The sports bet tradition in Las Vegas has been the same for as long as anyone can remember – you make up your mind, you visit a sports book window, and you pay your money for a formal paper ticket that makes a record of your bet. In Henderson near Las Vegas though, things are beginning to take a turn towards the high-tech. Any gambler now who wants to try his luck at a college football game or even a professional one, can turn up at one of the casinos, and collect a little touchscreen device that looks kind of like an iPhone. This is your connection to all the horse races, the football matches or any other sports betting action there might be on; and you can roam the brightly lit gambling atrium playing the slot machines or anything else, all while you keep in touch with your sports bet.
But the nice folks at the casinos aren’t doing this just so that they can let their guests play the machines and place sports bets at the same time. The machine turns each person into a bookmaker himself. Each moment of the game can be individually bet on. If an athlete is lining up for a field goal, and you do not believe that he will make it, you can bet on that particular field goal in an instant. The sports betting business has always been an underperformer at Las Vegas casinos. Typically, the casinos only make about $10,000 to every million that the casinos make on traditional gambling.
They have needed more appealing ways to get people to try placing a sports bet or two. So how does this actually work if you happen to be visiting Las Vegas soon? It’s pretty simple – you still need to stand in line and hand over your cash for credits to use on these pocket machines. And then away you go. In some casinos though you’re not allowed to place sports bets while you play a table game. And if you are bored waiting for something interesting to happen with the sporting event you bet on, you can easily use your credits playing online blackjack or baccarat on the device. You can also make bets that calculate odds on the fly based on what cards are on the table (called an in-running bet).
The company that makes these devices, called Cantor Gaming, gets its technology from another branch of its business, Cantor Index, that deals in financial bets on share prices, commodities and the like. To them, sports betting is just the same. They use the same algorithm – it’s just that the commodity they deal in now is a horse race. At first, gamblers seemed a little wary of the device; they just didn’t get the feeling they liked of taking part in the feverish bidding frenzy that you see at a sports bet location. But with time, they’ve taken to these devices pretty well. Will it help people gamble more efficiently or will it drain people of their resources altogether? That remains to be seen.