Vegas gaming Wire/ - It's game time.
It's first and 10. Time for sports books
to get busy and coffers to get full. Locals casino operators
are ready for some football, and, the bosses say, so are
teasing football fanatics with preseason pro games and
a few dozen college games the past two Saturdays, the
National Football League kicks off its regular season
Next weekend, both the college and NFL
slates will be full, and executives for the biggest Las
Vegas locals casino operators eagerly await the action.
games are vital attractions that lure Las Vegans to the
dozens of casinos sprinkled around the valley, locals
bosses said. It's a given that locals casino sports books
make most of their revenue during football season, tapping
the public's readiness to bet on games and to play ultraprofitable
-- for the books -- parlay cards.
football is much more than a sports book revenue driver;
it's a key factor in getting Las Vegans back into the
habit of regularly visiting locals casinos, the bosses
said. "Football re-energizes the properties after
the (citywide) summer lull," Station Chief Operating
Officer Steve Cavallaro said. "Locals are back from
vacation, and our football contests are in full swing."
action heats up earlier on Saturday and Sunday mornings
during football season, as East Coast games draw early
crowds to sports books, locals operators agree. "Our
business picks up noticeably when football season starts,
in the sports book and on the casino floor," Station
Casinos Chief Financial Officer Glenn Christenson said
Station Casinos properties and Sam's
Town have installed flat-panel television monitors
around their table game pits, improvements operators say
moves the excitement of the book to the pit. Customers
can keep tabs on games they're interested in while still
playing blackjack or shooting craps, execs say.
Gaming spokesman Mike Gilmartin said football is vital
to the two Arizona Charlie's properties. "Football
has become such a huge part of the year," Gilmartin
said. "It's become part of the culture. Casinos and
football just go together, especially here in Las Vegas.
You can root for your team, bet on the game and watch
four or five (or more) different games at the same time."
and Cavallaro said their properties add some staff to
the end of their weekend graveyard shifts during football
All of the big locals operators offer
either paid-entry or free football contests, enticing
players to visit at least once per week to submit their
picks in exchange for a chance at cash prizes.
a 17-week NFL season, plus a few weeks of NFL playoffs
and college bowl games, football season takes up almost
40 percent of the year's weekends. "Football is the
only sport where the sports books make money," Coast
Casinos Chairman Michael Gaughan. "Everybody bets
said he tells his managers that a sports book is supposed
to accomplish three things. "Bring in (new) people,
service existing customers and make some money,"
Gaughan said. "The only sport that really accomplishes
that is football."
Casinos sports book honcho Art Manteris said his company's
books make money on other sports, but football's the unquestioned
king. "Football is about 40 percent of our handle
over the year," he estimated, noting that gridiron
games provide more than 40 percent of the books' profit.
"The sports book has to be an excitement center.
It must offer a competitive product, clean and comfortable,
and complement the casino. Bottom line, race and sports
players go where they're treated best."
Gaughan said: "Football's just more
exciting. It's kind of like the excitement of the start
of the NCAA (men's basketball) tournament every weekend."
state's 159 sports books reported a 33.3 percent increase
in the amount won from football bettors during the fiscal
year that ended June 30. Football bettors dropped $51.5
million of the total $124.4 million won on all sports.
Basketball bettors lost $33.7 million, up 12.2 percent,
while baseball wagerers lost $12.2 million, down 16 percent.
Casinos' most lucrative sports betting
segment, parlay cards, won $23 million from gamblers,
up 20.1 percent. Almost all parlay card bets are made
on football games.
is perfect for the masses, for a lot of reasons"
Manteris said. "Baseball is complicated, with money-line
betting. Football point spreads are easier for the masses
to understand. Football appeals to people from all walks
of life. Everybody
bets the NFL," Gaughan said.