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Westgate SuperBook Should Have Mobile Wagering Soon

LVH SuperBook - Las Vegas Hotel

LVH SuperBook

On the latest episode of the “Behind The Betspodcast (download at itunes) Jeff Sherman from the Westgate SuperBook mentioned that the sportsbook is working on mobile wagering and hopes to have it ready by end of the year.

I listen to podcasts on 2x speed so I had to rewind the podcast to make sure that I heard it correctly. I tweeted looking for confirmation and I received it from Jeff (@golfodds) shortly thereafter.

@MeltzVegas @LVSuperBook correct

It’s only a matter of time before every sportsbook operator in Nevada offers wagering via mobile device. Last year I hinted that MGM would offer mobile wagering soon and that was confirmed earlier this year in an article I wrote for Vegas Chatter.

Westgate having mobile wagering will certainly help their bottom line and will offer the best odds to more bettors (like me) but it won’t be a game changer. They’re still only a single casino and as @John_Mehaffey states it will take a lot more coverage to reach as many people as the larger sportsbook operators.

That being said this is still an exciting moment for sports bettors. I rarely visit the Westgate so this gives me a chance to wager with their lines without driving out to the other side of the Vegas Strip. This gives everyone an opportunity to wager with the best odds without visiting the Westgate.

The Westgate is undergoing a lot of renovations (see 5 at Vegas.buzz) and the sportsbook renovation should be finished by football season. I actually look forward to my next visit to the Westgate – that’s something I’ve never said before (even when it was LVH or the Hilton).

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Best Sportsbooks In Las Vegas

It’s time for my semi-annual update of the best sportsbooks in Las Vegas. There hasn’t been much change since the last time I detailed my favorite Vegas sportsbooks. Here are some things to note with my rankings:

  • I’m mostly concerned with great TV screens and comfortable seating.
  • Since I bet mostly via apps I don’t concern myself too much with finding drink tickets. Besides, they’re usually only good for a well drink, Bud, Miller or Coors. Bleh.
  • I care about access to charging my mobile phone.
  • Drink service is important as is access to grabbing a quick bite.
  • I like a clean environment. I don’t want to itch when I walk in or out of a casino.

1. The Venetian

Venetian Las Vegas Sportsbook

Venetian Sportsbook

Without a doubt there are no better TV screens at any sportsbook in Las Vegas than The Venetian. The combination of crisp color of the TV’s and the dark ceiling and perfect lighting make this almost like going to a movie theater. The seating is the same as every CG Technology (Cantor) sportsbook. The ugly red work desks don’t really matter since you’re watching the games. The chairs are comfortable office chairs. Each betting station has an outlet so you can charge your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Even though the staff isn’t always nice there isn’t a better sportsbook to watch the games.

2. The Mirage

The Mirage Las Vegas Sportsbook

The Mirage Sportsbook

The Mirage was the Mecca of sports betting in the 70’s and 80’s 90’s but had fallen into disrepair until a couple of years ago. The space remains as one of the largest sportsbooks in Vegas but there is now a huge TV screen that takes up the entire wall and plenty of lounge chairs. They even installed some interactive tables that will come in handy for drink service and more (see article on Vegas Chatter). The sportsbook is open to the casino so the lighting isn’t as good as The Venetian but it doesn’t hamper visibility. It’s great to see this classic sportsbook restored to its glory.

3. MGM Grand

MGM Grand Las Vegas Sportsbook

MGM Grand Sportsbook

I’ve come around on this sportsbook. I don’t really like MGM Grand because it’s huge and has way too many kids for Vegas. That said, the sportsbook here is large with many upgraded seats. It’s easy to watch games here since there are so many large screens. With its proximity to TAP sports bar (review on Vegas Chatter) and the Sigma Derby game make it a great location. Pro-Tip don’t use the restroom near the buffet. Instead head toward the Sigma Derby game to relieve yourself without the leftovers from someone’s buffet.

4. Red Rock Resort

Red Rock Resort Las Vegas Sportsbook

Red Rock Sportsbook

This is my local sportsbook so I may be partial. The space is huge with seating for hundreds. The three main screens are massive and change size depending on how many games are on. The downside is that they’re older and could use updating. I’ve been to many of the sportsbooks off the Vegas Strip and no other sportsbook matches the intensity of when there are football games being shown here. Additionally, drink service is quick and they do offer drink tickets.

Notable omissions:

1. Lagasse’s Stadium (The Palazzo)

Lagasse's Stadium Sportsbook And Restaurant At Palazzo Las Vegas

Lagasse’s Stadium

2 years ago Lagasse’s Stadium was the benchmark for a great sportsbook. What’s happened? Poor service (which matters a lot since it’s a restaurant) and the same screens from when they opened. It’s still a good sportsbook when it’s not busy but there are now issues during large events and NFL games. 1) Seating is limited and reservations no longer secure space needed for large parties. 2) Mediocre restaurant service 3) Table minimums around $50 per person for most Sunday’s.

2. Westgate (LVH, Hilton, International) Superbook

LVH SuperBook - Las Vegas Hotel

LVH – Westgate SuperBook

SuperBook has the best linemakers in Las Vegas. There’s no questioning that. Even though they don’t allow smoking in the sportsbook it feels like they do. Sitting at this sportsbook is not fun. The sportsbook smells bad and the air makes me itch. I’ll revisit after they complete the pending renovations. Maybe they’ll add a working air filter and new carpet.

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LVH Is Out, Westgate Las Vegas Is In. Here’s What To Expect.

Westgate Las Vegas Marquee

Westgate Las Vegas Marquee

Last week LVH was sold to Westgate. In turn the hotel formerly known as LVH, Hilton and International will now be known as Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. The purchase price was somewhere around $180 million and the owner says that they will put more than twice that much into rehabbing the old property.

A lot of changes are planned for the new Westgate Las Vegas, here’s what you need to know:

[Read more…]

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LVH SuperBook Set For Renovations

LVH SuperBook - Las Vegas Hotel

LVH Westgate SuperBook

In case you didn’t hear the news, LVH was sold last week to Westgate. LVH is no longer but the SuperBook will continue and become better than ever!

he (Westgate CEO, David Seagel) vows to make Las Vegas’ largest race and sports book the best in the market with new video screens and other comforts.

This is great new for a legendary sportsbook. I’ve never been a fan of the Hilton or LVH sportsbook because it’s old and makes me feel dirty. That said I think I’ll like the newly renovated Westgate SuperBook when the work is done.

There are no dates for renovations but don’t expect anything before football season later this year or March Madness next year.

UPDATE: Since you’ve asked, SuperContest will not be affected by the sale of LVH to Westgate.

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Rumor: LVH Sold To Westgate For Only $150 Million

LVH Las Vegas Hotel And Casino

Sweet pic of LVH

Update: Looks like the deal is done and only one tower will become timeshares.

LVH has been on the market for a while now with rumblings on who will buy it. Over the past few weeks the rumblings have gotten louder that Westgate, the timeshare company, would be purchasing LVH.

Since the only people reporting this are gossip columnists like Johnny Kats, Norm Clarke and Robin Leach I wouldn’t consider this a done deal just yet. These aren’t traditional reporters as much as they’re gossip gatherers and rumor mongers. This sale could be true but their job is to share rumors, not report facts.

The rumor that the LVH was sold for $150 million is a bit of a surprise on the low side. For reference, the beautiful Cosmopolitan was sold to Blackstone for 10x that amount, $1.7 billion. The comparison isn’t apples to apples just a point of reference. Since these are just rumors there isn’t any real information about the sale.

Westgate is a timeshare company and not a casino operator. Westgate currently operates the timeshare behind the Flamingo. They took a big swing at opening the 2nd tower at Planet Hollywood but the recession killed that after a short run. It’s now called Elara.

Timeshare’s are typically livable apartments with kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms. They’re not outdated hotel rooms with minimal amenities and a casino with a few restaurants. If the idea is to make LVH into 100% timeshare units Westgate might have to close the hotel and combine two hotel rooms to make one giant suite. That’s a lot of work and a lot of money.

This is an interesting move for Westgate. Will they close the casino and hotel and renovate all of the rooms and casino floor? Will they find a partner to operate the casino and a hotel tower? With the connection to the Las Vegas Convention Center will they operate LVH as a traditional hotel only property?

There really are a lot of options for Westgate if this rumor is true.

Photo: Wikipedia

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Speculation Games Featuring Cosmopolitan, The D, Golden Gate, LVH, Palms, Resorts World And Riviera

Riviera Las Vegas

Riviera

Speculating on the future of Vegas is fun. Instead of full-blown posts about specific subjects I think it’s more fun to be short and concise. Here’s my take on two potential moves that would shake things up on the Vegas Strip.

Topic: Now that Cosmopolitan has been sold which Vegas casino will be the next to go?  LVH, Riviera and Caesars Entertainment have been rumored to have casinos on the market for a while. Caesars may have multiple properties on the market that they need to sell so they can reduce debt and avoid filing for bankruptcy

Speculation: My guess is that Caesars will be the first to move. Their current fire sale and shell game seems like a brighter fire than the other two possibilities.

If there’s a dark horse in this race it could be Derek Stevens moving quickly to add the Riviera to his portfolio of The D and Golden Gate. On a personal note, I’d love this. The D and Golden Gate are two of my favorite places to roll dice.

Update: On a detail specific note, you may remember that Stevens owns a small percentage of Riviera. (H/T Chris Robbins on Facebook for the reminder that some people may not know this)

Palms Casino Hotel Towers

Palms

Topic: What is Dan Lee’s next step now that he’s resigned as CEO of Palms after less than a year on the job?

Speculation: I’m going to speculate that Dan Lee’s next job will be something big. If he has a non-compete clause with Palms or just needs time away from work he might look for a major role with Genting as they open Resorts World Las Vegas.

If that’s too far ahead perhaps a move to another independently operated casino in Vegas might make sense.The Cosmopolitan might make sense as they’ll likely add new leadership when Blackstone takes over operations.

If you’re not familiar with Dan Lee, Vegas Tripping had a really detailed post when he was named CEO of Palms last year.

Photo: Riviera – Vegas Chatter, Palms – Vegas.com.

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Crazy Wide Disparity In US World Cup Odds

US Men's Soccer Team

US Men’s Soccer Team

Earlier today Todd Fuhrman from Don Best, Fox Sports, etc. tweeted the odds for the US Men’s Soccer team to win the World Cup from various sportsbook operators. They were all over the place!

Each sportsbook caters their point spread and odds to their customer. You’ll generally find the sharpest odds at LVHCaesars and MGM cater mostly to tourists on the Vegas Strip who will not be the most savvy on soccer as much as they’ll want to support their country. It’s no surprise that the US soccer team odds are where they are.

Following smart people like @ToddFuhrman will help you learn about the sports betting industry. Leaning the clientele of each casino and sportsbook operator will go a long way to finding the best line value. Shopping around is always an important way to get the best value for your bets.

Photo: US Soccer

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LVH SuperContest Weekend

LVH SuperBook - Las Vegas Hotel

LVH SuperBook

Just like that….LVH SuperContest Weekend has come and gone. The LVH SuperContest is the largest most known football contest in Las Vegas (there are many). Its $1,500 entry fee makes it worth paying attention to, in part because of the huge prize pool. This year LVH is estimating that there will be over $1 million in prizes given away with the winner taking home over $200,000. Not too shabby!

I don’t play in the SuperContest because I don’t feel like spend enough time handicapping football to I’m not confident that I can win the contest. That doesn’t stop me from enjoying a little bit of SuperContest Weekend. It’s nice to see some of the serious sports bettors that I already know and meet new sports bettors.

I only attend the seminars with the pro sports handicappers discussing their thoughts on the upcoming football seasons (college and pro). I figure that I’d learn a little bit in between beers and chit-chat. Here are my notes from the college football panel.

Because of the $1,500 buy-in and huge prizes there is a lot of interest to be a part of the SuperContest from people all over the country. You can still take part of the SuperContest even if you don’t live in Las Vegas with a proxy service. Vegas Matty, who operates FootballContestProxy.com and the recently launched FootballContest.com, explains: 

“The proxy was put in place by the LVH to allow out-of-state contestants – and those others who can’t physically make it to the SuperBook on a weekly basis – to participate in the greatest football contest in the world. The SuperContest requires picks to be submitted in person, so that requirement would obviously prevent most of an ever-growing field from entering if they could not use a proxy.

“In fact, most of my new clients tell me they would have entered previously but did not know they could use a proxy to submit picks for them.  I definitely believe the growth of the SuperContest is not just directly tied to the exposure created by guys like Chad Millman and Bill Simmons (from ESPN) and marketing genius of Jay Kornegay, who have all contributed greatly to its success.  In my opinion, the realization that contestants don’t need to live in Las Vegas and can use a proxy instead has also had a significant impact on the SuperContest’s spike up the last few years.”

For full disclosure Vegas Matty was one of the first people I met when I moved to Las Vegas because we have many shared interests. He’s a good follow on twitter if you like football or MMA.

The LVH SuperContest is growing every year which, in turn, makes it more difficult to win because of increased competition. If you like winning the time to sign up for the SuperContest is now. Likewise, if you like big jackpots hold out and prepare for next year. Since 100% of the money is returned to players prizes will only keep increasing.

Tweet @Vegas_Matty

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Rumor: Las Vegas May Soon Be Hootersless

Hooters Hotel And Casino Las Vegas

Hooters

Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has been available for sale in off and on for the past couple years but it looks like they’re serious about selling this time, whether anyone is interested or not.

That sounds like a patchwork solution…shepherding Hooters along until maybe, someday, someone will actually want to buy the place.

Hooters is bringing in Navegante Gaming Inc. as consultants who somehow never help turn around a casino but always manage a casino til it’s inevitable end. They’ve most recently managed Gold Spike and LVH to their death and inevitable death, respectively.

Navegante Gaming Inc., the father-and-son company of industry veterans Larry Jean Woolf and Larry David Woolf, has won approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to manage Hooters Hotel & Casino.

Regardless of a sale it looks as if they’re going to de-brand Hooters.

The property is is in the process of undergoing a remodel that has already seen $3 million spent to replace carpeting and affect some hotel renovations. A name-change for the off-Strip hotel-casino is also expected shortly, although attempts to find a buyer have, to date, been unsuccessful.

I have an idea for an awesome name – HLV. This in no way would be confused with LVH another awesome name for a casino that can’t be sold.

Seriously, the Hooters brand name has taken a hit in the past couple years with the introduction of new “breastaurant” franchises. The name simply doesn’t hold the same recognition it did 5+ years ago when San Remo was sold and renamed.

It seems as if Hooters is being cleaned up and prepared for sale but who would want to buy an off strip casino? I’ve never been to Hooters and have no plans to ever go. 1 of the 4 people I know that have been there left with pinkeye. I don’t want pinkeye.

Photo: Wikimedia

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“Trading Bases” Book Preview

I’m not much of a reader but last year I learned about a book coming out that’s right up my alley. “Trading Bases” by Joe Peta looks at baseball and betting from a more analytic point of view then you’ll find in most mainstream media. Here’s the synopsis of the book and its full title  “Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order)” from Amazon.

An ex-Wall Street trader improved on Moneyball’s famed sabermetrics to place bets that would beat the Vegas odds on Major League Baseball games–with a 41 percent return in his first year. Trading Bases explains how he did it.

After the fall of Lehman Brothers, Joe Peta needed a new employer. He found a new job in New York City but lost that, too, when an ambulance mowed him down as he crossed the street on foot. In search of a way to cheer himself up while he recuperated in a wheelchair, Peta started watching baseball again, as he had growing up. That’s when inspiration hit: Why not apply his outstanding risk-analysis skills to improve on sabermetrics, the method made famous by Moneyball–and beat the only market in town, the Vegas betting line? Why not treat MLB like the S&P 500?

In Trading Bases, Peta shows how to subtract luck–in particular “cluster luck,” as he puts it–from a team’s statistics to best predict how it will perform in the next game and over the whole season. His baseball “hedge fund” returned an astounding 41 percent in 2011– with daily volatility similar to funds he used to trade for. Peta takes readers to the ballpark in San Francisco, trading floors and baseball bars in New York, and sports books in Vegas, all while tracing the progress of his wagers.

Far from writing a dry, do-it-yourself guidebook, Peta weaves a story that is often humorous, and occasionally touching; the topic may be “Big Data” but it’s as entertaining as a Bill Simmons column. Trading Bases is all about the love of critical reasoning, trading cultures, risk management, and baseball. And not necessarily in that order.

Towards the end of the baseball season last year I was introduced to Joe by mutual baseball lover and betting dork friend, Gill Alexander. The three of us grabbed a burger (this is when I discovered the awesome “Gold Standard” burger) at Holsteins at Cosmopolitan. After we grew tired of watching gamecasts on our phones we walked across the hall to watch the games at the sportsbook.

It was pretty awesome watching and talking baseball with such great baseball minds. Joe was kind enough to answer a few questions about “Trading Bases“.

What do you think readers will take away from the book?
If I’ve written it well enough, I hope they’ll realize there is a lot of overlap between those who apply sabermetric theory and those who trade stocks and those who bet on sports.  Each set of people, even though they might think they operate in a vaccum, could actually learn from the other groups as well.  Sabermetrics can help the bettor, Wall Street could learn a lot from the sabermetric community in terms of evaluating talent, baseball managers (and some GMs) could stand to learn a little game theory from traders and so on.  In the end, the book really celebrates critical reasoning, regardless of the pursuit.  But if the reader gets there without laughing, without reminiscing about the connection sports means to the relationship with their parents or children, or without smiling about the times he’s been in a sports bar or a casino with his buddies, then I didn’t write it well enough and that’s on me.

Explain the DIY guidebook that’s in the description for the book. 

I spend about six chapters at the beginning of the book describing how I came up with a model to bet baseball games on a daily basis.  Believe me, I knew how dangerous an undertaking that was  —  how many readers who pick up a book about golf would care how the clubs are made?  Yet, I figured I had to establish some credibility in terms of logic and critical reasoning with other gamblers and sports bettors who picked up the book.  So those chapters are filled with pop culture references, Wall Street and NFL analogies and in general try to make it read like a story instead of a data dump.  I’ve always thought that was the underrated strength of Bill James — his ability to weave stories around his data.  Between those chapters and a couple later in the book — which take up roughly a third of the pages — there is plenty of material in there for a would-be model builder to create his own model, with plenty of room for his own modifications.  I love what one early reviewer of the book said, however in discussing the DIY nature of the book, “The topic may be Big Data, but it reads like a Bill Simmons column.”

What are your favorite sportsbooks in Vegas to do bet games? watch games?

Boy, do I love watching sports with like-minded sports bettors in Vegas — doesn’t even matter if I know them well.  I view the experience like rating my favorite pizzas.  Even the ones that are bad – – – are still pretty good!  However, my favorite place to watch a slate of summer baseball games is at the Venitian sports book.  It’s a Cantor-run property so the aesthetics are great.  To top it off, it’s entrance is on the strip, next to a Walgreens so the ability to get in-game hydration is unparalleled   There is a noodle shop adjacent to the sportsbook and a Grimaldi’s Pizza shop upstarts in the Palazzo mall for take-out.  It’s simply perfect.

Honorable mention to the LVH Man Cave, especially if you use a car to get around.  And, as you know, if you have a group of guys coming from out of town, Legasse’s Stadium takes the sports bar experience to an entirely new level.  In general though, I avoided that location unless I wanted a restaurant experience.

As far as placing bets, any Cantor property, especially if you utilize their mobile technology along with the LVH and the Wynn give a baseball bettor access to three different dime lines.  Those three books captured the lion’s share of my handle last year.

I decided to do a preview of “Trading Bases” so that I can let you know about the book before the baseball season begins. I read slowly and I have no idea when I’ll finish the book to give it a proper review. If I get pressed for time I may just skip to the DIY Guidebook. Shhhh. 🙂

If you can’t wait for the book check out the Trading Bases blog where he just started going season previews.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

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