plus UK flat handicaps in the summer, and UK and Irish National Hunt handicap chases and hurdles in the Winter.

2. In your specialized area, when you select a race to analyze, you must go through every horse in the race to develop a shortlist. Below are my 5 essential criteria that every horse must have when you are placing a bet.

a) Going – The horse must be proven on going conditions.

b) Distance – The horse must be proven on the trip

c) Course Type – The horse must be proven on similar type of course

d) Fitness – The horse must have shown that it can operate at optimal levels since its last number of days off the track.

e) Class – The horse must have either won at the class he is currently competing in before or else gave a very good showing in a previous race at the similar or higher class level.

Going and Distance

With regard to going and distance and to a lesser extent course type, I will not fully discount a horse who has never raced on the going if he has extremely good sire stats (15% + strike rate) however I would always give precedence to another horse in a race who has won on for example soft going compared to a horse who has never raced on soft but has sire stats of 18% strike rate for soft going conditions.

With distance, I would also use sire stats if a horse is moving up or down in trip by 1 furlong on the flat, and 2 furlongs in national hunt. With experience, you can tell by looking at a race if a horses needs the extra trip or not and the sire stats can be a great way to back up that visual piece of information.

Course Type

This often overlooked by the general racing public. The best thing about UK and Irish racing is the different types of race courses you will encounter. Cheltenham (left-handed, galloping, undulating and testing track with stiff fences) is totally different to Stratford (left Handed, flat & Sharp) as it is to Sandown (right-handed, galloping, testing track)

A horse who has won twice in Cheltenham will probably never win a race at Stratford and vice versa. Bigger sized horses are more suited to galloping tracks as they can take the turns easier and can maintain a strong galloping pace for longer whereas a smaller sized horse is better suited to sharp tracks (ie less than 10 furlongs) as most of the running will be going around bends and therefore the bigger horses will not be able to maintain their top galloping speed for long on the stretches.

Also some horses can only run to their best at left handed courses and vice versa. You would actually wonder why trainers persist to run horses which clearly will not win on a certain turning race track, but then you realise by doing this, they will get their official rating down as horse will appear to be trying but will be hanging left or right the whole way through. You have to be aware that trainers will be trying to manipulate the handicapper a lot of the times in the lower grade races by running horses on unsuitable ground, at the wrong distance, on the wrong course type, or running the horse with a different style During the race all to try and reduce their rating so that they can set up a better chance for themselves to win in the future at a decent price.

I love Cheltenham race meet in March for the simple fact, the course is a stiff testing course which straight away rules out a lot of other horses in the race as they just cant handle it, the grade of racing and pirze money on offer means that everyone is trying to win, and you can nearly always guarantee what the going will be. Therefore if you just use the criteria above and select horses who are proven on the 5 factors (and this applies to the non handicap graded races too, you will see huge profits)

Fitness

To determine a horses fitness, you must look at its previous patterns of how it performed when it returns after a certain number of days off the track. The beauty of handicap races is you have loads of past information to go on and you can see if a horse is 0-5 when returning after an 80 day lay off, whereas he is 3-2-5 when he returns between 15 and 30 days.

Class

A horses class is often overlooked by the racing public. Statistically horses who are moving up in grade / class do not have a good strike rate, however the public will back it blindly if it sees it has won by 5 lengths in its previous race in a lower grade. Analyze past races to see if a horse has won or come close in the grade of race it is racing in today. You can discount a horse if it has failed 2 times at the grade when having all other conditions to suit except for when it is running for a new stable which has a good record at rejuvenating horses.

Also keep in mind that a horse who has placed in a black type race (ie grade, 1,2,3) will have a more class than a horse who has a good winning record in Class 2 (B) handicaps, so if it It is racing in a Class 2 handicap for the first time, do not discount just because it has never won a race.

3. Once you have created your shortlist based on the above criteria, you can now get down to the real dirty work of finding the eventual winner. Sometimes you might only be left with 1 horse, sometimes with 8, you must then start applying other filters to see if you can narrow down the list more. Sometimes the odds will allow to dutch 3 horses left if you can not narrow it down anymore. Then go for it as it is a plus EV move.

However be aware that every time you discount you must have a very valid reason backed up by a decent sample size. Here's a list of filters to reduce the shortlist.

Weight

Some horses as stated earlier have a bigger frame then others, therefore having top weight doesn't make much difference to them, whereas the smaller horse will struggle. Again by studying previous races you will spot a pattern

OR

This is the official rating that the horse racing board's in house handicapper assigns to a horse to determine what weight it should carry in its next horse race. The OR is updated weekly, therefore you sometimes see trainers turn out a horse 3 times in a week to try and take advantage of this before the handicapper reassigns it a higher rating. For an excellent explanation of official hores racing handicapping see this article written by good friend Malcolm Smith over at www.UKhorseracing.co.uk .

After a while, horses will reach their peak and start to hover around a certain OR mark. Therefore it will be unlikely that it will win if its OR mark is higher than its highest winning mark unless the horse is an improving progressive sort. But for older horses, this OR mark becomes more important and can be more relied upon.

Field Size

Some horses will not race unless they are covered in the pack, other horses need room otherwise they get into trouble during the race. The trick is to identify these type of horses. You will start to spot where some horses only win in races with less than 8 runners, but never figure in races with more than 12. You can safely assume that he needs the perfect ride in a big runner race but more than likely will not get that (This is when you can factor in the Jockeys ability to see if its OK to rule out this horse or not) The field size matters more in National Hunt, as some horses prefer seeing the jumps early / later and as they are pack animals prefer chasing a leader than actually leading

Seasonal

A lot of horses prefer to run in certain times of the year. This could be down to how a trainer prepares the horse over the course of the season and aims it to be at full fitness come March time for example, but other times horses just perform better in certain months. Again by looking at past patterns you will begin to spot these trends.

Trainer Statistics

8 years ago it was a very profitable trend to follow certain trainers at certain race tracks for certain race types. This edge has slowly eroded since the markets have caught on, however it still needs to be factored in when trying to finalize your short list.

Trainer – Jockey combinations

If you try and follow this blindly by backing winning Trainer-Jockey Combos, you will most likely end up with a loss. However it is a good tool to have when you are trying to reduce the shortlist as some stats are just too good to ignore.

Jockey Booking

This is actually a powerful indicator. However this again does not mean much if the horse does first qualify for the 5 essential criteria above. Also if you only ever back horses with the top jockeys on board you are forgoing on EV as, the odds will drop on a horse with the likes of Ruby Walsh or Tony McCoy on board, but odds will still remain good on a horse if for example the jockey booking was Graham Lee, who is a very underrated performer. Look back over past races and see how the horse has performed under their guidance before. You will start to see profitable trends and indicators.

Gambling Stables

There are a few ways to do this. One is manually record stables where horses have been heavily backed and won. Another way is to look at a horses previous wins and see what the average odds were. The lower the winning odds, the bigger chance that the stable money only goes down when the horse has a good chance of winning (Kevin Ryan is an example of a gambling stable). The higher the odds, means the horse has won races that they weren't fully expecting to win and therefore less likely a gambling stable (Veneita Williams comes to mind here for being an honest stable).

Post Race Comments

This is often overlooked. If you see what trainers, jockeys and owners have said to the press after a horse has won (See the racing post website for all the comments), you can pick up some useful information which can help you lean one way or the other on a selection.

Pace of the race.

To understand the pace of the race you first need to figure out what is each horse's preferred running style. They can be broken down into front runners, prominent runners, Hold up horses. Here's is a fantastic article which details the breakdown of winning% of different horses running styles compared to the actual number of race entries of horses with different running styles.

It shows that you should really be concentrating on front running and prominent horses as it accounts for 65% of winners compared to being only 50% of entries in races. Front runners in particular account for 20% of winners even though they only supply 11% of runners in a race.

You can use this to your advantage once you get to know all of the different course types. By backing a front running horse that satisfies the 5 essential criteria on a race course which has a sharp track with a short run in, you have added a few% EV points to your selection.

Another factor here is analyzing the previous 3 races the horse has ran in and check out the in running comments. Especially look at the horses who came placed or came outside the top 4 but were close near the end. Keep and eye out for comments like "finished strongly", "kept on well", "stayed on well", "kept on final furlong" and for other tidbits like "hampered" but then "finished strongly". These can point towards a horse who is on the upward curve and given the perfect conditions in the next race will have a very good chance of winning.

Another thing to factor in is if a race does not have any natural front runners, then the race will not be run at a true pace, therefore could throw up some very unusual results. It may mean that the horse who has the best speed on a flat track will win when it drives all out in the last furlong.

When the pace of the race is guaranteed, the classier horse which satisfies the essential criteria will more often than not win the race.

4. Resources

For 6 years, before getting lured into the world of Online Poker, I punted successfully on horse racing and I used the following resources

Ratings from ukhorseracing.co.uk.

The ratings are based upon advanced pure mathematics but are presented in a an easy to read pdf. The main feature in my view that sets this service apart from a lot of pretenders is the 'Class' filter they derive using their mathematical approach. Fantastically accurate for Non Handicap graded races in both National Hunt and Flat racing in the both UK and Irish racing. They also have a great forum where you can exchange ideas with the other members and have recently introduced a Racing Bot where you plug in all your profitable racing systems and sit back and watch.

Stats and ratings from ukracestats.com

I only found this website 4 years into my sports betting career, and it was free for nearly 2 years after that. It is without doubt the biggest time saving tool when it comes to analysing a race using all the criteria and filters I have mentioned above in the article. The only negative is that they only cover UK horse racing.

Racing Post Website- Last year they introduced a subscription service and I suppose it was about time considering all the information that it provides. It is essential for anyone serious about racing. I used it to confirm my findings from the ratings and stats mentioned above.

At The Races Website – Good for watching previous races and offers different race analysis from the Racing Post. As far as I know this is still free.

I hope that after reading the above that you will now not just throw money blindly at the favorite when you have a punt on the horses. Put a bit of time and effort into the selection process and give yourself a + EV chance of winning.

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Source by Paul Redfern