Sports Book Scene February 23rd 2000

Canadian Book Offers Bettors Fair Alternative to Dime Line, and Who Says Politicos Are Sappy? This and more in Wed. edition of Sports Book Scene

Canadian Book Offers Bettors Fair Alternative to Dime Line It happens every spring – a young man’s fancy turns to – what else? – betting on baseball.

Truth be told, our old National Pastime isn’t all that popular as a betting sport. But it should be, since it is a singularly beatable game.

Most bookmakers look forward to baseball with the same eagerness they would a dentist’s appointment for a root canal. That’s because the public doesn’t wager much on baseball, but wiseguys do.

The lack of balance between square and sharp money puts our beady-eyed friends at risk. Unlike football, they can’t move the line to make the player lose, since baseball odds are posted as money lines not point spreads.

The one saving grace for bookmakers is that frequently the main syndicates will be on opposite sides of the same game.

When last we checked with off shore books that offer a dime line, some were contemplating going to a 20-cent line this summer. The only thing holding them back is a reluctance to lose customers in a competitive market.

We recently spoke with a Canadian-based off shore book that has compromised between the 10-cent line, which favors the player, and a 20-cent line, which increases the house edge dramatically.

Sports Interaction,, located in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (Quebec), has been operating since early 1999, under the direction of Jim Magner, and offers a 15-cent line in baseball. S.I. claims it is the first online sports book to be based and regulated in North America. It is overseen by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

Explaining the book’s approach to baseball, Magner said, “It’s a mixture of wanting to keep bettors happy, or using the 10-cent line, which we consider totally unprofitable.” He noted that, “Baseball is the real punter’s game, and we felt the 15-cent line was equitable.”

Hint to those off shores that are cogitating over what to do for this coming season. If you must abandon the 10-cent line, there is a competitive alternative to the 20-cent line.

Magner helped develop software that was used by E-Z Bets in the Dominican Republic. His group is constantly upgrading its capabilities, and will use the quiet period this summer to redevelop S.I.’s website. One of his plans is to offer wagering via email.

Meanwhile, during the basketball season, the book posts overnight lines on Fridays for the big weekend schedule.

We’ll cover Sports Interaction with a full feature story in the next issue of Players Choice, which resumes distribution the week of March Madness.

Who Says Politicos Are Sappy? Those wonderful folks from “Pork Barrel” country have identified a national crisis: an epidemic of college betting scandals.

Moreover, Senator Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, knows how to cure the sickness. He is sponsoring a bill to prohibit legal gambling on high school, college and Olympic sports. He noted that there were 10 college gambling scandals throughout the 1990s, far more than in previous decades. With the convoluted reasoning we expect from our elected representatives, he reasoned that large bets booked in Las Vegas are the main culprits.

There is no point in reciting a litany of rebuttals to the Senator’s weird and pathetically erroneous perspective. Rather, we’ll post his words, which graphically reflect a lightweight and woefully intellectually challenged point of view:

“It is unseemly and inappropriate to bet on the athletic success of America’s young people,” Brownback stated when the bill was introduced. | February 23rd, 2000

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

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