College Football – On the Money; Crazy Gambling Stories from July; Senators Appeal to Justice Department

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100 Things College Football Bettors Should Know — On the money

Following the money

Get your wagers ready for the college football season.
By: David Purdum
In this week’s edition we focus on money. How much of it is wagered on college football in Vegas? How big are the bets, how many are there and when are they placed? Enjoy.

1. $1.62 billion

In 2013, Nevada sports books won $80.8 million on football, the second most ever, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The books held 4.98 percent of the approximately $1.62 billion that was wagered on pro and college football last year. Nevada Gaming Control does not track the amounts bet on the NFL and college football separately, so it’s difficult to tell exactly how much is wagered on college football and pro football. Sports book managers estimate that 55-60 percent of their football handle comes from the NFL. But college football is narrowing the gap.

“College football has grown so much as far as the money per game,” said John Avello, executive director at the Wynn race and sports book. “I mean, we take some pretty big pops on college football. I’d estimate 60 percent comes from the NFL, but it could be lower.”

Nick Bogdanovich agrees with Avello and says the gap on handle between college football and the NFL may decrease even further this year with the four-team college football playoff.

“The gap isn’t as large as it once was. That’s for sure,” Bogdanovich said. “There are so many more college games, and so many more of them are on TV. Plus, the professionals play the college more than the NFL.”

For now, though, the NFL remains the King Kong of Vegas, especially the Super Bowl. A record $119.4 million was wagered on the Seattle Seahawks-Denver Broncos Super Bowl in February. Bogdanovich doesn’t believe the total wagered on the three college football playoff games at the end of this season will have a chance to match the Super Bowl handle.

In late July at the Mirage, there had been 6.5-times more money wagered on the odds to win the Super Bowl than on the odds to win college football’s national championship.

2. 30 minutes

The vast majority of college football bettors wait until the last minute to place their bets.

“Eighty percent of your money wagered on a game is going to come in the 30 minutes leading up to the kickoff,” Avello said.

3. Hundreds of limit bets per week

Avello posts the first weekly college football game lines in Nevada. The lines go up at 3 p.m. PT on Sundays. Some offshore shops, including one of the more influential books on opening lines, go up earlier on Sundays, but the Wynn has been the first up in Vegas for several years.

Avello says he takes, on average, 100 $2,000 limit wagers on his openers. By the end of the week, he estimates he’ll receive 300 limit bets overall on college football. Other books estimated they take anywhere from 150-250 limit bets on college football per week.

Most weekends, books will have multiple limit bets on every college football game on the board.

“Especially early on, when everyone’s numbers (power ratings) can differ by a lot, I would be shocked if I didn’t have at least one limit bet on every game,” said Bogdanovich.

4. $500 to $50,000 limits

Limits vary wildly from book to book, bettor to bettor and even bet to bet. The most respected pro in the building isn’t going to be afforded the same limit as the high-roller casino guest who just wants to bet on his alma mater.

“Limits are made for sophisticated players; guys who are going to bet that limit every time,” Avello added. “We may offer an extended limit to the house players.”

On the low end, some Nevada books may take no more than $500 on a college football side, while the very high-end shops may take as much as $50,000.

Limits, generally, are larger on the NFL. The number of limit bets on the NFL is much smaller than college football. Jeff Stoneback, assistant manager at the MGM Mirage Race and Sports book, estimated that the Mirage may only take 40 limit bets on the NFL during a regular-season week.

5. $25-$110

While there are plenty of limit bets placed weekly, the most common size of a college football wager ranges from $25 at the low-end books to $110 at the high-end books like the Wynn.

Micah Roberts, a former sports book director at Station Casinos and now analyst for The Linemakers on Sporting News, estimated the most common college football bet at his shops was around $25.

“It differed severely based on location of properties,” Roberts said. “In high-income neighborhoods, there was a much larger average, up to $40 per bet. Lower income neighborhoods would be lower than $20.”

Stoneback said $50 is the most common size of a college football bet at the Mirage.

“Seventy-five percent will pay the extra five bucks for the juice,” Stoneback added. “The rest just bet $50.”

6. 100 percent of their bankroll

Discipline isn’t a strength of most college football bettors in Vegas.

“If there are 14 games going off between 9-10 a.m., they’ll use their bankroll for those games and then base their wagers for the next wave based on how they did,” said Roberts. “If they’re having a good day, they bet more games than usual as the day goes on and if they keep hitting with parlays and straight bets combined, the Hawaii game at the end of the night is a massive powder keg of risk for the book. If (bettors) get beat early, they’re funds are limited and they wager considerably less.”

7. 2-5 percent of bankrolls

The Kelly Criterion, a widely respected money management system, suggests betting 2-5 percent of your bankroll per game. If you have $500 to bet on your weekend in Vegas, your max wager to start should be $25.

8. 7 figures

Bogdanovich says William Hill takes “seven figures” in handle on football parlay cards per week during the season. The majority of them, he says, include both college and NFL games.

At the MGM, Stoneback says the most popular parlay is a $25 four-teamer.

9. Multiple 7 figures

The biggest NFL game of the week will attract seven figures in handle at the Wynn. That usually trumps the biggest-bet college football game, but not always, says Avello.

“It all depends on the matchup,” Avello explained. “If there’s a big college football game on a week that is mediocre in the NFL, then college football will attract the most action. Seven figures. Sometimes multiple seven figures.”

10. 3 limit bets

Avello hung his college football season win totals last Friday. As of Monday, three teams had attracted at least three $2,000 limit bets: Miami, Fla. UNDER 8, Nebraska UNDER 8 and Oklahoma State UNDER 7.5.


Crazy Gambling Stories From July

From Unclaimed $12 Million Lotto Prize To Bellagio Bandit Acting Crazy
by Brian Pempus
The gambling world can sometimes produce really off-the-wall stories. Every month there are plenty of cases of individuals going to extreme lengths to pay back debts, or of simply bizarre behavior at casino properties around the globe. It can be entertaining and sometimes sad.

July was no exception, as there was plenty that happened in the casino world.

Here’s a look at some of the most colorful and noteworthy from the month that was.

Man Won $12 Million Lotto, Never Claimed Prize

There’s plenty of stories of lottery winners blowing it all, and then there’s stories of lottery winners who never claimed their prize because they never realized they won. That’s what just happened to a $12 million ticket in Texas.

One horribly unlucky gambler bought the ticket six months ago, but apparently didn’t realize it. After 180 days passed, the ticket was deemed dead and the state pocketed the $12 million prize.

Phil Ivey’s Legal Team: Ivey Beat Borgata Fair And Square

Phil Ivey, who just won his 10th career WSOP bracelet last month, responded to the Borgata’s $9.6 million lawsuit against him by trying to get the case dismissed. Ivey’s legal team filed a motion in July, saying that the poker pro didn’t cheat while playing high-stakes mini-baccarat in 2012, but instead used skill to take the house for bundles of money.

Dozens Gamble On $1,000 Flips For World Series Of Poker Main Event Seat

Once in awhile, poker is 100 percent luck.

Dozens of gamblers were desperately searching for a last-minute ticket into poker’s big dance earlier this month at the Rio in Las Vegas. It was the third and final starting flight for the 2014 World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in main event. More than 6,000 players had so far entered the most prestigious poker tournament in the world. A $10 million top prize is up for grabs.

Pamela Anderson Divorces Rick Salomon Just Days After He Won $2.8 Million In ‘Big One For One Drop’

Assuming it wasn’t coincidental, Pamela Anderson was kind enough to wait until after the $1 million buy-in One Drop tournament at the WSOP to file for divorce from Rick Salomon, who finished fourth in the high-stakes event for a score of $2.8 million.

Salomon was one of the big stacks late in the tournament that finished up on July 1. Anderson, according to People Magazine, filed for divorce on July 3.

German Poker Cheat Gets Three Years In Prison

According to media reports, poker player Ali Tekintamgac has been sentenced to three years and five months in prison over in Germany for running a poker cheating ring. reported (via a translation) that he “has admitted that he has cheated on international poker tournaments and illegal rounds in the back rooms of pubs [in] Augsburg.” Augsburg is a city in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany, and that’s where he was sentenced.

Tekintamgac was first accused of cheating around four years ago, when he won the World Poker Tour Spanish Championship after then allegedly using a phony member of the media to signal to him what an opponent was holding.

High-Stakes Poker Player Paul Phua Arrested In Las Vegas For Allegedly Taking Bets On World Cup

High-stakes poker player Paul Phua was arrested along with seven others for allegedly “operating an illegal gambling business” out of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The feds said that each defendant is charged with one count of unlawful transmission of wagering information and one count of operating an illegal gambling business.

If convicted of the alleged crimes, they each face up to two years in prison on the unlawful transmission count and up to five years in prison on the illegal gambling business count, as well as fines on each count of up to $250,000.

Jerry Yang’s World Series Of Poker Watch On eBay

The watch Jerry Yang won at the 2007 World Series of Poker main event has found its way to the online auction portal eBay. In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service seized Yang’s bracelet, along with other jewelry.

Yang outlasted 6,358 players in the main event to take home $8.25 million.

Atlantic City Casino Caesars Robbed Of $181,000

Not every casino robbery can be as clever and calculated as the heists depicted in the movies. This month, two suspects entered Caesars Casino in Atlantic City, pulled out a couple of guns and then took two boxes containing over $181,000 in cash.

While it’s certainly not as artistic as the capers pulled off by George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon in the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, it beats the attempt made by Anthony Carleo in 2010.

During L.A. Traffic Jam, Drivers Get Out Of Their Cars And Play Poker

To pass the time on while a man apparently contemplated jumping off a California freeway overpass, some motorists busted out a folding table and set it up on the freeway. They played a little bit of poker, as someone had cards and apparently even some chips.

While they could have probably just played some free-play poker on their phones or tablets (real-money online poker isn’t yet legal in California and that itself is moving like a traffic jam), the drivers instead opted for some old fashioned card playing, and picked one of the most unlikely spots for a home game—a freeway in Los Angeles.

PETA Accuses Oklahoma Firm Of Supplying Pigeons To Taiwanese Gambling Syndicate

PETA has accused a company in Oklahoma City of supplying a Taiwanese gambling syndicate with pigeons to use for illegal races, reported.

A months-long investigation allegedly uncovered a lucrative industry involving pigeon racing. The birds were imported from other parts of the world. The Oklahoma City-based Continental Breeding Station is accused of providing some of the animals for the gambling operation.

NHL Star Linked To Illegal Gambling Investigation

A big name player in the National Hockey League was questioned by federal authorities in New York this month who are looking into illegal gambling.

Thomas Vanek, who signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Wild this off-season, has not been accused of any criminality. According to, the investigation is centered around the owners of Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte, NY.

Man Who Allegedly Robbed Bellagio Appeared In Court Wrapped In A Blanket And Wearing A Spit Mask

The man who allegedly robbed the Bellagio of $43,500 in cash with a BB gun appeared in court wearing a beige blanket and a spit mask. He refused to open his eyes or acknowledge his whereabouts during the court appearance.

The suspect, Scott Alan Carmitchel of Kansas, reportedly has been “uncooperative” with police and had to be brought to his court appearance “by any force necessary,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. That’s what the judge ordered.



dept of justice14

Senators Pen Letter to Justice Department Seeking Reinstatement of Online Gaming Ban
By Earl Burton


Keeping the issue of online gaming and poker in the spotlight, three Senators have sent a letter to the U. S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder looking to reinstate the previous reading of the Wire Act of 1961.

The three Senators – South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, California’s Diane Feinstein and New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte – reiterate the past four years of action by the DoJ. First they note the December 2011 reversal of the DoJ’s position on the Wire Act, which stated that the law “no longer bans gambling over the internet as long as the betting is not on the outcome of a sporting event.” While they are correct on that front, the rest of their letter seems to have been written by lobbyists from Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG).

“Left on its own, the DoJ opinion could usher in the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes by turning every smart phone, tablet and personal computer in our country into a casino available 24 hours a day,” the letter states. This tactic has been used by Adelson front man Andy Abboud several times in hearings and, pretty much every time it’s been presented, it has been shot down by lawmakers. “The FBI has warned it will open the door to money laundering and other criminal activity,” the letter continues, another facet that has been shot down by legal and computer experts. Finally, the trio of Senators write, “It is bound to prey on children and society’s most vulnerable,” something that, through age verification and monitoring of online activity, hasn’t occurred.

Discussing the legislation introduced by Graham in the U. S. Senate, the three are looking for the DoJ to either reinterpret the Wire Act (return it to its previous reading status as banning all online gaming and poker) or calling for the DoJ to support Graham’s bill in the Senate. “We fully expect the Senate will act on our legislation this year and it is our intent to do whatever we can to make that happen,” the letter concludes. “With your help and the backing of the DoJ, we are confident we can succeed in this effort.”

Putting aside the fact that the proposed Graham bill (and its partner in the House of Representatives introduced by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz) has very little chance of seeing a floor vote in Congress before the end of the current term (all bills not passed this year will “die” with the seating of a new Congress in January 2015), the three senators have previously shown no interest in online gaming and poker. Unfortunately, the money being thrown about by Adelson and the CSIG seem to have twisted some arms.

Graham is probably the most likely to have signed onto something along these lines. According to a recent poll by the Charleston Post & Courier, 68% of 1000 likely voters in South Carolina were opposed to online gaming, not surprising in a state that has traditionally run more to the conservative side. Those that support online gaming barely beat out the undecided (17% and 15%, respectively) but, as with any survey, results can be skewed by the way a question is asked.

Graham, however, has been receiving a great deal of financial backing from Adelson as Graham also looks to a potential run in 2016 for President of the United States. He has received over $20,000 in campaign contributions from either Adelson, his family or the Las Vegas Sands PAC since the beginning of the year. Although he has denied it, Graham has also been prominent at several Adelson political functions.

Ayotte hasn’t previously stepped into the online gaming fray and her position against the activity is a bit surprising. Known as a Tea Party firebrand, Ayotte would rather see the government get involved with a personal decision and activity rather that regulate it or allow the states to make their own decision on the issue (a popular Tea Party refrain). Her position on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (which has a subcommittee on the internet) makes her a valuable ally for those in the anti-online gaming camp.

Feinstein is definitely the strangest member of the trio. California is moving forward (molasses-slow) in enacting regulations that would open up online poker for its residents. All polls in the Golden State have shown a desire by the citizenry to pass regulation and the state is known for its popular card rooms, Indian casinos and horse tracks. For Feinstein to come down against any online gaming – especially in a state where it is the logical next step to raise revenues for the state coffers – is particularly odd.

To this point, the DoJ has not responded to the letter from the Senators and it is unlikely that they will. The battle over online poker – on the federal front as well as the states – still seems to be simmering, though.

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