Downsizing of Las Vegas Sports Betting is the Dark Side of LV Hilton Sale
There is a new face in the Las Vegas casino industry, sort of.
The good news is Park Place Entertainment is selling the Las Vegas Hilton. The bad news is, it is being bought by the owner of Silverton Hotel/Casino, located a few miles out of town on the I-15, which has no sports book.
Ed Roski, who is co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings, is buying the Hilton property reportedly with the intention of changing its marketing thrust from high end players to a slot house with upscale restaurants and entertainment.
According to local media coverage, Roski does not plan to shut down the Super Book, as the sports book is called by Hilton.
Another sports book, at the Fiesta, whose owners control the Sacramento Kings, cannot accept sports bets on the NBA. When Caesars Palace was owned by ITT Corp., whose subsidiaries included the New York Knicks and Rangers, C.P. was precluded from taking bets on pro hoops and the NHL.
So, Roski is going to keep the Super Book open. Big deal! He won’t be able to book pro baskets and hockey. Maybe they’ll remove Super from the name of the book, if in fact it remains in operation.
Local sharps love to complain about Art Manteris, Hilton’s VP of race and sports book operations. It’s true, Manteris clamps down on wiseguys, but he’s not hypocritical about it. Under his stewardship, it was a busy book because casual and recreational players were well treated.
The trend toward eschewing wiseguy business or sharply limiting it is the prevailing trend not only in the desert, but off shore as well.
Let’s face it, an independent, stand-alone book that doesn’t offer two big-time betting sports is not destined to be a major, or even a minor, player. Meanwhile, the sports betting industry here is doing a half-gainer off the high board into an empty swimming pool.
As it plummets toward the inevitable crash landing, this industry in Las Vegas is only a shadow of its former self. When it splashes into oblivion, will it make enough noise so that anybody notices?
Heading into what could be the last big football season in Vegas, players are blissfully going about the business of handicapping. As dark clouds gather, bettors are trying to figure out things like whether the Redskins really should be pre-season favorites to win the Super Bowl. But in the executive tower, the suits are probably planning for life after sports betting.
Between societal, legislative and economic pressures, the local sports betting industry is starting to reek of the same desperation as an NFL quarterback trying to escape the clutches of a rapidly closing Warren Sapp.
Talking About Wiseguys. Here is a perfect example of why sports books loathe taking wiseguy action. In the All Star Game Home Run Derby, Las Vegas Sports Consultants had Sammy Sosa as part of the field at 6-1, since there was no indication the Cub slugger would participate.
However, on Monday, word got out that Sosa would indeed be in the competition, which he subsequently won.
William J. Caesar, of Carib Sports Book (www.caribsports.com), noted that LVSC was a little late in relaying the information to the book. Given the number of wiseguys and sharps playing at Carib, it didn’t take long for phone lines and cyberspace to be inundated with bettors jumping on the mistake.
A spokesman for LVSC told SBS that each year it is a difficult task to get reliable, current information for something that is a fun event from Major League Baseball’s perspective. “But for us it is a betting event, and every year it is a battle to determine who is in or not in the Derby,” he said.
By the time Carib got word of the addition of Sosa to the home run contest, its sharp players were pounding the field at the generous overlay.
William J. Caesar is generally unflappable, and this little glitch didn’t faze him in the least. He was a little annoyed that LVSC didn’t get Carib the word a little faster.
“We’re a bookmaking operation, and we’re only as good as the information we get. But that’s not the concern of our players,” he asserted.
Carib paid off everyone who got in on the bet, “because that’s the way Carib does business,” said Caesar.
“What’s a few hundred thousand dollars among friends?” he chuckled.
New Book on the Block. It is not often we get a press release announcing the opening of a new sports book, especially a genuinely informative release.
But that’s how WIT Sports trumpeted its entry into the off shore business. It opens the betting windows Saturday, July 15, and will accommodate “sporting enthusiasts of all stripes with fair odds, high limits, low takeouts, and an unremitting commitment to customer service,” says the press release.
Sunday night is when the book will release pointspreads for the upcoming week in college and NFL football.
Our good buddy Arne Lang wrote the news release, and will be producing gaming commentary for the WIT website. Arne is a veteran handicapper and sports radio personality who was affiliated with the Stardust Hotel.
To commemorate its launch, WIT Sports offers a 10 percent signup bonus with a maximum deposit of $5,000. Check out the book’s website at www.witsportsbook.com, or call 1-800-262-7857 for more information.
And for those who might wonder, what the heck does WIT stand for, we’ll tell you. So dedicated is management at this off shore sports betting emporium, that they will do Whatever It Takes to service players, hence the name.
thedailyspread.com | July 14th, 2000
– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly