One often hears that the bookies lost a bundle on an upset game…
60 Minutes interviewed a heavy duty gambler this past week, the the show explained that the sports books in Vegas or Atlantic City never lose. I’ll explain how it works.
Legal Casino’s that have sports betting charge a VIGOROUS or for short, THE VIG, or the JUICE. For most bets on sports teams, this is 10% of your bet. In other words to bet 100 bucks that the Chiefs will beat the Broncos by 6, you must risk $110 to win $100.
So the sports book makes 10% or $10.
If you bet $1,000 on a game, you’re risking $1,100 to win the $1,000. The book always gets the 10%. Which works out perfectly if they can balance the amounts bet on each game. They do this by "laying off" the amount of money needed to get as close to even on a game as they can. So if $500,000 is bet on KC, than they need to get $500,000 bet on the Denver Broncos to guarantee their 10% profit.
But here’s what actually happens…
Often the bookies can’t be right on the money. More money is wagered on one team than another. So then they’ll raise the points spread to attract bettors to go the way they need to balance out the bets on that game.
If all the money is coming in on KC at 6 points say, they’ll raise the SPREAD from say 6 to 7 points or more. That way, some gamblers will bet the other way evening out the total amount bet on that game. That’s called "moving the line."
But not all bets are at 10%. Some are at zero. Those are usually long shots.
Bets that are in and of themselves harder to win. For example, a two team "parlay." That means the person who makes the bet has to take TWO teams to win and for that they win 2 1/2 times their bet. So if you take the Chiefs and the Raiders to win and they do, and you bet 100 dollars on the two team parlay, you win 250 bucks. However they both must win, if one loses and one wins, YOU LOSE IT ALL.
What are the "points?"
In Las Vegas, the experts decide how much better one team is than another. So if the Chiefs are considered a 3 point better team than the Jets, you add 3 points to the Jets score at the end of the game. If the Jets lose by say only 2 points, like 23-21, the Jets win the bet, not the Chiefs.
I know it gets a bit confusing. You can bet 3,4,5 or more teams to all win. Then the odds go way up, because its pretty hard to pick that many winners. It goes as high as to five to one, and seven to one, and up and up. Because the odds are you will lose. Remember if you lose one game on that type of bet, you lose all your money.
Illegal bookies, the local guys, really can’t lay off the money on all these bets.
Now that the MOB is no longer involved, they don’t have enough money being waggered to even up on each game. Like everybody in town wants to bet on or against the Chiefs, let’s say. So in a sense they are gambling with you, betting against you. They might have most of the bets on one team and hardly anything on the other. Then if the team with all the money on it wins, they lose.
The ideal thing local bookies hope for is this: a BOOKIE BET.
That means the line is say 3 points. And the game ends at say 27-24. Right on the nose, Three points difference. So the guys who had the 3 points "push," meaning they get their money back, no bet. However Vegas gets 100% of the losers money. Plus the 10 percent. So it’s a big win for the Sports Book.
In this case, like a pick’ em – one side gets 3 1/2 and the other gets 3 the book is in the middle – so he wins at least half if the game ends right on the 3.
It’s illegal to call a casino and make a bet by phone, so you can’t call Vegas and bet.
A real person has to walk into the casino, go to the window and place the bet. If you leave town, they can mail you your winnings. All they need is your betting ticket. You can mail it in after you leave town. Online betting – which is huge now – is also illegal. These are people who go online to betting sites and send money offshore to bet.
Gambling is a tough way to make a living.
Ninety-nine percent of the people who go into a casino LOSE. I get that information from friends of mine who work there.
They track the tables, blackjack, craps, so on. Almost nobody wins on any regular basis. The best odds usually are with the poker players and sports betting. But it’s still uphill. Even a great player can be wrong too often.
It’s OK to do all this if its done in a legal fashion. If you can afford to lose a few hundred here and there. However if you are planning to pay off your home or car: find another way, because in all likelihood you will lose your rent or motgage money.
You know the old saying, "They didn’t build these hotels and casino’s because the gamblers win…they build them with the gambler’s losses."