Sports book scams

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Sports book scams

Before we get into the specifics of sport book scams, it is important to know how a sports book makes money. It makes money on the vigorish or juice. This is the difference between what they will pay on both sides of a bet and what you wager. The vigorish or juice is usually about 10% of the action (action is the amount bet). It is also important to get the wagering to be equal on both sides of a game: $100 dollars on team Bee and $100 on team Flower is $200 in action and represent a $20 profit no matter who wins or looses. If the betting is lopsided, such as having $150 on team Bee and $50 on team Flower, this is still $200 in action, but the bookie now effectively has a $100 uncovered exposure (wager) against team Bee. A good bookie is not looking for risk, he is looking for an actuarialized profit. The insurance industry grew out of modern mathematics and gaming, and the language of insurance is also the language of a good bookie.

The scams

Tout sheets

Re-prints of a subscriber newsletter from the Lombardi Sports Wire in Oceanside California are identical except for the paragraph on the game to bet. The game was Pitt v. Notre Dame. In one letter the Notre Dame is touted to beat Pitt by 30 points, in the second edition of the newsletter Pitt is touted to beat Notre Dame by 14 points. Both were touted as “Guaranteed Blowouts.” At a minimum this generates even action, so the bookie can make profits on an actuarial basis. These letters also remind me of the old gold or stock broker solicitations. 100 contacts are made and 50 are touted on something going up and 50 on something going down. These touts are followed by letters saying the same thing. Once a significant move is made the 50 touts and letters that were correct are called back and touted again: 25 about the price of a something going up and 25 about something going down. After the end of each round the potential investor is solicited to open his account with the touter since the touter is obviously giving his valuable and quality advice not for free but to get people to open accounts. This pressure is continued all the way up the chain of touts, each time showing the persons receiving the letters showing how much profit one would have made by investing with the touter on each of the recommendations. The touter will continue to call until the person either invests or tells the touter to get lost. The same thing is true with the sports book people.

1-900 numbers for sports betting

Many 900 numbers charge only $2.00 per minute, but they talk slower than molasses in January.

Consensus services

While consensus services are a good way to improve your odds, several of the consensus services just make up the numbers as they go, and, thus, don’t actually represent the strong plays versus the light plays.

Sports Service Monitors

Last, but certainly not least, are the sports service monitors. The sports service monitors supposedly rank all of the touters on their performance, but in truth most of their results are rigged, and rigged in favor of those who pay them the most. Typically for a fee of $300, the book can call in all of the picks for college and pro-football on Friday and Saturday. But for a Fee of $1,500 they can call in the picks that following Tuesday!

Recognizing a bad sports betting operation is fairly easy: The first question out of their mouth is “What is your phone number?” If so, then you have a problem. They are looking for bodies to bet with, or to sell your name and phone number to a mooch list compiler. You will also notice that several of the firms have different prices for different picks. Some are $300 per month and some are $1,500 a month. The higher rated picks go to those at the $1,500 per month fee and the lower rated picks go to those at the $300 per month level. They are all good picks, but like wines, some are better than others. These people are selling an intangible service, and some believe that if you pay more you get more. Not so: Quality is only determined by results, not by cost.

International Sports Books

Many sports books are going to the international scene and communicating through the mail, internet, and telephone to service their customers. Most of these services are legitimate but have heavy and significant operational difficulties. Many operate out of countries where they are licensed to take bets, and to do so from citizens that are betting from within a county where the bet maker is not recognized may be an illegal act. In the past, many of these operations could and would take a credit card as a method of payment. However, Visa, Master Card, and American Express do not like their credit being used for gaming, and have suspended or removed privileges from merchants and banks that knowingly accept credit generated from gaming for deposit.

Also, a recent decision in a New York court allowed a woman to regain almost $85,000 in losses she had accumulated with an offshore sports book charged against her credit card. The court’s decision was very clear. Gaming was illegal, and a contract for an illegal purpose was not enforceable. All losses were ordered refunded to the woman from her credit card company. Most offshore sports books are working against house accounts established through the wiring of funds to these wagering houses, and are distancing themselves from credit cards.

The Future

It is probably only a matter of time before legislation in various countries, or economic pressure, forces many of the offshore books to be excluded from business in certain countries. Also, with the increasing costs of transacting business, the cost of operating a sports book are going to increase. That includes both fixed and variable costs. This economic change, too, will have its effect. Books in low-overhead but properly regulated jurisdictions such as Dominica, St. Kitts, Bahamas, and Antigua (to name a few) will probably survive any down-turn in business.

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