March Madness Begets Bookies’ Bonanza

Huge Volume and Upsets Make Their Day, The Interactive Gaming Summit, and not-go-good journalist cum handicappers.

With March Madness morphing into Upset City, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been a bonanza for bookmakers.

Two No. 1 seeds, along with three no. 2 and three no. 3 seeds, bit the dust as Christmas came early for sports books. They reaped the kind of windfall profits that accompanies huge volume when favorites don’t win or cover.

The pundits and “experts” had mixed results. Sports Illustrated was a so-so 9-7 in picking teams to advance to the Sweet 16. However, it has only two of its final four selections still alive.

The Scripps Howard News Service, which is printed in the Las Vegas Sun, had several prescient picks along with a few clunkers. Among their forgettable selections, the following probably left the service’s oddsmaker a little red-faced:

Stanford: “Has look of a champion.”
Temple: “Have talent to finally get to promised land.”
Indiana: “Have Sweet 16 talent for a change.”
St. John’s: “Surging Redmen could surpass last year’s Elite Eight run.”
Syracuse: “Closing with 3 straight losses makes early exit possible.”
But these picks indicate his crystal ball wasn’t completely fogged up:
Arizona: “With Woods a question mark, reaching Final Four will be a struggle.”
Iowa State: “First Big 12 title could spark Final Four aspirations.”
Florida: “Elite Eight and maybe more.”

Dime Line Furor Continues. Our last column, which detailed the meeting of off shore books’ decision to gravitate toward the 20-cent line in baseball, generated quite a response.

Several of you interpreted our factual reportage as support for the plan to phase out the dime line. Sorry to say, you’re not the sharpest tools in the shed. While we favor the ideal of unity among bookmakers, we said nothing to suggest agreement with plans to phase out the dime line.

Joey 1010 asked us to print a list of those books still offering the 10-cent baseball line and to have readers send additional names in order to compile a good list. Here are some of the books that are on record as stating that they will stick with the 10-cent line: Pinnacle, Royal, Gold Medal, Skybook, Premiere League, Caribi, Grand Central, Aces Gold/Sports Market, and several of the other books on Margarita.

However, a more comprehensive list is being put together at the Oddswiz posting forum on Bettorsworld (

Speaking of the Oddswiz, we were exchanging ideas with him the other day, and he expressed shock at the off shore books’ oversight in missing an alternative plan that he believes is preferable to what was agreed upon.

Oddswiz noted that a reasonable compromise is available, which would defuse the issue of killing the 10-cent line. His suggestion is that the books use the dime line up to maybe 1.30, then go to a 15-cent line, and then to 20 cents at another price point.

His idea makes especially good sense, because it is likely that neither side –bookies nor bettors – would embrace it wholeheartedly. That, of course, is the essence of compromise. It certainly sounds more palatable than going cold turkey to a 20-cent line.

Hear Lefty Rosenthal and Jimmy Vaccaro. On the last edition of The Winning Line radio show, two of the most respected and revered sports betting authorities in Las Vegas aired their thoughts on a variety of topics.

Lefty gave his views on the movie Casino, sports betting in Vegas and off shore, and his pick for the team to win the NCAA Tournament (the team is still alive), and a team that would not make it.

Jimmy banters with Lefty, relives past moments in sports wagering history, and gives out some NCAA plays (2-0) as well as a top seed, which he correctly said “doesn’t get there”.

Check it out at Just click on The Winning Line banner at the top of the page. The show is on the Audio Vegas section of Rolling Good Times Online, and will be archived there.

Next show airs live Thursday, 8-9 Pacific time.

Interactive Gaming Summit. Seminars that will update what’s happening with the interactive gaming world will be featured at an upcoming Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo, scheduled for May 10-12 in Montreal.

Marketing issues, payment solutions, legal concerns and an examination of progress toward international regulatory cooperation will be addressed.

Sports Book Scene will have a reporter attending the conference, who will provide highlights of action on issues pertaining to sports betting.

More than 500 gaming industry leaders are expected to attend. For more information, go to, or call Mariah Echele at (636) 946-0820.

Another Off Shore Horse Racing Out. Win, place and show bets on horse wagers at 10 leading tracks are now being accepted online by Grand Central Sports.

Current online limits are $10 to $100 on across-the-board bets. Daily doubles, exactas, quinellas and other exotics will be offered soon, as will a lower limit of $2 on bets, said racing manager Peter Jacoby.

For more information, visit | March 20th, 2000

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly

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