Results for “sports gambling”
10 found

Coronavirus sports markets in everything, multiple simulations edition

For $20, fans of German soccer club Borussia can have a cut-out of themselves placed in the stands at BORUSSIA-PARK. According to the club, over 12,000 cut-outs have been ordered and 4,500 have already been put in place.

Here is the tweet and photo.

And some sports bettors are betting on simulated sporting events.  (Again, I’ve never understood gambling — why not save up your risk-taking for positive-sum activities?  Is negative-sum gambling a kind of personality management game to remind yourself loss is real and to keep down your risk-taking in other areas?)

Via Samir Varma and Cory Waters.

How would an implosion of cable revenue affect the NBA?

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one bit:

The decline of TV revenue is not the same as a decline of interest in the sport. NBA basketball is alive and well; it’s just that more people are cutting the cord on cable. They still might follow the NBA through its website, or watch highlights on YouTube, or share gifs on Twitter.

That shift is likely to favor the stars and the most athletic players, because they are more likely to be featured in very short clips. As for the incentives, player salary will matter less, and the desire to become famous on the internet — and thus win lucrative endorsement contracts — will discourage team play. Expect more attempts to produce spectacular sequences, even if that doesn’t always translate into wins. “Boring” but fundamentally sound teams — which are better to watch for a 2.5 hour game — will be disfavored by this trend. Sorry, San Antonio!

Here is another:

Another possibility is that the NBA will consolidate with fantasy basketball and video gaming to augment their revenue. The NBA already has plans to introduce an e-sports product. More speculatively, if more states legalize sports gambling, the league could enter into a revenue-sharing agreement with casinos or bookmakers. Imagine redesigning the playoffs to maximize the number of decisive games and thus boost betting interest — that could mean more but shorter playoff series. At least the fantasy component of such a basketball conglomerate might redistribute some of the attention back to players who are not superstars. Gamblers also tend to be well-informed about the teams they bet on, so this direction could encourage a smarter NBA, better designed for the nerds and fanboys.

Do read the whole thing.

Libertarian red meat

Last month, police in Fairfax, Va., conducted a SWAT raid on Sal Culosi Jr., an optometrist suspected of running a sports gambling pool with some friends. As the SWAT team surrounded him, one officer’s gun discharged, struck Culosi in the chest and killed him.  In the fiscal year before the raid that killed Culosi, Virginia spent about $20 million marketing and promoting its state lottery.

Here is the Cato link, and thanks to Chris Masse for the pointer.

Betting markets in as many different critters as you need

Last Wednesday, MyBookie, an online sportsbook, invited gamblers to place wagers on the summer migration patterns of nine great white sharks. The company’s website displayed odds on various aspects of each shark’s travel itinerary, using data mined from Ocearch, a nonprofit that’s been tracking the animals’ movements for years. An interactive map on Ocearch’s website monitors shark migration in near-real time, providing gamblers ample fodder for wagers — akin, perhaps, to a virtual horse race, conducted entirely at sea.

With most public sports out of commission because of the coronavirus pandemic, the betting market has been thin in recent months. Wagering on sharks could give gamblers an outlet, and some conservationists wonder if it might result in positive press for oft-maligned great whites.

Here is the full NYT story, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.

Las Vegas average is over no arbitrage condition

Now operators have started scrutinizing complimentary drinks, introducing new technology at bars that track how much someone has gambled—and rewards them accordingly with alcohol. It’s a shift from decades of more-informal interplay between bartenders and gamblers.

Sports books have capitalized on big events, too. During March Madness, a five-person booth at the Harrah’s Las Vegas sports book cost $375 per person, which included five Miller Lite or Coors Light beers a person. In the past, seating at most sports books was free and first-come, first-served, even during big events. Placing a small bet or two could get you free drinks.

“The number-crunchers, the bean-counters have ruined Las Vegas,” said Brad Johnson, who lives in North Carolina and has come to Las Vegas almost every year since the early 1970s. “There’s no value to it; there’s no benefit.”

Casinos on the Strip now derive a smaller share of revenue from gambling. In 1996, more than half of annual casino revenue on the Strip came from gambling. Last year, the share was down to about a third, according to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. More of the revenue comes from hotels, restaurants and bars.

That is from Chris Kirkham at the WSJ, via Annie Lowrey.

*Addiction by Design*

The author is Natasha Dow Schüll and the subtitle is Machine Gambling in Las Vegas.  I read this on the flight back home and it is a good choice for one of the very best books of the year, as well as one of the best books on “behavioral economics” and “nudge.”

Almost every page in this book is instructive.  Here is one good passage of many:

…his department noticed nearly three times as many deaths by heart attack occurring in Clark County as in other counties.  A closer look revealed that two-thirds of the cardiac arrests took place in casinos and realized that the high rate of death had to do with the delays encountered by paramedic teams negotiating their complicated interiors.  Although they arrived at casino properties within four and a half to five minutes of a call, it took them an average of eleven minutes to reach victims inside.

The casinos, by the way, very often do not let the rescue teams come in through the main front door, for fear of putting off their customers.

The very best parts of the book are about the elaborate private sector strategies to milk the clientele for greater yield, and how those desires interact with the very competitive nature of the market:

…the industry has since attempted to strategically steer players…toward the cherry-dribbling, slow-bleeding pole of play, a profit-from-volume formula that one industry member has referred to as the “Costco model of gambling.”


While in the past the typical gambling addict had been an older male who bet on sports or cards for ten years before seeking help, now it was a thirty-five-year-old female with two children who had played video for less than two years before seeking help.


“In my life before gambling, she tells me, “money was almost like a God, I had to have it. But with gambling, money had no value, no significant, it was just this thing — just get me in the zone, that’s all…You lose value, until there’s no value at all.  Except the zone — the zone is your God.”

The book’s home page is here, and the author’s home page is here.  This is an impressive book.  It is also a brilliant study of man-machine interaction and I found it to be a complete page turner.

While we are on the topic, I very recently received a review copy of The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Gambling, edited by Leighton Vaughan Williams and Donald S. Siegel, which appears to be excellent.

Betting markets in everything

Think you're going to ace freshman year? Want to put money on that?

A website called Ultrinsic is taking wagers on grades from students at 36 colleges nationwide starting this month.

Just as Las Vegas sports books set odds on football games, Ultrinsic will pay you top dollar for A's, a little less for the more likely outcome of a B average or better, and so on. You can also wager you'll fail a class by buying what Ultrinsic calls "grade insurance."

CEO Steven Wolf insists this is not online gambling, which is technically illegal in the United States, because wagers with Ultrinsic involve skill.

Student users claim it motivates them to work harder.  Here is the full story, here is another.  Here is an Andrew Gelman post.

How do they avoid adverse selection?  Is it that they lure failing fools, who think that money will make such a difference?

For the pointer I thank Max Levine, a loyal MR reader.

Is the NBA fixed?

Tim Donaghy, the ref who was caught gambling, says it is.  Here’s a good deal of evidence that it isn’t.  Small market teams do well in the draft and reach the Finals at a high rate. 

Yet I haven’t seen any MSM source, at least not in the context of these allegations, which admits the obvious: star players get favored treatment from the refs.  And this equilibrium is self-sustaining without any direct instructions from the Commissioner.  As a ref, you know you are expected to allow offensive fouls from LeBron James, the crowd expects it, other refs act that way, and you are never reprimanded for the non-calls.  So in at least this one way the NBA is clearly fixed and by the demand of the fans, even if they do not prefer to think of it as such.

But now imagine a nervous ref who wonders — if only with p = 0.2 — whether the NBA wouldn’t prefer to see the Los Angeles Lakers beat Sacramento and move on in the playoffs.  That same ref knows about the convention to favor star players.  And hey, the Sacramento team in those days didn’t in fact have any real stars.  What inference should you draw and how should you behave in your calls?

If the NBA has been tolerating at least one (and surely more) crooked ref, it is unlikely that other ref pathologies have been absent as well.  Toss in the $50 billion or so a year bet on NBA games and maybe you have some real action.

So it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the NBA is at least partially fixed, although not necessarily in the conspiratorial sense that many people might be expecting.

Here is what a professional gambler thinks.

The point taken from economics is that there are many ways of enforcing implicit collusion, not to mention that at some margin gains from trade do kick in.  If wealthy CEOs will cheat, why won’t NBA refs?

Equity shares in everything

If the new Internet venture succeeds, it will be a whole new ballgame for the gambling-driven pastime of fantasy sports, which already has up to 20 million players.
    ProTrade, which opened for business yesterday, will treat professional athletes like stocks to be bought and sold, initially in a theoretical currency. Cash prizes will be awarded to the most successful investors.
    The value of a blue-chip quarterback such as Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts will be determined by a community of traders competing to identify players most likely to contribute to the success of their real-life teams.
    In this bottom-line approach to sports, teams are known as investment portfolios and the real-life athletes get their own ticker symbols. Manning’s symbol is PMANN…
    ProTrade initially will be confined to trading NFL players, but the San Mateo, Calif., company expects to add the NBA and Major League Baseball after working out licensing agreements.

Is it real money?

At the outset, basically for the first half of the NFL season, no actual money will be exchanged in ProTrade’s market; each participant will get a virtual stake of 25,000 coins to invest.
    But capitalism will fuel the market’s activity, with weekly prizes awarded to the portfolios with the best investment returns. Later this year, traders will be allowed to create their own competitive leagues and set their own entry fees, with a $5 minimum per entrant.
    ProTrade will hold all the entry fees in escrow and then distribute jackpots, minus a 2 percent to 3 percent commission, to league participants who generate the best investment return. ProTrade hopes to make money from those commissions and advertising on the site.

Here is the story.  Comments are open, in case you know more about this than I do.  I like this part of the story:

Former San Francisco 49ers tight end Brent Jones, a member of ProTrade’s advisory board, believes most players will stay away from the site.
    "There are a lot of guys out there who aren’t going to want to see what they’re really worth," he said.