The Alliance of American Football (AAF or “The Alliance” as CBS calls it) kicked off its inaugural season over the weekend. The new professional football league is presenting itself as a minor league of sorts to the NFL. In fact, 81 percent of the players in the AAF have been under contract with an NFL team.
The AAF is also keenly aware that as a professional alternative to the NFL they have to do things differently. Between slightly augmented rules, a focus on technology, a different type of TV production, and openness to gambling the games were reasons to check out the new league.
All in all, it got off to a (mostly) great start out of the gate.
AAF on television
The first AAF game on TV was one of the best football viewing experiences in years. The game flowed very nicely with minimal interruptions. There are no kickoffs in the new league so play just starts. There may or may not be a short commercial break after a touchdown. The play clock is only 30 seconds so there’s shorter downtime between plays.
The game between the San Diego Fleet and San Antonio Commanders was a delight to watch. Unlike the NFL and college football, there were few stoppages of play for penalties or commercials. There are no TV timeouts and about half the commercials as an NFL broadcast.
Game action is one of the reasons why football is so popular. The games were over in three hours or less on opening weekend. Not too shabby.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) February 10, 2019
Hitting is another reason football is so popular. The hit above would be a 15-yard penalty in the NFL. The hit would probably be targeting with a long review for a player to potentially be removed from the game in college football. This was just another play on the opening weekend of the AAF.
Overall, the players could have performed better but the production of a football game broadcast is off to a good start.
Watching and wagering on NFL games becomes more difficult every year. There’s a feeling that players, referees, and broadcaster don’t understand the rules. Replays are even worse than regular game action.
There’s often a long pause in the game and two or three announcers discuss plays amongst themselves than with a “rules analyst.” It seems as though nobody agrees and the ref often calls the opposite of the TV announcers without a reason for the call.
The long break in game action of the NFL games is boring and it seems as though nobody knows the rules because there’s no transparency from the league. Fans are often frustrated by the lack of continuity in the game. Bettors just want consistent calls in order to make the best bets.
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 10, 2019
The AAF might be onto something with their replay system. The league has a “sky judge” replay official at each game. This replay official can stop play at any time to double check the officials on the field. They can also review challenged calls by coaches. This is a review that doesn’t last more than two minutes.
The process is quick and transparent and one of the more popular additions to the football broadcast. There weren’t any controversial calls and viewers seem happy with the process.
A ratings winner … sort of
The first AAF broadcast on CBS drew a 2.1 overnight rating. More people watched the first AAF game than the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on ABC. Opening night was a winner, but that success won’t last long.
The AAF has multiple television partners. Much like Major League Baseball playoff games on multiple channels, it could become slightly confusing trying to find AAF games.
The league has deals to show games on CBS Sports, NFL Network, TNT, B/R Live and their own app. There won’t be a game on CBS again until the Championship game. Traditional broadcast TV still gets better overall rating than cable or streaming channels. The splintered audience looking for games will likely bring ratings down.
The Arizona Hotshots vs. Salt Lake Stallions game on NFL Network had a 0.4 overnight rating. That might not be bad for NFL Network on a Sunday afternoon in the off-season but it’s not the same as that 2.1 rating on the opening night.
Ratings don’t alter the overall viewing experience. However, they do matter for the longevity of the league. Fans of the new football league should root for them to do well so there are more games in the future.
AAF gambling and fantasy
Nevada sportsbooks seem to be all about betting on The Alliance. Just about every sportsbook had lines and totals to bet on games this weekend. A few sportsbooks offered preseason AAF futures odds. The AAF even flew some sportsbook personnel to San Antonio to catch some games before the season started.
Unfortunately, few sportsbooks outside of Nevada offered odds on the first week of AAF games. Even where betting on the AAF was available it was limited to pregame action. There were no in-play or live betting options available. This kept the betting action to a minimum.
AAF betting in Nevada sportsbooks varied by location, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. Handle on the NFL Pro Bowl was five times more than the first batch of AAF games at Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks. Meanwhile, it was equal to an average college basketball game at the Westgate SuperBook.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 10, 2019
The AAF fantasy game wasn’t ready for the opening weekend. The in-app game can be seen but the prediction part isn’t ready. This might be a bit frustrating for fantasy players looking to pick plays once it becomes available.
The animated player tracking of the game in the app is live and slightly ahead of cable broadcasts. It’s about two plays ahead of streaming broadcasts. Those issues aside, it looks super cool for players that don’t need everything in sync.
There’s definitely something good about the AAF. The players weren’t great but they weren’t awful and should get better. Gameplay should improve as players have time in the new systems.
The games were fun to watch on television. The streamlined broadcast offers almost non-stop action. The new league might not be front of mind for everyone but it’s definitely a fun way to spend a few hours on a weekend.
Caesars was the first sportsbook operator in the US to open betting on 2019 Major League Baseball season win totals in January. This marked the first time that Caesars was the first to market with MLB season win totals.
The Houston Astros opened with the highest posted win total in MLB with 97.5. Their win total is followed closely by two other American League teams: New York Yankees (96.5) and Boston Red Sox (95.5).
The Los Angeles Dodgers lead the way in the National League with 95 wins. The Baltimore Orioles have the lowest win total posted at Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks with just 59 wins.
MLB season win totals
Betting on season win totals is similar to wagering on point totals for games. Bettors choose whether the total number of games a team wins during the season will be over or under the posted total. All MLB win totals are starting at -110 but could change as wagers are placed.
|Team||2019 Caesars Total||2018 Record|
|Boston Red Sox||95.5||108-54|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||95||92-71|
|New York Yankees||94.5||100-62|
|St. Louis Cardinals||88.5||88-74|
|Tampa Bay Rays||85.5||90-72|
|Los Angeles Angels||83.5||80-82|
|New York Mets||83.5||77-85|
|San Diego Padres||77.5||66-96|
|Toronto Blue Jays||76.5||73-89|
|Chicago White Sox||74.5||62-100|
|San Francisco Giants||73||73-89|
|Kansas City Royals||69||58-104|
Where to wager on win totals
The totals were first launched in Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks in Nevada:
Las Vegas: Bally’s, Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, Flamingo, The Linq, Harrah’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Rio
Laughlin: Harrah’s Laughlin
Reno: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Reno, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
About an hour later the MLB win totals were made available at Caesars Entertainment casinos in New Jersey and Mississippi:
Caesars is first to post
MLB futures have been posted since the end of the season. However, Jan. 8 is a bit early to launch MLB win totals. Even a month later, big name free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still available for teams to offer contracts. There are also trade rumors and many more players available via free agency. The hot stove for MLB isn’t quite turned all the way up.
Since Caesars Entertainment is posting the win totals so early the maximum wager is $1,000. However, if a bettor has been limited by Caesars Entertainment, they will only be able to wager their limit.
As you’d expect the MLB win totals are also available for mobile betting in New Jersey and Nevada. Mississippi doesn’t offer mobile sports wagering yet.
Super Bowl betting in 2019 told different stories for sportsbooks in New Jersey and Nevada. The sportsbooks on the east coast saw heavy sports betting action on the winning New England Patriots. The west coast sportsbook operators saw more balanced action with more Los Angeles Rams bets than their east coast brethren.
New Jersey Super Bowl revenue
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) announced preliminary wagering revenue for the 2019 Super Bowl on Monday. The NJDGE will have official wagering information when they release the usual monthly reports later in February. The first Super Bowl for New Jersey sportsbook operators was a losing proposition.
Brick and mortar casinos in Atlantic City and Horse Tracks around the state along with mobile sportsbooks took $34,894,900 in wagers. They paid out a total of $39,469,147 from those wagers. In total New Jersey sportsbook operators lost $4,574,247 or 13 percent from wagers on the Super Bowl.
FanDuel Sportsbook estimates that it had a net loss of around $5 million on Super Bowl bets. That number included free bets, which accounted for a “significant” percentage of the losses, according to Legal Sports Report.
DraftKings Sportsbook paid out about $11 million to customers after the Big Game and lost more than $1 million.
Both sportsbooks had a similar amount of money wagered on the Patriots. A little more than 68 percent of money wagered on both the point spread and moneyline at DraftKings was on the Patriots. FanDuel saw even more action on the Patriots with approximately 75 percent of the action on the Super Bowl winner.
East coast sports bettors bet on the east coast team to win the Super Bowl. This isn’t too much of a surprise given the anecdotal evidence of regional sports bettors favor local teams. Next year already seems to be lining up to have a similar result for DraftKings in New Jersey. The most popular NFL futures to win the 2020 Super Bowl are:
- New York Giants
- Philadelphia Eagles
- New England Patriots
If the Giants somehow win the Super Bowl next year, DraftKings will already be behind the eightball paying out futures wagers that are currently at 33-1.
Nevada Super Bowl revenue
Nevada sportsbook operators had a much better result after the Super Bowl even though total handle was down from last year. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, sportsbooks around the state took in $145,939,025 in wagers. Sportsbooks won $10,780,319 for a hold of 7.4 percent.
The handle on the 2019 Super Bowl was lower than the record $158,586,934 wagered on the Big Game last year. This is the first year in at least 11 years that the amount wagered on the Super Bowl hasn’t increased in Nevada.
Even with the lower handle on the Super Bowl, most sportsbooks came out a winner. According to ESPN’s David Purdum, Caesars Entertainment (NV only), CG Technology, MGM Resorts International, South Point, Station Casinos, Westgate and William Hill (NV only) had a winning Super Bowl.
One thing to remember is that futures bets are included in Super Bowl revenue reports. Since the Patriots were among the favorites all season the sportsbooks didn’t have a big payout for futures. This helped fuel the bottom line win for Nevada sportsbooks. New Jersey sportsbooks didn’t have as much time to collect futures so they didn’t have as much potentially profitable revenue to offset their losses.
While the overall results seem positive, the lack of another record-breaking handle is surely a disappointment. As soon as the Super Bowl matchup was made sportsbook operators told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they expected another record handle this year.
Lead image via FanDuel
The National Football League (NFL) season might be over, but the thirst for football never goes away. Sure the NFL combine and draft will satisfy the need for some but there’s no legal betting on that in the US.
Have no fear. The Alliance of American Football (AAF) season kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 9. The AAF is a new professional football league founded by producer Charlie Ebersol (son of NBC executive Dick Ebersol) and former NFL general manager Bill Polian.
They will operate the AAF as a non-NFL developmental football league. In other words, the AAF will serve as an unaffiliated minor league to the NFL. The AAF is taking a new approach to a startup football league.
They aren’t just providing teams and games and hoping for the best. In 2018 the league signed a partnership with MGM Resorts. The league and casino operator will work closely on technology, marketing, fantasy sports, and traditional gambling.
This doesn’t appear to be a fly by night league and they’re taking gambling seriously as a part of how they market the league. They even flew out members from the Westgate Superbook and other sportsbook operators to check out the games a couple weeks ago. Westgate Vice President of Sports Operations Jay Kornegay told TheLines, “The league employs coaches with solid resumes, has young talent, on national TV, and they’re very well organized.”
The SuperBook isn’t the only sportsbook operator that will take bets on AAF games. But they are the first sportsbook with AAF futures odds:
- Arizona Hotshots +250
- Salt Lake Stallions +400
- San Antonio Commanders +500
- Orlando Apollos +500
- Atlanta Legends +500
- San Diego Fleet +1000
- Memphis Express +1000
- Birmingham Iron +1000
AAF games will be easy to watch. Games can be watched on their mobile app, CBS networks, and they recently signed a deal with Turner to be on TNT and B/R Live. AAF will be the first league to offer free games to watch via B/R Live.
Most of the teams in the AAF are employing players and coaches with big names that most college football fans will be familiar with:
- Arizona Hotshots: Head coach Rick Neuheisel, QB Trevor Knight (Oklahoma)
- Atlanta Legends: Head coach Kevin Coyle (previously Brad Childress), offensive coordinator Mike Vick, QB Aaron Murray (Georgia), WR Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech)
- Birmingham Iron: Head coach Tim Lewis, QB Blake Sims (Alabama), RB Trent Richardson (Alabama), QB Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin)
- Memphis Express: Head coach Mike Singletary, QB Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), QB Zach Mettenberger (LSU)
- Orlando Apollos: Head coach Steve Spurrier
- Salt Lake Stallions: Head coach Dennis Erickson
- San Antonio Commanders: Head coach Mike Riley
- San Diego Fleet: Head coach Mike Martz, RB Bishop Sankey (Washington)
AAF is scheduling games to be played on Saturday and Sunday starting this weekend. Sportsbooks should be posting individual game lines a few days before each clash.
Super Bowl Sunday update: The Patriots showered Bill Belichick with blue Gatorade after their 13-3 victory over the Rams.
By law, all sports bets in Nevada have to be confirmed by statistics from leagues on events that typically happen on the playing field. This is why “fun” Super Bowl prop bets like the length of time for the National Anthem or halftime performances have only been offered offshore.
Well, some New Jersey sportsbooks are flipping the script on sports betting in America by taking wagers new prop bets that have never been available in US sportsbooks. DraftKings Sportsbook, BetStars and FanDuel Sportsbook are all offering a few prop bets that aren’t related to the actual Super Bowl game being played.
Here’s a look at some of the new legal prop bets you’ll only find in New Jersey sportsbooks:
DraftKings novelty prop bets
- The color of Gatorade shower
- Bill Belichick to retire after game?
- Rob Gronkowski to retire after the game?
- Tom Brady to retire after the game?
FanDuel extra props
- The first color of Gatorade dunked over winning coach
- Tom Brady to retire by end of day Monday 2/4
- Rob Gronkowski to retire by end of day Monday 2/4
BetStars novelty props
- Color of Gatorade to be poured on winning coach
- First TD celebration of the game
Gatorade odds at FanDuel
The most talked about off-the-field Super Bowl prop bet always seems to be “What color Gatorade will be poured on the winning coach?” The odds at FanDuel on this bet are:
- Clear +200
- Orange +350
- Yellow +350
- Blue +400
- Red +500
As the Big Game approaches, orange has more wagers at FanDuel sportsbook than any other color of Gatorade that might be poured over Sean McVay or Bill Belichick. Nearly 40 percent of Gatorade shower wagers have been placed on orange at FanDuel.
One of the longer shots, blue (+500), has the second most wagers for Gatorade color with 27 percent of the wagers at FanDuel Sportsbook. Yellow has 20 percent of wagers on the Gatorade shower at FanDuel. Clear only has 9 percent of wagers at this time. Red has the fewest wagers with 4 percent of the action at FanDuel Sportsbook
Is Todd Gurley trying to help?
Rams running back Todd Gurley doesn’t care about your bets or fantasy team. He might have been having a little fun on the twitter last week.
— St. Louis Dales (@justinnunnn) January 23, 2019
It’s entirely possible Todd Gurley is just joking around with this response to the Rams Gatorade choice on Twitter. It’s also possible this tweet is the reason that Clear is the favorite at FanDuel and DraftKings where it’s also the +200 favorite for this bet.
New Jersey sportsbooks offering more than sports
These new prop bets in New Jersey helped pave the way for unique sportsbook offerings. It didn’t even take 24 hours for a sportsbook to post odds on the Academy Award after the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that they will allow sportsbooks to take wagers on the movie awards.
Wagering on the Academy Awards is currently only a guarantee for the awards show on February 24, 2019. There’s no guarantee that there New Jersey sportsbooks will be able to take wagers on other non-sports events in the future.
The new betting markets and unique prop bets that were previously only available offshore are a sign that New Jersey is trying to create a new sportsbook model in the US. New Jersey regulators might be creating a competitive sportsbook marketplace for gamblers that might only have played at offshore sportsbooks in the past.
Nevada sportsbooks have been longing to offer odds on non-sporting events for years. Last year, the Nevada Gaming Control Board took a small step forward allowing sportsbook operators to take bets on the Golden Tee World Championship that was held at the Orleans.
Well, New Jersey is taking non-sports betting to a new level in 2019. After receiving numerous requests, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement will allow wagering on the 2019 Academy Awards.
Betting on the annual film awards is a one-time-only wagering opportunity for the time being. Due to potential integrity issues, the state is only offering pre-event betting on The Oscars can be offered for this year only.
The Academy Awards take place on February 24.
This is so new that sportsbooks in New Jersey haven’t opened betting on the Oscars yet. While we don’t have confirmation, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see DraftKings Sportsbook lead the way with Oscars wagering.
DraftKings director of operations, Johnny Avello, previously offered Oscars betting odds for “entertainment purposes only” while at Wynn Las Vegas. His experience producing odds for the Oscars goes back at least 10 years.
And the Oscar goes to…
Betting on the Oscars is traditionally something only offered for relatively low limits at offshore sportsbooks. This will be the first time US sportsbooks will be able to offer odds and take bets on a non-sports award show.
Details still haven’t been released for which categories New Jersey sportsbooks will offer odds. While there might not be odds on the best “Best Documentary Short Subject,” there will likely be odds for the most popular category. The 2019 Oscars’ “Best Picture” nominees are:
- “Black Panther”
- “Bohemian Rhapsody”
- “The Favourite”
- “Green Book”
- “A Star Is Born”
Expect to hear more about this as New Jersey sportsbooks begin to open up betting for the 2019 Acadamy Awards.
The Super Bowl is the most popular sporting event of the year. Not only do millions of people watch the Big Game on TV but plenty of people wager, legally and illegally, on the Super Bowl. There were more than $150 million in legal wagers on the Super Bowl in Nevada alone in 2018.
There should be even more money bet on the Super Bowl in the US this year thanks to more states legalizing sports betting.
Betting on the Super Bowl around the US
More money is legally wagered on the Super Bowl in Nevada than any other single day event. That number should grow thanks to the repeal of the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018.
This year more states than ever will take legal sports wagers on the Super Bowl. In addition to gambling on the Super Bowl in Nevada, sports fans can legally wager on the Super Bowl in the following US states:
Increasing amounts of money legally wagered on the Super Bowl in the US is just getting started. This should see another increase in 2019 as more states legalize sports gambling. That’s a story to be told next year.
Super Bowl betting in Nevada breaking records
The handle (amount of money wagered) on the Super Bowl in Nevada has increased every year since 2016. Last year a record of $158,586,934 was wagered on the Super Bowl in Nevada. Sports bettors did quite well as the sportsbooks won less than one percent of the wagers.
All together, Nevada sportsbooks won $1,170,432 or 0.7 percent of wagers placed on the Super Bowl in 2018. While some years are more profitable than others for Nevada sportsbooks have only lost money on two Super Bowls since 1991. The most recent losing Super Bowl for Nevada sportsbooks was 2008 when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14.
Betting on the Super Bowl in Nevada is quite different than football games throughout the year. The vast majority of football bets during the regular season are on a team or total. During the Super Bowl, that only counts for about half the wagers on the game. Prop bets account for the other half of wagers on the Super Bowl and they’re more popular than ever before.
Nevada Sports Betting Handle/Revenue Since 2000
|Year||Game||Handle||Revenue||Books W/L %|
|2018||Philadelphia vs. New England||$158,586,934||$1,170,432||0.7%|
|2017||New England vs. Atlanta||$138,480,136||$10,937,826||7.9%|
|2016||Denver vs. Carolina||$132,545,587||$13,314,539||10.1%|
|2015||New England vs. Seattle||$115,986,086||$3,261,066||2.8%|
|2014||Seattle vs. Denver||$119,400,000||$19,700,000||16.5%|
|2013||Baltimore vs. San Francisco||$98,936,798||$7,206,460||7.3%|
|2012||NY Giants vs. New England||$93,899,840||$5,064,470||5.4%|
|2011||Green Bay vs. Pittsburgh||$87,491,098||$724,176||0.8%|
|2010||New Orleans vs. Indianapolis||$82,726,367||$6,857,101||8.3%|
|2009||Pittsburgh vs. Arizona||$81,514,748||$6,678,044||8.2%|
|2008||N.Y. Giants vs. New England||$92,055,833||-$2,573,103||-2.8%|
|2007||Indianapolis vs. Chicago||$93,067,358||$12,930,175||13.9%|
|2006||Pittsburgh vs. Seattle||$94,534,372||$8,828,431||9.3%|
|2005||New England vs. Philadelphia||$90,759,236||$15,430,138||17%|
|2004||New England vs. Carolina||$81,242,191||$12,440,698||15.3%|
|2003||Tampa Bay vs. Oakland||$71,693,032||$5,264,963||7.3%|
|2002||New England vs. St. Louis||$71,513,304||$2,331,607||3.3%|
|2001||Baltimore vs. New York Giants||$67,661,425||$11,002,636||16.3%|
|2000||St. Louis vs. Tennessee||$71,046,751||$4,237,978||6%|
Betting on the 2019 Super Bowl in the US
It didn’t take much time for bettors in Nevada to place big Super Bowl bets. ESPN reports that there were at least two wagers of more than $100,000 just after the New England Patriots vs. Los Angeles Rams game was confirmed on Sunday evening.
Regardless of the teams playing in the Big Game, sportsbook operators told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they’re expecting another record handle in Nevada on the Super Bowl. That’s just the beginning of how much will be wagered on the Super Bowl in 2019.
According to a Morning Consult/American Gaming Association survey, approximately 22.7 million of all Americans will wager approximately $6 billion on the 2019 Super Bowl. That’s nearly 10 percent of all Americans.
However, most of the money bet on the Super Bowl will still be illegal. The AGA expects that 1.8 million Americans will wager on the Super Bowl illegally through a bookie. Additionally, they expect millions more will be betting illegally through offshore online books.
PlayNJ.com is expecting one million people to bet approximately $100 million on the Super Bowl in New Jersey. Overall, Dustin Gouker from Play NJ expects approximately $325 million of legal wagers on the Super Bowl in the US.
The upside of legal Super Bowl betting
There has been a lot of money spent gambling in the US on the Super Bowl. The vast majority of gambling on the Big Game in the US has been illegal. According to the American Gaming Association, approximately $4.76 billion was wagered on Super Bowl 52 between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles in the US last year.
With just over $15o million legally wagered on the Super Bowl in Nevada in 2018, approximately 97 percent of all money wagered on Super Bowl 52 was illegal in the US.
While the majority of Super Bowl betting will remain illegal in the States, there should be an overall increase in taxable dollars wagered at legal sportsbooks this year.
On Thursday night, Derek Stevens introduced his newest casino project in Sin City. Circa Las Vegas will open in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. The vision for the entire casino sounds great, but the Michigan native and huge sports fan saved the best for the sportsbook.
The Circa Las Vegas Sportsbook will be the largest in the world. The sportsbook will have two floors of stadium seating. The third floor of the sportsbook will feature a studio for the Vegas Sports and Information Network (VSiN).
“When you think of a sportsbook … we want to create that ‘wow’ moment,” Stevens said during the introduction of Circa Las Vegas.
“We want to create something that people don’t forget. For me, I’ll never forget that moment I walked into the Las Vegas Hilton (now Westgate) SuperBook. I looked around, and I thought to myself, ‘my god, this is the greatest place on Earth right here.’”
He continued: “When you come close to the sportsbook you’ll see the VSiN studio overlooking the 3-story largest sportsbook in Las Vegas history. It’s going to make every guest that comes here want to take a picture and want to make a bet and want to go home and tell all their friends that they were there.”
The world’s largest sportsbook
The Circa Las Vegas sportsbook should become a destination sportsbook like the SuperBook at the Westgate. TheLines sat down with Derek Stevens last year to get an idea of what he plans to offer at the Circa Las Vegas sportsbook, and it’s nothing short of impressive.
The sportsbook will occupy three floors and have the world’s largest TV screen. While the sportsbook might not be as wide as the Westgate SuperBook, it will certainly have height on its side with two floors of seating for the public and another level for broadcasts.
There will also be five media studios. One studio will be dedicated VSiN while the others will be available for various broadcasts because Derek Stevens owns a 10 percent stake in VSiN. The partnership should increase his involvement with the sports gambling radio station.
Circa Las Vegas’ sister property, the D, is the official downtown Las Vegas casino partner of the Vegas Golden Knights. Last year alone, the D hosted 30 different remote radio broadcasts including a week of “Ferrall on the Bench” during the week of the Super Bowl.
March Madness pool parties
The rooftop pool at Circa Las Vegas will be more than just a place to take a dip. The multilevel pool will double as an events center. There will be six different pools, a 125-foot TV and a capacity of 4,000 people. That sounds like a perfect venue for a Spring Break/March Madness party.
When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed, some worried if this would doom the Las Vegas sportsbook business. That might have been exaggerated a little.
While there should be some effect on business, this kind of great sportsbook and event space will offer a unique way to watch the games that no other city offers.
New independent sportsbook operator
The sportsbook at Circa Las Vegas has inspired Stevens to expand his sportsbook operation. Last year, Stevens hired Matt Metcalf, formerly of the Westgate SuperBook, as the sportsbook director for his properties.
William Hill will no longer operate the sportsbook at the D. In fact, the current 12 seat sportsbook will eventually move.
The William Hill kiosk at the Golden Gate will be gone before the summer. A new sportsbook will open at the Golden Gate casino, which is across the street from Circa Las Vegas. This sportsbook will become the hub of the new sportsbook operation for Stevens, in fact, expect to hear more about it soon.
Circa Las Vegas
Circa Las Vegas will be the first new casino construction in downtown Las Vegas since 1980. The casino-resort will occupy an entire city block and covers 1.25 million square feet. In addition to the massive sportsbook, the property will feature a two-level casino, 777 hotel rooms, numerous restaurants, a spa and more.
Check out the promo video for Circa Las Vegas.
The repeal of the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018 opened the doors for states to legalize sports betting. It also opened the doors for mainstream sports media to embrace sports betting more than ever.
Websites and podcasts were the first to act since those are the forms of media that are quickest to respond. Older, traditional forms of media, like television and radio, are still working toward getting off the ground.
While “Lock It In” debuted nationally on Fox Sports 1 last year, we’ve yet to see a major influx of TV shows dedicated to sports betting, though that should change this year.
The next step for televised sports betting could begin on the local level.
Next step for sports betting in the media
NBC Sports Washington is taking sports betting on television to another level. Instead of another show providing analysis, the regional sports network will debut a unique prototype of what TV could look like when sports betting is fully integrated.
On Jan. 11, NBC Sports Washington will air a second feed of the Washington Wizards game versus the Milwaukee Bucks. The traditional broadcast will be shown on the main station while an interactive broadcast will air on NBC Sports Washington Plus.
The game broadcast will be the same. The screen will feature wraparounds similar to what you’d see on ESPN News, any game on YouTube TV and new digital cable boxes.
Those major difference from the regular broadcast of this basketball game will be interactive and feature sports betting information. The screen will show odds, point spreads and wagering options surrounding game action.
Even though NBA League Pass is available nationally, most of the audience for this game will be in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland where sports betting isn’t legal yet. The gambling interface for the game will be a sweepstakes-style game.
‘Predict the Game’
According to Sports Business Daily, the gambling will be more of a question-and-answer activity called “Predict the Game.”
Viewers will be able to answer questions like: “How many points a specific player will score in a quarter?” or “How many assists will a player have in a half?” for a chance to win $500.
While this will be a free game, it could also be the future of sports betting during live games.
NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports (Wizards’ ownership group) both see this as a way to appeal to new, mainstream sports bettors. This new television broadcast could be used as a model to incorporate sports betting more deeply into game broadcasts.
The idea of rewarding customers by predicting outcomes in sporting events isn’t necessarily a new concept. However, this will be the first time it will be integrated on TV with a live game.
Sports betting continues to take small steps toward mainstream distribution and acceptance, and this is just another step forward for legal sports betting in the US.
Toward the end of 2018, SuperBook USA, the national brand for the Las Vegas SuperBook at the Westgate, asked bettors what they look for when choosing a sportsbook. As the look and feel of sportsbooks change across the country, this is probably a good time to ask what was once a simple question.
What do you look for when choosing a sports book? pic.twitter.com/W3UbAMMuw1
— SuperBookUSA (@SuperBookUSA) October 19, 2018
When TheLines spoke with Jay Kornegay, from the Las Vegas SuperBook, in August, he said that “the size and scope of each new superbook will be based on regulations and what the partner property has to offer.” Answering this tweet could help to shape future sportsbooks around the country, but there’s no guarantee.
Building sportsbooks around the US
Many of the sportsbooks opening around the country are repurposed venues that previously existed as something else. While some casinos like Borgata, in New Jersey, are building new sportsbooks for the future, other casinos are happy with the less than spectacular space they already have.
To be fair, all sportsbooks can be good, but it takes a lot to make a great sportsbook. The traditional style of the world’s largest sportsbook at the Westgate may be one person’s favorite; meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment is testing The Book at The Linq to be its sportsbook model for its casinos all over the country.
What matters most when choosing a sportsbook?
Let’s take a look at some features to consider when choosing a sportsbook. Everyone has different preferences so some of these will matter more than others.
- Size: Do you prefer a large sportsbook or a more cozy room?
- Screens: Are lots of HDTVs sufficient or do you prefer theater-sized screens?
- Seating: Sportsbooks are now offering a variety of seating including lounge chairs, couches, banquet chairs and bar stools.
- VIP: What if nicer seats require a minimum on spending or cost money to reserve? The Fan Cave concept at The Linq seems popular for some but the minimum requirement can be a turnoff.
- Horse racing: Does betting on the ponies matter? New sportsbooks in Las Vegas and around the country aren’t showing daily horse racing.
- Odds: Every bettor wants the best odds but are you willing to give up a few cents on a line for a more comfortable experience?
- Limits: Maximum bet limits matter to experienced sports bettors who may make their living betting sports.
- Betting menu: Do you need a lot of in-play and pre-game betting option or are the basics enough?
- Tech/Mobile/Kiosks: Do the most technologically advanced amenities matter when choosing a sportsbook? There’s no human interaction when using a smartphone or kiosk to place bets. That’s a bonus for many bettors.
- Food: Do you need a sportsbook that also serves food? Are nearby take-out restaurants important?
- Bar: Must the sportsbook include a bar or is cocktail service enough?
- Prices: Convenience of food and drink is one thing but prices are another? Will you pay a little more for the ability to eat and drink inside of a sportsbook? Not all sportsbooks offer deals on their drinks and/or food.
- Drink tickets: Will you bet at a sportsbook that doesn’t offer complimentary drink tickets with wagers?
- More than sports: Do you want a sportsbook that offers non-sports betting gambling options as well? Some sportsbooks offer video poker and others have table games for those need to do more than one thing at a time.
- Smoking: Will you visit or stay away from a sportsbook that doesn’t allow smoking? Some cigar smokers need a stogie while watching their games.
There’s sort of a design battle happening between sportsbooks. Traditional sportsbooks seem to be fine with most fans. The casinos around the country have something else in mind. The old school sportsbooks typically only generate revenue from betting. The casinos and racetracks are using the sportsbook to sell food and drink in addition to taking wagers.