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Archive for the ‘Race/Sports Book’ Category

I wrote a blog back in April 2011 when the NFL was still in a lockout and nobody was really sure if there would be a season. Now that the 2011/2012 season has ended, and the New York Giants have been crowned the champs, let’s take a look back and see just what we would have missed out on without an NFL season:

1. Let’s start off with the big one – Super Bowl Sunday. Just last Sunday, the Super Bowl generated $93.8 million in bets in Nevada sports books. That is a huge number! This was the second highest reported number of all time, just behind the 2006 Super Bowl…generating $94.5 million. The sports books ended up winning $5 million from those wagers this year. You don’t have to be a math genius to figure out that Nevada is pretty glad the NFL got their stuff together and played a season. Source.

2. During the regular season, sports books generate an average of $725 million annually on regular season games. In the postseason this year, sports books in Nevada collected just under $15 million on the playoff game featuring Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos taking on the NE Patriots. This is about 5x the average of a normal NFL regular season game. Source.

3. Forget about the casinos, what about the Super Bowl city? Indianapolis was the host city this year for the Super Bowl. The NFL predicted that the SB would generate between $150-400 million for the city. This comes in the form of cash flow to businesses such as hotels, restaurants, car rental companies and bars. I’ve been to Indy and have family there, and let me tell you, they need it. I’m glad the city could be showcased and get some much needed cash flow. Source.

Clearly we’re all glad that the NFL figured out their business and we moved on with the season. There were ups and downs, I lost several if not most of my parlays, and my Colts had a devastating Manning-less year…but all in all I’m glad they were back and I had a great season. Can’t wait until September!

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Ok, ok, maybe I’ve jumped the gun a bit, since the NFL is technically not dead just yet. But this is a real option. No NFL season in 2011-12. That’s hard to say out loud. I personally can’t imagine a whole winter without football on Sunday! No Sunday get-togethers. No Fantasy Football. No REAL FOOTBALL. However, it’s not just us sports fans who are dreading the possibility of the NFL not having a season, the casinos are equally dreading it. As I pointed out in last week’s post, sports book revenues are not exactly bank-busters if they are lost, but football fans usually pack sports books on Sundays and freely spend money on food and beverage. And let’s face it, the casinos in Nevada are not really interested in losing any portion of their revenue, even if it is only 1-2% of gross gaming revenues.

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So, what can the casinos do to try and make up for the lack of an NFL season? One idea could include special Sunday promotions during football season. After all, sports fans will need to do something on those empty Sundays…might as well try and turn at least some of them into gaming customers. Another idea is to start pushing other sports betting options such as baseball, hockey and college sports. There is also talk of starting wagering on non-sporting events like Hollywood awards shows. That could attract a whole other group of potential betting customers. Sports books could also start taking bets on events like whether or not there will be an NFL season, or when will the next NFL season start. Another sector that could take an even bigger hit than the casinos are sports bars outside of gaming facilities. If you’ve ever been to a Bully’s or Sparky’s in Reno, you’ll know that those places thrive on NFL Sundays. I can only imagine the hit those small venues will take if the NFL season does not happen. And what about the employees of the stadiums that are filled to the brim on Sundays? Thousands more people will be out of work in America. The extent of damage an NFL lockout would do to America is probably at this point not foreseeable in it’s entirety.

Allow me to pose a question to you: How successful in terms of gross gaming revenues do you think the poker rooms and sports books are to a casino? I’m sure unless you have a pretty good understanding of the casino industry, you’d think they were pretty good money-makers huh? WRONG. I myself just learned how wrong of a statement that is. As of December 2010, gross gaming revenues in Nevada were right around $10.5 billion. Slots accounted for about 60% of that, no surprise there. Card games (poker), race and sports betting revenues combined came in right around 3% of total GGRs. Ok, you might be saying to yourself, there are always small money-making segments in any business.

MGM Grand Sports Book

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that casinos could do without these facilities. In fact, a casino without a sports book or poker room would probably be seen as an incomplete property and would likely not do well. What mind-boggles me is the fact that these are always the places in the casinos that suck up the most money for the least return. Whether it be new renovations to compete with the guy down the street, or the fanciest televisions, or the newest technology, poker rooms and sports books tend to be very nice in terms of how much money they actually make for a casino. So, why would casinos, especially in a market like the one we are in now, spend millions of dollars on facilities that only drive 3% of revenues? I posed this question to a gaming professional,

Bellagio Sports Book

and the response I received was sad but true, “big boys like big toys.” Usually, and unfortunatly, this is a matter of ego. It’s a race to outdo the competitors. And for what? Poker rooms and sports books usually attract “wise guy” types – always looking for the best deal and ways to beat the house. These players generally speaking do not actually turn around and spend their money elsewhere in the casino, usually due to the fact that they think slot machines are for suckers and ladies. All of this for 3% of the revenue. Casinos are spending time cutting back in all areas due to the economy. Give away less money. Give away less comps, or in the more recent case of a Las Vegas casino – recind comp offers from actual gaming guests. However, all kinds of money is being pumped into remodels of poker rooms and sports books for 3% of gaming revenue. To me, this makes no sense.


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This blog is devoted to the gaming industry news and information - keeping you up to date on the happenings in the gaming world. My personal expertise lies in event planning and entertainment in casinos.

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