More Consolidation In Sportsbooks

Last week British bookmaker, William Hill received approval to run 159 sportsbooks and kiosks in Las Vegas. Those 159 include Leroy’s, Lucky’s and Cal Neva sportsbooks. While this gives William Hill great reach, it comes with little money.

While William Hill will operate 55 percent of the state’s race and sports books, it would only generate about 11 percent of the state’s book revenue. Race and sports books, while popular with a loyal clientele of sports bettors, generate less than 5 percent of the state’s gross gaming revenue and usually partner with resorts to run a casino’s sports wagering.

It will be interesting what direction William Hill takes these, mostly, locals sportsbooks. As you may or may not know I do much of my small sports betting with Leroy’s iPhone app. (You can see more thought on the app in my review at Vegas Chatter.)

More interesting is that this really consolidates the sportsbook market in Vegas. Consolidation is rarely good for the consumer as it narrows competition, but this may actually be good for the local sports bettor. This William Hill consolidation may provide better betting options and locations for the local Nevada sports better.

While Leroy’s sportsbooks may not see much of a change since many of their locations are in bars and not casinos, it’s possible that William Hill could breath life into Lucky’s and some Cal Neva sportsbooks. Lucky’s sportsbook at the Riviera could be the first to see some action.

While sports betting only represents about 1% of the bottom line for a casino improving the Lucky’s sportsbook at the Riviera would give a good excuse for many people to visit. Since many sports bettors are analytical and care a lot about odds, they may use this as an excuse to take in some the best gambling on the strip. The Riviera has 3:2 blackjack, 1000x odds craps and single zero roulette.

This may be just what the Riviera’s doctor ordered.

Photo: Las Vegas Sun

Is Cantor Gaming Good For Gamblers?

In the past year I’ve written a lot about Cantor Gaming‘s takeover of many sportsbooks in Las Vegas at Vegas Chatter. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not. Last night I was having a discussion about Cantor Gaming taking over some of my favorite casino’s sportsbooks and I was getting a little salty (but not aggro). Yesterday, I wrote about VIP seating at the Venetian sportsbook not being available to Venetian high rollers, but to Cantor Gaming high rollers.

We asked the desk if our Club Grazie Gold card did anything for us and he said no with a smirk. Then he started chuckling when he said that it was reserved for people betting at least $25,000 per day. 

I understand that Cantor Gaming operates as its own entity under the casinos, but not providing any perks for casino customers isn’t a going to help bring the casual sports bettor to the book to gamble. While places like Station Casinos and Caesars give players club points for sports betting I don’t believe Cantor can or does this for the properties where they are in control. If I’m correct, they don’t even have their own players club to earn “Cantor Points.”

Sports bettors don’t really look for comps beyond a free drink, but the casual gambler does. I’m sure the old men that sit at the race book all day would like to earn a free sandwich every once in a while. I know I would for my sports bets.

When all sportsbooks look and feel the same with Cantor’s retrofitting of sportsbooks, what is going to give people a reason to visit one book over the other? When sports betting goes mobile, why would anyone choose Cantor above Leroy’s or Station?

I won’t be doing much betting with Cantor gaming because they don’t have an iPhone app yet. I’m used to using my Leroy’s app and since I don’t get players club points there either, I’ll work with what I know until Station comes out with their iPhone app and I can get Boarding Pass points. Unless there is line value with Cantor I can’t get anywhere else (which there isn’t, generally) then I’m not sure I see a reason to frequent their sportsbooks.

Worst Bookie Ever!

I’ve been around gambling most of my life.  My first real exposure to a bookie was when I worked next door to one working at a candy store when I was around 12 or 13.  They were serious dudes that scared me.  They were also the kinds of guys that made lots of loot – like every bookie I’ve ever met.

Last year I moved to Las Vegas and I’ve been learning about legalized sports betting more and more.  Yesterday I learned that there is a company, American Wagering Inc. (AKA Leroy’s) that takes wagers on sports that a) went bankrupt and b) lost $1.8 million in 9 months.

Despite its dominance in Nevada, American Wagering’s balance sheet is anemic by comparison. The company reported a loss of $1.8 million for the nine months ended Oct. 31 and generated revenue of only $14.5 million for the year ended Jan. 31, 2010. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003 and emerged in 2005, only to see business decline in the recession.

American Wagering is being purchased by a British company, William Hill, so I’m guessing that whatever advantage a bettor might have had is going to go away pretty quickly.

William Hill this month announced an $18 million deal to buy Nevada bookmaking chain American Wagering Inc., which operates Leroy’s sports books and provides the sports betting systems many Nevada casinos use to run their books.

For as long as I’ve been interesting in sports betting I’ve only heard of Leroy’s because they had the first legal sports betting app for mobile phones (not iPhone…boo!).

Still, how can a bookie lose money!?  This is unprecedented as far as I know.  As the article states, this is a future move for William Hill for when online gambling is legalized in America.  For the time being it will be interesting to see how they effect sports betting in Nevada.  It should be only for the better.