Entries in Gamblers (2)


Gamblers Betting Near Record Amount on Super Bowl

Larry French/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Gamblers are betting what could be a record amount of money on Super Bowl XLVII.

It's still too early to predict exactly how much money will be riding on the line come Feb. 3, but experts say the total being wagered in Las Vegas alone could approach the all-time Super Bowl record -- $94.9 million -- set back in 2006.

"It's an intriguing match up because the coaches are brothers," says Jay Kornegay, vice president of Las Vegas' Superbook, the world's largest race and sports betting book.  "The Ravens, the hottest team, may not have a large fan base, but they certainly add an intriguing element.  There's the fact Ray Lewis is retiring.  It's one of the better teams versus the hottest team."

It's hard to predict how much money ultimately will be bet, says Kornegay, because about 80 percent of all wagers get made in the last few days before the game.  Still, he says, he's expecting this year's Super Bowl to come very close to the record -- probably between $92 million and $93 million.

And that figure, he says, represents "a drop in the bucket" compared to total U.S. betting on the outcome, almost all of which is illegal.  The only legal place to place a Super Bowl bet in the U.S. is Nevada, though New Jersey is working to legalize sports betting at its 12 Atlantic City casinos despite a federal ban.

The line in Las Vegas right now, Kornegay says, has the 49ers a 4-point favorite.  That will likely change as the bookmakers attempt to even out the betting before game time.

As in past Super Bowls, so-called proposition bets -- wagers on such specific things as how big the point spread will be, how many touchdown passes will be thrown by a given player, or whether either team will score in the first five-and-a-half minutes -- are extremely popular, and can represent, Kornegay says, anywhere from 10 percent to as much as 50 percent of total betting on the game.

Although Superbook will eventually offer 20 pages of such betting possibilities -- some 300 in all -- Nevada bookies are restricted to offering only those propositions whose outcome can be documented on the field of play.  So, for instance, Superbook cannot take bets on how long it will take Alicia Keys to sing the National Anthem.

"In the state of Nevada," Kornegay says, "we can't take the real crazy ones."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Deadbeat Gamblers Stiff Casinos

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two years ago, gambler Jerome Powers lost $1.2 million playing blackjack at Mohegan Sun, a Connecticut casino owned by the Pequot Indians. The money he lost was in the form of a marker -- a credit extended by the casino, according to court papers.

Though Powers wrote a series of checks that same night to cover the amount, none were honored by his bank. He later stopped payment on them, the documents state. The Pequots, understandably, were peeved. Though they have used Connecticut's courts to try to get their money back, Powers has resisted their efforts, advancing a variety of arguments in legal papers as to why he shouldn't have to repay.

First, he said he'd welshed on principal, claiming in court papers that the marker given him amounted to an illegal contract, since the State of Connecticut forbids both the extension of credit for gambling and gambling itself. He further argued that the State of Connecticut had no legal authority in the case, since the Pequots' reservation, like other Indian reservations, enjoys the status of a sovereign nation. A judge in New London rejected these views and in January ruled that the Pequots could attach Powers' assets to the tune of $1.2 million. Powers has appealed the ruling.

At no time has he asserted that he can't pay. In fact, he seems, by every outward appearance, to be swimming in dough.

According to a November story in the Miami Herald, Powers in late 2007 sold a magazine he had founded. Purchase price: $33 million. Earlier that same year he told the New York Post he had entered into a multi-year $20 million magazine deal with Donald Trump.

Whatever the reason for Powers' refusal to pay the Pequots, he is only one of a growing number of gamblers resorting to inventive legal means to repudiate their debts.

A gambler at an Indiana casino owing $125,000 asserted that though the casino knew she had a gambling problem, it seduced her back to the tables by offering her free food, free lodging and free limo rides. When the casino sued to collect, she countersued. The case has yet to be resolved.

No one knows for sure how big a problem welshing has become for the gaming industry nationwide. The American Gaming Association doesn't keep statistics on it. Nor does the biggest state gaming control board in the country, Nevada's. "I don't think there's been a material change," says Frank Streshley, chief of the board's tax license division. "The casinos obviously have very strict credit policies. They've tightened up their standards as the economy has weakened."

That's not the view shared by Professor I. Nelson Rose, a leading expert on gambling law, author, consultant and frequent expert witness and for governments and industry. Look at Atlantic City's casinos, says Rose. These, unlike their Nevada cousins, publicly report revenue and bad debt per casino. While almost all reported a decrease in revenue for 2009 and 2010, bad debts at many were up.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio