Interview With a Bookmaker – WIT Sports. Attention Bettors: If you are sick of being mistreated and neglected by your offshore sports book, your savior has arrived.
Every once in a while a new sports book comes along that takes your breath away.
Many leave you breathless because of the lack of consideration and insolent attitude towards their customers.
Others leave you gasping because of the undeniable larceny in their hearts and a seemingly transparent exterior that reeks of dishonesty.
Many have left me speechless with their inability to master simple mathematical principles. It seems that most bookmakers are quite aware that 11 is bigger than 10, and that the vigorish is how the house makes money but most don’t understand the subtle differences that can mean the difference between losing and winning in the long term.
Very few bookmakers think the customer is the number one priority and treat them with the respect they most assuredly deserve.
Very few bookmakers are so transparent in their intentions and upfront in their conversation that their integrity and honor is secured from the first time you speak with them.
Very few bookmakers have an intimate knowledge of fundamental gambling principles and a thorough understanding of what it takes to make a living as a professional gambler.
Very few bookmakers are anything like Dana from WIT. A relative newcomer to the scene, WIT is barely a year old. Despite their infancy in the sports wagering community, WIT has made a big splash with serious sports bettors across the country. With a granite like reputation, they’ve managed to take the sports betting world by storm by offering the following:
- High Limits
- Unique, Opinionated Overnight Lines
- All Players/Wiseguys Welcome
- 8 cents to buy a half a point in the NFL
We couldn’t wait to sit down with Dana and pick his brain. When we got up, we were impressed not only by this desire on his part to do the right thing for the player, but his forthright answers to our questions, his honesty and his knowledge of all aspects of gambling. They represent the standard for how the customer should be treated. I firmly believe this may be the most customer oriented, player friendly sports book on the planet.
Here’s how the conversation went.
TDS: Tell me more about your organization — how long have you been in business, Where you are located, and tell us about any specials or promotions you might be offering.
WTI: First of all I would like to thank The Daily Spread for this opportunity to let the readers discover WIT Sports. We opened our store on July 15, 2000 just outside San Jose, Costa Rica. Being a large bettor for many years I felt most sports books had no clue as to how to treat people properly. We started WIT with the idea of giving the customer the fair shake he deserves. I have set certain standards here as to how this needs to be addressed. The first rule I follow is that nobody is to be denied the privilege of wagering. I don’t care how smart someone is they can always wager with WIT Sports. Second thing is all customers are to be treated with respect and the utmost courtesy. I also believe that when we accept a wager that we will always honor it. This does not mean I will allow someone to past post me or cheat me. Making sure that everyone’s funds are secure and that WIT’s reputation is impeccable. We believe that we have a good vision as to where the future lies in this industry and want to be one of the leaders. Everyone in the WIT organization believes in these same concepts. The people that are down here with me are very dedicated to making WIT something truly special and worthwhile. At this time we are in the process of upgrading our software, and only offering a 10% deposit bonus on all new accounts with a maximum bonus of $500.
After the upgrade we will be doing some good promotions. As far as specials, I believe everyday we offer something special. Very low vig on our props and futures, different numbers than what most sports books have. We try hard to be first up with many of our numbers. In the nutshell WIT is just special.
TDS: Why should someone want to send you their money when there are so many other books to choose from?
Many reasons for this are covered in the above answer. To expound on this let me just say nobody is going to give the customer more bang for his buck. I believe WIT offers the fairest prices and best odds in the business. When you add up everything we do, I honestly don’t know of another sports book that offers more. I know how important every customer’s balance is to that customer. I insure every week that we ALWAYS have the proper funding to cover every balance of every customer. I take great pride in the fiscal responsibility that we practice. Having the customer’s trust comes before anything else in my life. To me this issue is simple, a sports book is either 100% or it is not. Being 92% is no better than being 27% reliable. My reputation is not EVER for sale or to EVER be compromised! Everyone around me has this same attitude on this subject.
TDS: What were you thinking? I mean — why are you even bothering? The roadside is cluttered with sports book after sports book. There’s a gazillion shops that all appear to be offering the same thing.
I agree and our purpose is to be different and at the same time better. No other sports book has made such an impact on the market in such a short period of time as WIT Sports. People who recognize value and being treated fairly have flocked to WIT Sports. The Daily Spread (and others) has recognized WIT as someone worthy of an interview for all of its readers. We truly are building something special here and I believe the marketplace will recognize this. The uneducated gambler is not being treated fairly by many books. They are charged way too much on props, money lines, just about everything. I know what is a fair hold and when a book overcharges the small bettor, well to me this is not right. People are allowed to win and fair odds help the small bettor win more often. If we run our business correctly, robbing people does not need to be part of the game plan.
TDS: Are you trying to get rich quick or is this a long-term venture?
I’m not trying to get rich period. I have been very fortunate in my life and I don’t need more money. This whole thing with me is not about how much personal gain I can obtain. It’s about putting my signature on something that I can be proud of. It’s about helping reshape an industry that maybe isn’t all it could be. It’s giving the player a fair shake. I know if I do everything right that financial gains will come but this is not what motivates me. This is a long-term venture.
TDS: Are you finding that standing out in this marketplace is difficult?
This part of the business has been frustrating to me. The small player has not yet found his way to WIT. We attract many of the large players because we offer high limits and good numbers. All the things that the large player finds attractive so should the small player. Many of them are suckered into some bullshit-marketing ploy. What good does it do to sign up with a place that offers a high bonus and then they overcharge you on every wager you make. I equate this to paying some one $10 to shop at their grocery store. When you arrive at the cashier you are now overcharged $14 for what you bought. The sharp players in this business recognize value and flock to it. The less educated player is led to the slaughter by operators who take full advantage of this poor soul. I don’t want to give the reader the impression that everyone but me is looking to take unfair advantage. There are many fine books in the off shore industry. It does seem that too many times the small player is attracted to the wrong place for all the wrong reasons.
TDS: You hired one of the most well respected bookmakers that was still actively working in Las Vegas. The man’s reputation is tremendous. He is of the”genuine” bookmaking breed, and I was very surprised to find out he was going to work offshore.
Richie is truly a GREAT bookmaker. He would be a tremendous asset to any book who is serious about bookmaking. This business is part science and part art. Rich has the art part down better than anyone I know. He knows how to treat the customer and is only concerned with doing the right thing for the customer and WIT Sports. This is a fine line that most guys never have a clue about. If he only does what is best for WIT than the customer will not get the fair shake I insist upon. If he gives the customer everything we won’t have a place to work at for very long. I can’t say enough good things about Rich. He is just one of many reasons that really make WIT Sports a special place. One thing is for sure, nobody is going to out work or have more dedication than Rich.
TDS: Why did you hire him? In my 5 years involvement with The Daily Spread, I’ve met Bookmakers that are dentists, lawyers and one guy used to work at an airport. This isn’t some sort of esoteric, intellectual pursuit here. For the first time in my life, I know more bookmakers than I do people from any other profession.
If you wanted his linemaking abilities, you could have used him as a consultant -no need to haul him to Costa Rica for that. In other words, what does he bring to the table for WIT?
I hired him because simply he is the best at what he does. Just as important: he is a good honest guy who I trust. He represents WIT with honesty and integrity. Like I’ve been saying I wanted this to be something special. I have never settled for being average. Being average is not a goal of mine or anyone else I associate with.
TDS: You are the first to post an overnight NCAA line. Where do you get your numbers? I noticed that LVSC does their “sendouts” for the next day very early — usually around 4:00 pm eastern. Do these numbers figure into the opening number you post?
We make all of own numbers in house so to speak. I have a lot of respect for Scotty over at LVSC but would rather make our own numbers than use what everybody else hangs. LVSC numbers have very little impact as to what we use.
TDS: In years past, the NBA sides and totals would jump around heavily between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm. These days, the numbers seem to move around a lot around 11:00 AM eastern time.
Why is this? Is this big money moving these numbers and do you respect their opinion?
Numbers move when people bet them. If they move at a certain time then that is when they are being bet. Why the change in time I really don’t know. I don’t feel we know very much about totals compared to the guys that bet them. I would not want to try and cover the overhead with what we take on totals. I do respect the opinion of those that make limit bets on totals.
TDS: There are many novice, aspiring handicappers and sports bettors that will read this. From your experience, is there a certain approach or a particular part of sports betting you would encourage them to pursue? I’m not asking you to “give away the store”, but do you have any advice that may put them in the right direction?
Know the math. Have the right temperament. Wager what your bankroll can afford and put your family first.
TDS: With so many sports books offering so many lines on so many sports and so many different betting options, value surely exists for the player SOMEWHERE doesn’t it?
I believe that the sports bettor has never had it so good. There are so many more games with lines on them. Quite frankly the B.M. and Oddsmaker is under the gun with so much to consider. The handicapper has tons of info at his fingertips. The player certainly has lots of value in this day and age.
TDS: Looking back since you started your operation, what is the biggest surprise? In other words, what has shocked you the most about the business?
The amount of work it takes to run an operation properly.
TDS: I noticed you have started putting NBA overnight lines up. Was there a reason you choose to wait in doing this?WIT Sports:
We wanted to wait till college football was over. When it was, Rich had some personal matters arise, which set us back a few more weeks. We always could have hung a painted number and taken a token wager of $500 or $1000 but that is not what we are about. Anyway when Rich got back we started to hang them. I believe we take $3000 on the overnights and try to hang a little different number.
TDS: How popular are the overnight or early betting options with your players?
The early college numbers are very popular. The same is true in football. The players believe there is more opportunity with the colleges. Making pro numbers is much easier for the line maker than making 100 numbers on a Saturday with the colleges.
TDS: I notice that many times on the screen that you will use an unusual technique in moving the line. For instance, you might have -6,-125 on a NCAA basketball game and everyone else is at 6.5 or 7. Why?
We don’t have the luxury of hanging the same number as everyone else. Being new to the business our customer base is much smaller than the big shops. We feel we need to create business by offering a line that no one else has. An example of this would be: Lets say a line is -6 everywhere. If we hang the same number and wait for someone to call we may not get a wager on this game all day. So we may try -5.5 -115. If a player likes the favorite we offer the best price. Yes he is paying an extra 5 cents but that is a cheap price to pay for a ½ point. Most books charge 10 cents for a half point.
Another thing we might do in this spot is use -6 -105. What this does is allow any favorite bettor to wager on the favorite at only a 5 cent lay instead of the normal 10 cents. Anytime the market place gives more choices it can only be good for the public. I can’t understand when someone criticizes this approach to bookmaking. We are offering an alternative that is a bettor deal than another painted number that someone could buy at 20 places. I will say this, if someone ever wants the painted number over what we are offering I’ll sell it to them every day of the week. It’s a better deal for WIT whenever someone bets a painted number.
TDS: Do the originators of the big moves play at your shop? If so, how do you handle their action? Do you limit their bet sizes? Do you “over move” the line when they play? If an originator plays a game at -6 do you move to -7 or -7.5 out of respect or do you go to -6.5, take a bet, then move again?
Or, are the bets coming in so fast at -6 that moving to 6.5 is a waste of time and moving to -7 or -7.5 is the only prudent option?
We welcome all players period. We treat everyone the same as far as limits go. On occasion we may allow someone to wager higher than our posted limits but never take less because someone is an originator or a terminator or anything else. How we move the line depends on many factors. Is it football or basketball? Can we get a bet back moving a ½ point or is a 1 ½ point move what we think is needed. What was the line to began with and what is the total. We may have an opinion and welcome the bet or hate the bet. Do we have reason to believe that the line may come back to the original number?
This bookmaking thing is an art. For those stores that just clone someone else’s numbers maybe in trouble with what to do. This is why many stores kick out anyone who may have a clue. Many times there just isn’t a thing one can do but get their butt kicked on some games. BMs that think they are not supposed to lose are not BMs.
TDS: What does the future hold for WIT?
The future is bright. We control how well we do by outworking the competition, having a better product, offering the player a bigger bang for his buck. That said we need to make the best decisions possible. We have a huge responsibility to our customers. We are holding their trust and their hard earned money. This is not some game where we can gamble with the customer’s money or be irresponsible in any manner. WIT will do fine in the future. I will add that anyone who thinks that this is an easy business, well they don’t have a clue.
TDS: If I’m a small bettor — let’s say I just want to send $300 or so and open an account. What does WIT offer this type of player?
An honest line not something shaded or what is referred to as a sucker line. Courtesy, respect, and professionalism. A 10% sign-up bonus with few strings attached. Low vig on our props, futures, and money lines. The lower vig is worth way more than some high sign-up bonus. In a few weeks we should have a great internet wagering system. Most of the time I am available to take any customers calls. You don’t have to be a million dollar account to talk with me, just call and ask, you should get right thru. Our customers are everything and nobody understands that more than we do at WIT Sports. He is going to get a huge menu of things to wager on. In baseball he will have the best lines in the business to fire at. Oh hell, we are going to make him happy.
TDS: You seem to be very giddy about the upcoming MLB season. Why?
We opened up last year in the middle of baseball and was just beginning to have some fun with it. We are promised some very heavy hitters this year and it will be a challenge to handle all this new-found business. I don’t want to announce quite yet what we are planning but its going to be good.
TDS: What is your opinion of parlaying run lines to the total in MLB?
Never thought of this question before, but off the top of my head it sounds dangerous. I need to look at this before the season starts and decide. Run lines are something I know nothing about. Thanks for bringing something up I need to think about.
TDS: By offering a 10 cent line in baseball, I assume you still intend to make money? Books that offer a 10 cent line seem to be a scalpers dream. It seems as though this would be a nightmare for the books. How do you intend to overcome this?
Volume is one answer. Making a sharper number. Not allowing someone to scalp with credit is another. Guys with no bankroll should not have the keys to the vault. Anyone who thinks they can just scalp without giving me some action might not always get the amounts down they want. If we are only good enough when our price is out of whack, than maybe they are only good enough for the amount I want. Fair works two ways not one. I believe our customers are everything, but someone who only uses us to scalp maybe isn’t a customer. The beauty of the marketplace is with more scalpers the less a game may run. Remember these guys are in competition with each other and they tend to cut each other’s profit.
TDS: By using a 10 cent line, don’t you fear getting your teeth handed to you in the baseball season by the professional bettors?
Lets look at the best and the worst:
The best would be we win every day and make a ton of money. That would allow us to do more cool things in the future. We could take bigger wagers for football, pay bonuses to our employees, give raises to those that are deserving. Advertise more and grow into a larger business.
Now the worst: We could lose everyday and be forced to cut our limits. Maybe lose so much that we decide not to continue in this business. Pay everybody off and I get the rest of my life to do as I like. No more 100 hour weeks, no more having to be responsible for 40 employees and hundreds of customer accounts.
Neither of these things are likely to happen. I’m sure the answer lies somewhere in-between. If you book properly and within your means there is nothing to fear. We have a good bankroll here, we are also professionals at what we do. I am surrounded by great people and we are confident with what we do. I would hate to see WIT Sports not be a successful business but if that were to happen we would leave the market place with the same class we entered with. I don’t fear anything to do with this business at this point in my life, but I do have respect.
TDS: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us. Please let everyone know how they may reach you.
I would again like to thank Heath for this opportunity to present my point of view about WIT and this industry. I hope most people will find this worth their time to read. If in anyway we at WIT can be of service, well please call I’ve got a lot of good people ready to serve your needs.
thedailyspread.com | February 10th, 2001