Fort Worth, TX (PRWEB) May 16, 2006
"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" is not only a memorable marketing slogan that has become the city's unofficial credo, but it also applies to some of the best kept secrets that gives locals a leg up when it comes to getting value in a gambling Mecca that prospers by making sure customers get the short odds. http://www.eog.com/news/index.aspx?id=1458
Whether it is video poker, restaurants or shopping, savvy Las Vegans generally get more bang for their discretionary bucks than visitors. Of course, that is as much out of necessity as from shrewdness. Living in Vegas can be a cruel experience if you are a clueless, uneducated consumer.
One area that is especially rewarding to sharp players is sports betting. Nonetheless, many -- but not all -- bet shops in town squeeze customers by routinely offering options that are simply unacceptable to discerning bettors, even those who are considered of the casual or recreational persuasion. Case in point: the 20-cent baseball lines that are widely available, and some of the usurious vig that is offered on football teasers and parlays.
So locals develop strategies for finding the best places to bet.
The job just got easier with the recent opening of the newest Station Casinos property, Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, which has installed a spectacular race and sportsbook that is competitive -- visually and operationally -- with any shop in town, on the Strip or otherwise.
Given its location, where Charleston Blvd. meets the 215 in Summerlin, Red Rock is definitely a locals' casino.
This impressive facility seriously goes against the trend in which many Vegas sportsbooks have been reduced to the role of an accommodation for guests, rather than as full-fledged destinations. The meager "hold" or profit margin of the books, compared with other casino gaming profit centers, is routinely offered as a rationale for dissing sports bettors.
Not so at Red Rock. Kudos to Art Manteris, Vice President of Race and Sports Book Operations who -- along with Jason McCormick, Director, Race and Sports Book at the Summerlin location - helped design and implement a book that actually makes punters feel like they are special.
Yeah, we are well aware of the knocks on Manteris by wiseguys and professional bettors. So is Manteris. Suffice it to say that while he does not apologize for his policies which discourage action from the sharps, he maintains that he dispenses the restrictions fairly. Meanwhile, it is an indisputable fact that many bet shops here have adopted similar anti-wiseguy practices that mirror those of Manteris.
The first amenity of the sportsbook that smacks you right between the eyes is a video wall comprised of three giant screens -- 96' wide by 18' high -- that span the entire front of the book. "Each 32' by 18' screen can be reconfigured into a wide variety of layouts showing horse racing and sports," McCormick said, adding, "This is the largest such screen in a race and sportsbook anywhere." In fact, the book's sports ticker is a single continuous flow of information that crawls right to left below the full length of the video wall.
We were impressed by the 10-cent baseball line that breaks at -170 into a 15-cent line. This is not new, but an ongoing feature of a sportsbook that treats bettors fairly.
Red Rock is now the sports-betting hub of all Station Casino properties and its oddsmakers here move the lines, where they are instantly relayed to the other books. Until April 5, that function was traditionally handled at the company's original site, Palace Station.
McCormick noted that over/unders are generally adjusted by moving the money line, rather than the total. For instance, using a standard -110 on both sides, if bettors are playing the under on a game listed at 9, the line would not move to 8½ but would remain at 9, while the money line would be moved to -115 under and -105 over.
When we asked what it takes to move the lines at Station's sportsbooks, McCormick said several factors are taken into consideration, including volume, source of the action, and time of the bet. "We do not move on air!" he emphasized.
Limits on baseball are three dimes on a side, and a nickel on totals, run lines and overnights, which are posted daily at 5 p.m. Key games are offered at double limits. Parlays of two to four teams can be bet up to three dimes, while five- to eight-teamers can be taken at up to $1,000.
Football limits traditionally are relatively generous at Station books, and bettors seeking to play higher can make such requests to a supervisor.
Overall capacity of the book is 213 seats with individual TV monitors, including a section of 50 seats where smoking is prohibited. There are 28 wagering terminals that accept both race and sports action.
VIPs get royal treatment with five separate booths to the rear of the race and sportsbook, with a center piece built in to the area that can accommodate special functions, such as serving a buffet for players.
While not everyone can qualify as a VIP, McCormick noted that the requirements vary. High rollers will be invited to use the booths when the book is busy with weekend sports and horse-racing action. But during slower periods, lower rollers will get to use them. McCormick said the book hopes to fill the VIP area daily and give regular players the VIP experience.
This book rates high with us in terms of ambiance and betting convenience, with good sight lines to the TVs and comfortable seats. The nearby Turf Grill has above-average food with a varied menu, and it delivers to players in the race and sportsbook.
In addition to the actual book, the adjacent sports bar offers additional seating, and is ringed with ten 60-inch plasma TVs.
Nevada residents can open a phone or Intranet account via the Sports Connection service, and bet from home or work.
The entire Red Rock Resort is a sumptuous affair with upscale amenities, restaurants and hotel accommodations. We asked Manteris who was responsible for the race and sportsbook getting such preferred treatment, when other recently built casinos give sports bettors cursory consideration.
He credited company chairman Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, Station Casinos president, for having the vision to create a sportsbook that transcended the same old, same old. They were directly involved in the design and were insistent that Red Rock offer its race and sportsbook patrons an experience that is both unique and unforgettable.
We generally take a critical position vis-à-vis the suits that run this town and enjoy pointing out their shortcomings. But in view of the Fertitta brothers' bravura performance at Red Rock, let's simply tip our hats to enlightened ownership, and hope others follow their lead.
We'll conclude by noting that it is a long drive for us to get to Red Rock, about 60 miles roundtrip. So as much as we would like to be a regular there -- particularly during football season when we settle in at a book for hours on end -- we'll probably check it out a few times but then hang out at either of the two most convenient bet shops near us, Green Valley Ranch or South Coast.
-by Buzz Daly
-- EYE ON GAMBLING (http://www.eog.com)
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