Sports Book Scene April 24th 2000

Off Shore BMs Urged to Organize To Solve Issues of Mutual Concern, Innovative BMs the College betting ban and more…

If there is any group that perceives itself as free spirits and independent operators, it is bookmakers.

Certainly, the notion of banding together in any organized fashion like, say, an, ugh, union, isn’t going to rally many of these troops.

Nonetheless, in recent weeks there have been instances when bookmakers acted in concert to protect their interests, or to advance a cause.

We’re referring specifically to the meeting in Costa Rica last month to discuss a standardized baseball line, and the one in Antigua that was held to set a course of action, in fighting government attempts to use electronic monitoring of handle, pursuant to imposing taxes.

As the off shore industry matures, growing competition, new technology, scams by bettors and the need for convenient payout procedures are just some of the thorny issues confronting sports books.

While there are loosely aligned books that provide ad hoc cooperation among themselves, there is yet to be any organized group that is dealing with these problems for the betterment of the industry.

One bookmaker is tired of the relative isolation and limited impact a single shop can effect.  He thinks those who are running the top stores should take a little more responsibility toward solving the negative issues that confront them all.

Billy Cosas, marketing director for Loose Lines (www.looselines.com) and a veteran bookmaker both off shore and stateside, would like to see the operators work together to address the myriad issues confronting them.

He cited marketing as an area that needs some agreement on setting parameters for incentives and bonuses used to obtain customers.

“Too many books are giving away too much in going after new signups,” he stated.  “I wouldn’t presume to tell anyone how to run their business, but it is obvious that operating at a loss to get new players isn’t smart.  And every time some incompetent fool goes belly up just because he didn’t understand the downside to giving away the store, it affects all of us,” he added.

Greater cooperation on scams and frauds would save everyone a lot of money and trouble, said Billy.

He would also like to see more quick collect companies servicing off shore books.

If bookmakers applied the same business principles for areas of mutual concern that are in use throughout virtually every other industry, huge savings could be made by everyone, Cosas advised.

The logical time to hold a meeting would be around the All Star Game in July, he suggested.  “That’s a pretty quiet period, and most of us could get away for a few days and take care of business.”

Given the preponderance of books doing business in Costa Rica, he thinks that would be a logical place to hold such a meeting.  Billy is not advocating forming anything like a trade organization.  He simply believes that as a group the books could do more to solve their common problems than by operating as lone wolves.

He even feels it would be worthwhile for vendors to attend.  Software, telecommunications and other companies that service off shore gaming would have an opportunity to network and show off their new products to a large group of prospects.

Billy realizes some books might scoff at his concept, but said if there is serious interest in trying to put together such a meeting, he would like to get the ball rolling.

Billy can be reached at 1-800-IS-LUCKY or via the book’s website.

Innovative BMs.  When most of us sit around musing, “What If?” usually nothing comes of it.

But when bookmakers start conjuring up fanciful notions, it can give the rest of us something to chew on, and eventually provide a challenge to put our money where our mouth is.

Such was the case recently, when William J. Caesar and his merry band at Antigua-based Carib Sportsbook (www.caribsports.com) had some spare time on their hands.  Sitting around the campfire under the Caribbean moon, they came up with some provocative current event-oriented props.

These boys must watch CNN a lot, and only at Carib can we bet on the following propositions:

* Will Elián González touch Cuban soil by July 31, 2000?  Yes –175, No +145.

* Will Patsy Ramsey confess or be charged with her daughter’s death by December 31, 2000?  Yes Even, No –120.

* Odds to host 2000 Summer Olympics Games:  Beijing 6-5, Toronto 3-1, Paris 4-1, Toronto 3-1, Japan 8-1, Turkey 10-1, Spain 15-1, Havana 125-1.

College Betting Ban.  One bettor has an idea of how the betting ban originated.  Lapikada writes:  “Let’s thank ESPN for planting a seed to these clueless idiots who want to ban legal wagering on college and pros.  That show, ‘Outside the Lines’ egged em on.  A year ago, the thought of making legal sports wagering illegal didn’t pass through anyone’s mind.  Now look.”
thedailyspread.com | April 24th, 2000

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

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