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Buzz Daly: Sportsbook Scene

29 October 2001

Buzz Daly's Sportsbook Scene, as well as other sports betting information and analysis, can be found at www.buzzdaly.com. Reprinted by permission.

If you thought competition among offshore sportsbooks was fierce, it pales in comparison to animosity between two gaming trade shows that set up shop in Las Vegas recently, two weeks apart.

Dueling Gaming Expos is the best way to describe it.

From October 1-3, the first annual Global Gaming Expo was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It was organized by the American Gaming Association (AGA), called itself G2E, and was offered as an alternative to the show that is traditionally the gaming industry's annual event in Las Vegas.

That show, the 15th annual World Gaming Congress & Expo, was held October 17-19 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

Both organizations sent out press material claiming to be the "largest", "most respected", etc., etc., gaming trade show, as if any exhibitor or attendee had even the slightest interest in such hype. Attendance at both was respectable, but not as crowded as the single expo that was held in previous years.

Despite the preoccupation of both events with slot vendors and land-based casinos, there was much to hold the interest of offshore and Internet gaming companies.

Companies such as IQ-Ludorum Software had a booth at the first show and a presence at the second one. A sample of offshore-oriented companies exhibiting at G2E included Covers.com, Gambling Online Magazine, Gambling Times, The Green Room, the River City Group and a variety of financial and funds transfer services, including credit card processors.

The World Gaming Congress & Expo had many of the same participants, and at least two unique exhibitors of interest to the offshore community – LiveBet and SportingArena.

LiveBet is a sportsbook currently licensed to individuals outside the U.S. The company claims it is "focused on the development and support of a world class, fully integrated, real time, online sports-betting platform.

"This enables global sportsbooks to administer, control, maintain and operate an online sports-betting business, covering a wide range of sports and sports-betting products," said executive director Andrew Beveridge.

He said its product is, "ideal for both large and middle tier sportsbooks, already operating over-the-counter cash and telephone betting businesses, who would like to enable their operations for Internet activity."

For more information on the company, with offices in the U.K. and South Africa, contact Andrew@ecompany.co.za.

Another company of interest to offshore players is Sportingarena.com. It already has partnerships with the leading websites covering offshore gaming, including Bettors World, BuzzDaly.com, Phoenix Sports, The Prescription, Gamblers World, Ultimate Capper and Major Wager.

It offers a diversified product line of services such as My Odds, which lets visitors compare real-time odds from multiple books, and My Lines, which is a customized version giving quick access to the lines of a single or selected group of books. Other services include My Bet Alert, My Wagers and My Sure Bets.

In addition to the aforementioned sites, clients include sportsbooks, casino sites and technology providers. More information is available at SportingArena.com.

As might be expected, there was quite a bit of networking going on at both shows. Spotted at G2E were Carib's William Caesar, Football Betting Guide's Rick Thompson, and Greg Taylor of The Green Room.

Cruising the aisles at the World Gaming Congress & Expo were Lawrence Rabie of Who2BetOn.com, Joe Gallagher of All Sports Network, and Calvin Ayres and Melissa Wilkinson of Kazootek Technologies.

When we referred to the two shows as Dueling Expos, it might have seemed like a glib observation.

The reality is they are competitive. When the second show was in town, W2E took out newspaper and billboard ads that asked, "If You Are Here for the Gaming Show, You Missed It."

On a personal note, we got together with a lot of friends we don't get to see except when we're in Costa Rica or the Islands. And we were delighted to meet The Devil in person. We are referring of course to Freddie, an ex-bookmaker who now is a partner in a leading sports gaming website with a popular posting forum, MajorWager.com.

The Devil bears more than a passing resemblance to Ben Kingsley and yes, he is the real deal as a professional bookmaker. That was evident from his smooth explanations of various arcane and obscure bookmaking practices that we would be hard pressed to try to replicate.

Freddie has run large books stateside and in Curacao, and he brings a hands-on bookmaker's perspective to his site, which nicely counterbalances his partner Russ, who is a professional player with a bias for that side of the counter.

While they don't always agree with each other, their banter is lively, entertaining and informative. Yes, it gets a little rough at times, which seems to be the norm for posting forums. But they have a talent for encouraging provocative threads and resolving or defusing situations that threaten to get out of hand.

Site for Sale. One of the pioneers of the online world that covered offshore gaming, Rolling Good Times Online (www.RGTonline.com), is on the selling block.

Recent discussions regarding the acquisition of RGT by interested parties has fallen through, we were told by a source, and the company is once again for sale.

Asking price for RGT Online is about $380,000, with terms and conditions negotiable. Any company seriously interested in acquiring RGT is asked to make a good faith deposit.

RGT would seem to be a good fit with any number of offshore gaming entities. It is a high quality information provider and has a long history in serving the industry. Everyone we've interacted with at RGT was professional, courteous and highly qualified.

For more information, interested parties can email Alan Schneider at alans@RGTonline.com, or call him at 604-642-6464.

Pyrrhic Victory. San Diego's 27-24 triumph over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday was certainly sweet for QB Doug Flutie, who just couldn't impress anyone on the coaching staff during his tenure at Buffalo. All he did was win. But of course, he was too short, lacked arm strength, and was a little long in the tooth at age 38, so he was let go.

Fortunately, the brain trust at San Diego isn't as mired in traditional nonsense as the geniuses at Buffalo, so Flutie, now 39, finally has the reins of his own NFL team.

The diminutive signal caller must have gotten a lot of quiet satisfaction when he scrambled in to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown, late in the fourth quarter.

The Chargers' defense held on for the win, but unfortunately for its backers, the team didn't cover the 7½ points it was favored by, so those who bet on Flutie had to settle for a moral victory. At 5-2 under Flutie's leadership, the surprising Chargers would seem to be nicely ahead of Buffalo which at 1-5 is not a surprise.

Bettors as Boo Birds. When bettors are outraged, they express themselves with a vengeance the average fan will never approach. The loudest, nastiest boos heard in Vegas sportsbooks last Sunday were aimed at Seattle's hapless head coach Mike Holmgren for a coaching decision he made mired in stupidity.

Losing 24-20 to Miami, with 1:56 left in the fourth quarter, on 4th and long Holmgren opted for a chip shot field goal from the 18-yard line.

The sportsbook we were at, Sunset Station, erupted in boos, catcalls and obscenities. When the 28-yard attempt was wide, left, there were cheers galore.

Holmgren's lame attempt at explaining his decision was based on a strategy of making the field goal, getting the ball back with an on-side kick, then get another field goal to win the game.

Prevailing opinion among bettors was, go for it on fourth down, dummy. Your chances are better than the longshot scenario that was attempted.

Presumptuousness Personified. When renowned Vegas entrepreneur Steve Wynn delivered the keynote address to the World Gaming Congress & Expo, he revealed that his megalomania is alive and well. Indeed, it is flourishing. Count on the Review-Journal editorial page to reference it and deliver some acerbic well-intended advice.

In his speech, the R-J noted, Wynn compared his talent at painting "the stuff of dreams" on to the canvas of a casino property to the talents of Sinatra, Picasso and Michael Jordan.

Attendees could be forgiven for rolling their eyeballs in astonishment at such self-glorification.

Suggested the R-J editorial page: "Before he dons his white robes and promises to ascend to heaven twice nightly," Wynn might do well to recall what happened to his last casino venture. In the end, Kirk Kerkorian bought his empire and quickly turned a better profit for shareholders.

"If Mr. Wynn can find a way to remember that fact, perhaps his future performance will one day approach the heights of his ego."

Promises, Promises. We're going to try to get back on a schedule of writing two columns per week. For those who wrote, wondering if we were on vacation, the answer is no.

Newspaper, website, radio shows, and too much administrative and sales work chew up a lot of time that keeps us from our primary interest, writing.

We've been doing a regular column since the days back at Sportsfanonline, in 1997. But lately, our output has been erratic. Ideally, that will change.

Please send questions, comments, etc., to Buzzdaly@aol.com.

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