Issue #96 – From theMailbag
A couple of weeks ago I said that I would dedicate an upcoming issue to answering your questions and I want to thank everyone for taking the time recently to drop me a few lines. Your emails are always appreciated (and read!).
This first letter comes from a bettor who is interested in a career in sports gambling and it's a very common email that I get...
I have been gambling on all types of sports for the last 10 years. I would really enjoy working for a sportsbook, or something in the sports gambling world. How would I go about doing that? I know about all the sports, I'm very strong at college football and pro football. If you have any ideas please let me know. I would really like to start a career in the sports world of gambling.
I get asked this a lot and I always suggest that players start with a trip to Las Vegas. Ask every employee at every book what they think of their job...you may be surprised to learn it isn't exciting as you think or you may find that you love it. You might also get a lead or two towards a job. You can go from working in Vegas to working for Internet books, but it is more difficult to go the other way.
Internet books tend to hire in the late Spring/early Summer as they ramp up for the upcoming football season. Do some research on what jurisdictions would be best for you (UK, Antigua, Costa Rica, etc.), and then send your resume around to books. Be prepared to start at the bottom and work your way up.
I also recommend consulting a lawyer before you head down the international path as there are gambling laws as well as emigration and taxation issues to consider when working outside the United States.
Good luck in your search,
Where can I get good books on how to bet or how to book sports?
The Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas is an outstanding source for gambling books and they do have an online mail order service. On their site you'll find a book called Sports Book Management by Rhoden and Roxborough. It is a really good introduction into the mathematics and business of running a book.
Thanks for the email,
I noticed (and correct me if I'm wrong) that all sportsbooks number their games the same way. Is there a gentleman's agreement or rule among sportsbooks as to what system to follow when they're numbering their games? Just curious.
The numbers used are called 'rotation numbers' and are created by a company in Las Vegas for all books to use. It helps all of us as bettors if we can call up and ask for the line on game 917 instead of say Xavier - and clerks can find the game faster. With 100+ games on the board some days, this greatly speeds up phone calls which benefits us and players.
It also makes comparing lines from book to book very easy on the websites as games are always displayed in the same order.
I always thought it would make for good "discussion" if you were to explain exactly how Bodog gets its lines, from whoever it is you get your lines from, and how it gets to us, the Bodog customer. More specifically, how often are the numbers updated, by whom and how secure is the system used for updating such information, and how the software interfaces with the players from all over the world. Also, other aspects of the "business" side of Bodog, such as who designed the software that you use, and what it takes to keep the business running smoothly from the technical side. It seems an article like this would provide a sound piece of mind for those just starting out using the Internet as a sportsbooking option.
Thanks, and good luck!
Thank you for the email. This is a common question, but I am afraid the answer isn't exciting enough to provide the basis for an entire article. I have touched on it in several articles, but how it works is we simply use our own set of power ratings to come up with a rough line and then run it by a few experts for their opinion to form a consensus. From there, and this is the most important step, we simply post lines late and watch the market react to prices at other books. Not very exciting, but it works very well.
The analogy I use is selling cars. If I think I can sell a model for $29,900 and still make a profit, would I post that price if my nearest competitor was having success selling them for $39,900? Of course not. You could do very well selling them at $38,000. Same goes with lines. If we think it should be at -4.5 and the market is at -6, we wouldn't post the -4.5, but might start at -6 and move down quickly if the action merits a move or we could open at -5.5.
All lines are entered manually. I know other books have automated line changes but we believe some things are better done by people (although the AI is developing quickly). It's just tough for a computer to understand the impact of Tom Brady being listed as questionable, as an example.
Our bookmakers see cumulative totals for bets received in real time and adjust as they see fit. Line changes are sent out in real time.
The software is all ours; we started as a sportsbook software company nearly 11 years ago. Technology certainly has changed a lot in that time and being involved from the start has certainly helped us understand the challenges of a shifting environment and to be prepared for anything. We have a full time tech staff of 35 people to make it all work.
Have a great weekend,Rob
Note: These letters have been edited for clarity and length.
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