Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sports Betting Ring Arrested

This week, authorities arrested 25 people across the country, accusing them of participating in an illegal sports-betting ring.  Of those, one of them was currently a sports book director for Cantor Gaming, a leading sports book operator in Nevada.  This person also holds a Nevada gaming license.

According to the story in the Las Vegas Sun, this conduct apparently was limited to this person's individual activity and did not involve Cantor Gaming.  If it did, that could be quite damaging to Cantor, as this activity easily can be foreseen to jeopardize Nevada gaming licenses, if a license holder is actually found guilty of this conduct.

The key lesson to be learned is that although the gaming legal environment in the US is becoming more friendly, it is not totally friendly yet.  With regard to sports betting activity that crosses state or national boundaries, it is still quite unfriendly and illegal.

Those US operators that might want to get ready for legalized online gambling should use this event as another sobering example that extreme care should be undertaken with regard to having any activities in concert with non-US online gambling interests.  With regard to sports betting, US interests would be safe and wise to steer clear of non-US online sports books, regardless of where they are licensed outside the US.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Jersey Moving Ahead with Sports Betting

The Associated Press is reporting that New Jersey plans to begin issuing licenses for sports betting as early as January of next year, even though the lawsuit attempting to block this expansion of betting is still in process.  New Jersey continues to be aggressive, putting more pressure on the legal process to concede that historically the conduct of gambling within a state's borders has historically been up to the states due to the states' plenary police power, not given to the federal government under the Constitution.

New Jersey, if it prevails, will have shown its methodical attack on the legality of PASPA was well crafted and executed, both on a legal and political basis.  It is my view that New Jersey will ultimately prevail and each state will decide for themselves if they desire to have sports betting within their borders.

Sports betting is desired by the voters of New Jersey, as shown in this year's poll.  Also, Californians are also in favor of sports betting, with a bill to authorize getting just a step away from making it to the governor's desk for signature.  I expect that bill to be revived next spring.  You can read the blog posts on these polls here and here.

For online operators, don't expect any opportunities in the short-term as this betting will be done at physical locations, not online.  Only online pari-mutuel horse race betting will be the only authorized online sports-related gambling in the USA for quite some time.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Can You Really Beat Craps?

There is a school of thought (albeit a minority) that thinks you can turn the house odds on craps to the player's advantage.  I won't go into the various schemes in detail, but the concepts deal with betting systems and patterns, counting the number of rolls a shooter has while still not making their point, setting the dice before throwing and how you throw the dice.

There hasn't been any solid research that proves that craps can be beaten or in other words, no research that shows how the house advantage can be swung to the player's advantage like in blackjack.  Yet these theories continue to exist.  Proponents may be able to show evidence that using their techniques, some positive results have occurred, but that is more explained by short-term variability and low number of trials observed.  These techniques will be unreliable as the long-term mathematical advantage takes over.

For example, let's say I have a craps theory that says you need to blow on the dice and say "no seven" before throwing.  I do that for five throws.  The first four throws indeed are not seven, but the fifth throw is a seven.  Can I say that my system gives an 80% chance of preventing a seven from being rolled?  Sure.  Would you be willing to risk your money at a crap table using that advice?  I certainly hope not.

What got me on this topic was an article in the October 2012 Casino Player magazine.  The article described various techniques of throwing the dice to obtain an advantage.  For a legal throw, the dice need to hit the far wall, so they hit the wall and bounce off the rubberized surface.  The wall of the crap table is lined with rows of pyramid-shaped spongy material, which when the dice hit, tend to have the dice bounce back and in a slightly different direction.  The intent is to keep the dice throws random.  If no such rule existed, players might just line up the dice the way they want and simply drop them on the table or do things that don't really qualify as a roll.  Given this rule, dice rolls are random enough that the game still keeps its mathematical house edge.

Players that desire to use dice control to help their chances try and throw the dice so that the dice get all the way to the far wall, touch it, but just barely.   Their desire is to roll the dice so that their number is up and it is up right at the far end, but not have enough energy to actually bounce off the far wall.  Ahem...  Like that happens with any regularity.  Also, at a busy table, how does the shooter avoid hitting other betting tokens on the table before hitting the far wall, thwarting their efforts?

This article goes in a different direction.  This article states you need to throw the dice so that the dice hit the tips of the rubberized pyramids in such a way that the dice bounce back directly in the line of throw.  I laughed so hard when I read that I was crying.  The author even states that it would be doubtful for even the most expert of "dice controllers" to acquire this ability with any degree of consistency.  Regardless, the author introduces the reader to such phrases of Newtonian physics such as "double point hit," "single-point pop," and "stoopball effect."

I have two degrees in electrical engineering, which require a certain amount of courses in physics, statistics and materials science and I've never heard of such terms.  I'll need to go back to my university and request a refund of my tuition.

So why does the author put this on paper?  Well at the end of the article, it is disclosed that the author has books which you can buy to learn all about beating craps, to include a DVD showing how to throw the dice.  Also the author has a book on how to beat slot machines...riiiiight.

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