Cantor Gaming announced last Friday that their operations are taking wagers on the 2011 World Series of Poker Championship Event. Cantor Gaming, through all of its outlets, is allowing bets on all nine finalists as to who will win the event or what place they will finish. This style of betting on the outcome of the WSOP represents the first non-sports event that the Nevada Gaming Control Board has approved for wagers since it changed gambling regulations for non-sports proposition bets earlier this year.
Lee Amaitis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cantor Gaming, commented: “This is a landmark event and a significant step for Cantor Gaming and our industry. Ever since Nevada regulators adopted innovative new rules earlier this year, we have keenly awaited the opportunity to offer exciting new wagers on non-sport events to the public. We are passionate about supporting the World Series of Poker, an exciting, high profile tournament with strong international appeal. We hope this is the first of many similar events that we can support.”
The change in the laws by the Nevada Gaming Commission dates back to earlier this year. Back in January, the Nevada Gaming Commission amended regulations to allow for wagering on “event betting.” This form of betting would be dependent on the outcome of non-sports activities, such as major award shows such as the Oscars, the Grammys or the Juno Awards, reality television such as “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race,” poker and bull riding.
Cantor Gaming is in charge of the race and sports book operations at four Las Vegas resorts: the M Resort Spa Casino at the Wynn, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the Tropicana Las Vegas and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Recently, Cantor Gaming entered into an agreement with the Las Vegas Sands Corporation to operate the race and sports books at The Venetian and Palazzo.
There are several aspects of the new “event betting” system that have come out as of late. There is a cap on any bet placed on a player at $10,000, meaning that even if the long shot on the board, the United Kingdom’s Samuel Holden at 14:1, puts a bet on himself to win and does so, the most he would win would be $140,000, not enough, regulators feel, to affect the outcome of the WSOP.
Jason McCormick, the director of race and sports operations for Station Casinos, put it bluntly when he was quoted in the Las Vegas Sun as stating, “They are all playing for much more money than any sports book wagers are going to be,” McCormick said. “If there’s any funny business or wagers coming in, then I think as a group the Las Vegas sports books would be highly alerted to it and able to put a quick stop to it.”
Currently, the Wynn is offering 3:1 odds on chip leader Martin Staszko to win the tournament, with Ireland’s Eoghan O’Dea’s line set at 17:5. The three Americans at the table – Matt Gianetti, Phil Collins and Ben Lamb – are all set at 6:1. The table rounds out with Badih Bounahra at 7:1, Pius Heinz at 10:1, Anton Makievskyi at 11:1 and the short stacked Samuel Holden at 14:1.
At Bodog, Staszko is currently set as a 4:1 favorite, with O’Dea in at 9:2. Gianetti and Lamb are currently in at 6:1, separating themselves from Collins, in at 13:2. The rest of the field is set with Bounahra at 9:1, Pius Heinz at 11:1, Anton Makievskyi at 12:1 and Samuel Holden at 16:1.
Cantor Gaming will be taking bets on all nine finalists until the first hand is dealt at the tournament’s final table. Wagers are available at all of Cantor Gaming’s sports books in Las Vegas and other outlets in Las Vegas are also following the “event betting” trend. The only outlet that is taking things a bit slower is the Rio in Las Vegas. Caesars Entertainment, who owns the Rio and the World Series of Poker, has some more regulations to put in place as the host of the WSOP to ensure fair wagering on the tournament.
WSOP spokesman Seth Palansky tells the Las Vegas Sun that he expects that the NGC and Caesars will figure the situation out and, after its approval, Caesars Entertainment will add even more betting options. Discussions are under way to offer a full menu of propositional wagers, including everything from ‘what will be the color of the final table’s first flop — red or black?’ to ‘how many opponents will the chip leader eliminate?’
As we all know, this is just one of the things to look forward to as we head to the “November Nine.” Action begins with the final nine on November 5, with the heads up combatants coming back on November 7 to determine our next World Champion.