CalvinAyre.com’s Becky Liggero recently caught up with Steve Fezzik to discuss about the rise of sports betting in the United States.
With all the attention on the legalization of sports betting across the United States, the focus now is on being ahead of the competition. For Steve Fezzik of odds provider Pregame.com, however, the recent changes mean there’s a larger well to draw from. “I think it’s the rising tide idea, that there’s plenty of room for more and more successful people in the industry that’s growing and is super healthy,” he said.
States legislating their own parameters of the industry, with New Jersey and Pennsylvania leading the way, will “really help my business,” Fezzik said.
He explained, “As a professional gambler and as a professional handicapper, I love the idea that dentist in Mississippi that wanted to bet on sports, but was kind of a little ambiguous of the legality of it, so he chose not to. I think that’s the type of guy who’s going to get more and more involved, and frankly, more money into the pool, especially recreational money, benefits everyone, makes the lines a little bit easier to beat when they’re all betting on the favorite, perhaps. Really good opportunities.”
Much of sports betting had previously been concentrated in Nevada, specifically Las Vegas, but Fezzik sees growth there, even in today’s landscape. “I think it’s going to help them. Remember when Vegas was the only place you could go and play Blackjack? ‘Oh no, Pennsylvania and Illinois are getting casinos. Las Vegas is going to go out of business!’ Well, Las Vegas has transformed themselves into an entertainment capital, not so much a gambling capital. People are going to like betting in Pennsylvania. They’re going to want to come and play at Caesars Palace and at the Wynn here in Vegas.”
More competition would tend to bring down the cut that sportsbooks receive for bets placed, but Fezzik doesn’t see this as being bad for revenues. He said, “I think that any select book that wants to make a name for itself, absolutely come out with -108. Look at the Westgate here in Las Vegas. Every book deal is -110. On Thursdays, they have a -105 big special [to] differentiate themselves. I think someone in New Jersey, that would be great if they did something similar.”
He noted the difference between now and the not too distant past, especially in terms of the use of technology. “We couldn’t live-wager [before]. You had to walk up to the window, wait in line. There’s no way you could get your bet in time. Now you can play during every TV timeout on all the major games. This hasn’t been the case even [recently]. Even three years ago, hardly anyone was offering it. Now… Monday Night Football’s coming up, and almost every sportsbook’s going to have live-wagering.”
When it comes to online betting, Fezzik said, “I have lots of tips, I could answer that for 10 hours. Number one tip, you’ve got to watch the games in low definition instead of high definition, because the high definition feed is five seconds slower. You want the information faster, watch it in low definition.”
Fezzik provided additional insights that give a better idea of his mindset. He said, “Try to be a contrarian, but try to be aware of what the marketplace has done. I have a friend who calls himself, he goes by The Eight of Clubs, because it’s the least distinctive card in the deck. He flies under the radar, and he likes to write down the opening lines in the NFL and college football each and every week, and then he looks right before the games kick off, at the games that move the most. So he sees a game like Tennessee Titans open minus three and a half versus Buffalo, and it’s closing six and a half, a three-point move. Some might say, ‘All the sharp money was on Tennessee,’ and he’d laugh, ‘Maybe, at minus three and a half. At plus six and a half, three-point differential, I will take Buffalo plus six and a half, or alternatively, I’ll think of it as, I’ll take Kenny White and the bookmakers, plus three on the line move’.”