Is Betfair being blocked from entering New Jersey Online Gambling Market?

Posted by on 23 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: The Rumor Mill

When the Rational Group attempted to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino in an effort to enter the New Jersey poker market several casinos as well as trade groups including the American Gaming Association cried foul, arguing that no company that catered to the U.S. market after the passing of the UIGEA should be allowed to sell their product stateside. Their cries seemed to be heard as the Atlantic Club reneged on the sale and the Rational Group has been on an uphill climb since attempting to get back into the market. The Rational Group eventually set up a partnership with the Resorts Casino Hotel but to date a license hasn’t been granted to them and rumor has it that the “bad actor” clause, which was passed in Nevada, may soon be announced by the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) in New Jersey as well which will shut out the Rational Group from applying for a New Jersey license either as an owner or partner for 10 years. If that occurs, the Resorts Casino Hotel will have to find another partner. Bwin.Party, which has partnered with Borgata, and 888 Holdings which has partnered with Caesars also offered their products at one time to the American market but they have been excused for “their crimes” after paying a fine and withdrawing from the U.S. market immediately after the passing of the UIGEA.

The one company that has applied for a license and has many a bit upset, however, is Betfair. The U.K. sporting exchange giant and the owner of the TVG horse racing network has partnered with Trump Plaza to offer online poker and likely casino games as well. While the partnership has never been confirmed officially by Betfair or Trump, Betfair has already begun acting like it’s a done deal. In fact Betfair even went ahead and launched and before even getting the go ahead from the DGE. The websites are effectively a sneaky way to build up a database by allowing New Jersey residents to leave their names and email addresses after answering a few questions and in return they are given a chance to win prizes including an all expenses paid trip to London.

But not everyone is happy about Betfair entering the market including a lawyer for a major sports league who I made contact with a few years back who doesn’t believe that Betfair has any business entering the U.S. market for any “real” gambling since their products are all about sports betting.

“If Betfair wants to offer horse racing then that’s their business but with real gambling it should be limited to American casino companies that have never attempted to offer sports betting outside of Nevada. Sports betting is a plague in the U.S. and the last thing we want is a company that we know will be petitioning to offer sports betting in America from gaining any type of real presence. I can only speak for myself but I’m sure my colleagues would agree.”

Ironically when I asked if I could use his name in this article he answered “not now but that may change shortly,” which seemed a bit odd since one would think that he would want his viewpoints known publicly. Nevertheless I agreed to his request.

But it appears that some Atlantic City casino owners are also unhappy about Betfair entering the market and are attempting to block their entry by petitioning the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) from agreeing to the Trump/Betfair license. I spoke to one casino manager who was adamant that personally he wanted to see Bwin.Party, 888 Holdings and even Gamesys blocked from getting a license in New Jersey because they are foreigners but he realized that only Betfair has a chance of being stopped at this point since the DGE already agreed to the Borgata/Bwin.Party partnership and that Caesars is too powerful to block their partnership but he believes Betfair is still in play because it is still known as a predominantly sports betting company. Nevertheless he is leaving it up to the lobbyists to take up the cause.

“As far as I’m concerned the New Jersey market should be opened to American companies only and I have a real issue with casinos that are partnering with foreign businesses,” he told me. “But at the same time the casinos have to tread gently. We realize the issue is a sensitive manner because it also involves free trade but I’m confident that in the end New Jersey residents will shop American and play with the 100% American labeled companies.”

Like the lawyer from the sports league he also said he didn’t want his name used right now for fear it could be held against him in his company’s quest to get a New Jersey license if he is seen to be challenging the DGE publicly.

I tried to contact someone from the AGA and someone from the DGE for a comment but never received a reply from either.

Online gambling starts November 26 in New Jersey. Hopefully, NJ residents get to play with the best and brightest Internet wagering companies.

Manning is in the House: Colts-Broncos NFL odds

Posted by on 18 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

The Indianapolis Colts have done a fine job of adapting to life without Peyton Manning these past two seasons. This Sunday they’ll have to face the music when they host the future Hall of Famer and his Super Bowl favorite Denver Broncos. Not only do the Broncos hold the 7-point advantage on the NFL lines heading into Week 7, they’re the top team on the Super Bowl futures at Elite Rated Bovada at 5/2 (+250).

Two weeks ago we told the story of how the public this year has loved betting on the Broncos, not matter what the spread. The public has also been hammering the over betting total, forcing the line to go up and up every week in the Broncos games. the biggest disparity in this game is the Colts are 4-2 cashing the under this season, while the Broncos have gone over the total in all six of their games. However, this week their opponent is also a home underdog, always a great betting scenario. Especially if you throw in this fact: the Colts are a perfect 7-0 SU and ATS in their last 7 games as a home underdog, including just two weeks ago when the Colts shocked the number two Super Bowl favorite, Seattle Seahawks in Indy, 34-28.

According to Elite-rated about 66% of the early action is on the Broncos (-6.5). However, as has been widely reported, the Broncos took about 80% of the action last week against the Jaguars and failed to cover. In fact, the Broncos have not cashed for bettors since their 52-20 blowout of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4.

Their 0-2 records ATS in October  is due to the terrible pass defense of the Broncos who are 32nd in the league. Many pundits say their #1 ranking against the run is the flip side of that coin but when teams are getting blown out week after week, they tend to abandon the rush.

Let’s face the facts before we plunk down money on either of these teams. Both clubs have been average against the number this season, each posting 3-3 ATS marks. The Colts posted impressive upsets of San Francisco and Seattle, but faltered last week. The Broncos are 6-0 but have not made bettors very happy so far this season.

Though players have been hammering OVER in the Broncos games, the total for Sunday night has been going down since it opened at 56.5. Some of the reasons? The Colts defense has allowed just 16.3 points per game this season and so far has yielded just over 200 yards per game against the pass, good enough for 5th in the league. The Colts also know that they way to beat Peyton Manning is to keep him off of the field. Everyone expects the Colts to run Trent Richardson all day and use that to setup their pass game. If they are successful, this game goes under the inflated total. Since it’s already down to 55.5 at some sports betting shops, grab it at 56 if you agree. Or head to a Las Vegas sportsbook where 57 is appearing on tote boards all over town.

The current NFL odds point to the visiting Super Bowl contenders as favorites in the contest, but with an inevitably fired up Colts crowd behind them, Andrew Luck and company could play spoiler.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

The Hard Core Reality of Bad Beats

Posted by on 11 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

For those unlucky souls who wagered on the Denver Broncos last Sunday afternoon, you have my sympathies.  For those even unluckier bettors who never slept Saturday night after risking their dough on the Northwestern Wildcats against Ohio State, you have my even deeper condolences.  But if you’re going to live in the sports wagering world, it’s smarter to accept the hard core reality of “bad beats”. I’m inventing a term for those who bet on both teams as “tragic beats”.

Yes, it seemed impossible to lose picking Northwestern as a +5.5 underdog until remembering college teams learned the desperation lateral drill from their elders in the NFL.  Trailing 34-30 with 8 ticks left on the clock a giant backwards fumble gone wrong resulted in a meaningless Ohio State touchdown, enabling the Buckeyes to cover the spread, winning 40-30, as the final gun sounded.  Gun may be a bad choice of words as many players felt reaching for one as they could not believe their horrible luck strike near midnight.   Even ancient broadcaster Brent Musburger slyly acknowledged the bizarre turn of events affecting the wagering spread “for those number crunchers out there” as colleague Kirk Herbstreit played dumb.

Then many wounded bettors were given several hours to recover late on Sunday afternoon to potentially focus on the week’s big NFL game: Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys.

History will remember this for being the 4th highest scoring NFL contest ever, a 51-48 Broncos victory.  Denver bettors will angrily recall the Cowboys defense not purposely letting Peyton Manning and company roll in free for a touchdown with 1:40 left and two timeouts to work with.  That clever strategy might have allowed for Tony Romo and the Boys trying to score and tie the game instead of Denver kneeling for their last second chip shot field goal win.

The critical difference?  Denver wins but loses if you bet them at -6.5 or popular number -7 or higher in Las Vegas and many online sportsbooks to encourage even action.  As Peyton screamed for the offense into the crouch formation with 25 seconds remaining, the bookmakers could have begun paying those who wagered on the Cowboys immediately.

So what can we take from these ultra-painful wagering lessons that can be of some value?

First, the coaches and players on the field play every second of the game TO WIN, not cover our bets.  Secondly, there is a fundamental huge amount OF LUCK covering the spread that must be accounted for beyond what we are all willing to accept. Checking all statistical models and allowing for the customary 10% per game vigorish, a player must win at least 55.1% of all single game action to break even.  Lastly, we must account for the usual uneven per game wagering, possibly higher risk parlays and emotional decisions that follow-up those tragic beats similar to   Northwestern. Add up reality and you could be better off consulting Mr. Spock than any supposed “professional handicappers” promising guaranteed wins as high as 70%.

This Sunday’s Blackboard Lesson

A test may come as early as this Sunday when the same Denver Broncos return home to face the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars.  According to The Gold Sheet, a publication who has tracked point spreads for over 60 years, the Broncos – 28 ties as the largest NFL favorite since the Baltimore Colts faced the expansion Atlanta Falcons in 1966.  Incidentally, the Falcons covered that game but only a fool would use that example as a wagering direction.

Wisely it is best to avoid handicapping this game remembering tactical lessons learned from merely a week ago.  Should the Broncos be ahead say 38-7 in the fourth quarter, a question might be will be whether Manning will be coaching from the sidelines instead of even being remotely near the huddle?   Might the Jaguars sit their first string starters in desperation measures to preview new 0-6 players?  Again, both team’s object is to win the game or plan for next week, not evaluate the record-breaking 28 point spread.

If you bet the Northwestern Wildcats or Denver Broncos last week you did not make a tactical mistake.  You simply were the victim of fateful bad karma that is going to happen at times during the College and NFL seasons.  If you bet the Ohio State Buckeyes and/or Dallas Cowboys last week and thought you were very smart instead of very lucky, good luck this week and for the rest of the season.  You are going to need every bit of it.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

Early NFL Betting Has Denver as the BIG Favorite

Posted by on 04 Oct 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

Betting on NFL football can be a tricky business. The public loves to bet on favorites and especially favorites who have just been crushing the opponent. This season there are five teams that have not lost a game. All 5 sit at 4-0 and with the exception of Seattle, all are taking over 70% of the betting action as we head into the weekend.

Still, the betting public darling is clearly the Denver Broncos. Equipped with a 4-0 record and a 22-point average margin of victory, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of the action is on Denver (-7) at Dallas on Sunday. This number opened at -5.5 and has ballooned to -7.5 most everywhere. Elite-rated Bovada opened late with -8 and already have the Broncos as 9 point favorites, due to intense early action from bettors. Industry giant BetOnline informed us that “what is surprising is the discrepancy of money on each side. With a couple days worth of action yet to come in, 98.5% of the money is on the Broncos.”

Are the Broncos, the 2007 Patriots redux? The offense is averaging a whopping 44.75 points per game and Peyton Manning is as good as ever with 16 passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 138 quarterback rating. The Broncos have won each of their last eight regular season games (going back to last year) by at least 13 points. And if that is not enough, they are 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS dating back to last year. Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager at told OSGA, “We are seeing 95% of action on Denver. This will no doubt be the books’ biggest decision of the week.”

In the 2007 season the Patriots covered their first 8 games and point spreads of up to 15-16.5 points. However, they ended the regular season at 10-6 ATS. Is this the week the Broncos don’t cover the points? Don’t bet on it as the ‘Boys gave up 428 yard passing to brother Eli, who, of course, is leading an 0-4 Giants team. Until we start seeing the 20+ point spreads that doomed New England in ’07, there really is no reason not to back Peyton and the Broncos this week in Dallas.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

Giants-Chiefs Face Off in Battle of Largest Movers for NFL Futures

Posted by on 27 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

Just two weeks ago we posted a blog about NFL Super Bowl futures and the odds have changed quite bit on several of the teams we wrote about. The odds for the winner of Super Bowl 47 are fluid and constantly change throughout the season. Each week’s games affect the numbers, sometimes greatly. This week two of the biggest movers so far this season face off in Kansas City as the Giants (+5, 44) travel to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Look at what Andy Reid has done with the Kansas City Chiefs!! A team that only a year ago won just two games over the entire season, is 3-0 under Big Red. The Chiefs opened the season as longshots at 50-1 to win the Super Bowl. Today they sit at 25-1 at Bovada, 22-1 at Bookmaker and 28-1 at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager at told OSGA, “The Chiefs have been one of the biggest movers with odds cutting in half to 25-1, while the Giants are 75-1.”

The New York Giants are a mess so this move seems more than valid. This perennial contender has started the season at 0-3 and Eli Manning has been very un-Manninglike. The Giants started the season at 25-1 to win the Big Game, fell to 33-1 after Week 1 and are now down across the board at sportsbooks worldwide. However, it looks like many books have an opinion on the Giants! The Las Vegas Hilton has them at 120-1 to win it all, Bookmaker has them at 100-1 and Bovada has them listed lower than most outlets at 75-1.

Bradley explains Bovada’s lower number on the Giants. “Maybe you would think at 0-3 that the Giants should be a bit higher, but considering the strength (or lack thereof) of that division and if they get a couple wins a row, they could be right back in the mix.”

If you plan to bet on Super Bowl futures, it may be best to look at a team after big loss, rather than a big win. Last week the 1-2 49ers were down to 12-1 after opening the season 6-1. Today after defeating the 1-2 Rams, the Niners sit at 9-1 to win it all.

Current Super Bowl odds from Bovada list Denver as the favorite at 7-2, Seattle at 17-4, San Francisco at 9-1, and New England at 10-1. If New Orleans defeats Miami on Monday night, look at them to creep into the top 4. For the complete odds click here.

Check back every week for more from Behind the Lines.

Are Huge Football Favorites Worth Betting?

Posted by on 20 Sep 2013 | Tagged as: Behind the Lines

Here we are in week 3 of the NFL season and there are some of the largest point spreads in recent memory on the board. Seattle is favored by a  whopping 18 points at home against Jacksonville and Denver is a home favorite of 15.5 over Oakland on Monday night. What is very surprising is that the number has crept up all week on both of these huge favorites.

Most of the online sportsbooks around the world have seen huge movement on these two numbers. Seattle opened as a 16.5 point favorite and the Broncos began the week favored by 14.5 points. As of this writing industry giant Bovada has moved the Seahawks to a -19 favorite and the Broncos to a 16.5 point favorite. With these point spreads already in the stratosphere, where will they land on Sunday and are huge favorites like this a good value for bettors?

According to several sources it looks like the line moves for the Broncos are being driven entirely by the public with over 80% of the wagers on the favorite. This is still an early season divisional game and the Broncos are without two of their best players in Ryan Clady and Von Miller. The Broncos are coming off a big victory in New York to travel back home to take on the Raiders in a snoozer. The line movement and public betting fury must be the Peyton Manning factor. Peyton’s gonna throw 7 touchdowns again this week!

We fully expected the point spread to move on the Seahawks and the betting numbers are similar on Seattle to cover. Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager at Bovada, tells OSGA, “Despite being the highest point spread we have offered since 2007, when New England was over 20 point favorites to Miami, we are currently taking 3/4 of the money on Seattle to cover.” The Jaguars are just plain dreadful this year and the Seahawks are among the league’s best team, especially at home. The line movement of 2.5 points, tells you that everyone believe that the Jags really are that bad and Seattle really is that good at home.

Bradley sees this trend continuing over the next several weeks. “Poor Jacksonville has to go into Denver in Week 6 and if the Seahawks do end up covering this weekend against the Jags and Denver is still undefeated by then, you will see a point spread of at least 3 touchdowns in that game,” said Bradley.

Here’s a note of caution for bettors who like to back big favorites, the undefeated 2007 New England Patriots had 10 games that season with point spreads of -13 or higher. Their ATS record in those games . . . 5-5. In addition, there have only been 11 times that a point spread closed at 19.5 points or higher and the favorites covered the spread in just three of those games.

It’s easy to say that one of these two huge dogs is going to cover, it’s up to you to find the right side if you want to bet a more-than-two-touchdown favorite in NFL games.

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