Honestly, as far as advertising goes, this is … meh. Caesars probably would’ve been better off having Smoove portray his most famous creation — Leon, from Curb Your Enthusiasm — along with one of his many famous Leon-isms.
In this case, how about Smoove fanning out 50 $100 bills, dressed up in Roman gear (standard), and saying, “That’s how I dooz it.”
Because that is exactly how Caesars is doozing it: Offering an unheard of $5,000 “risk-free” bet to new customers in its effort to expand its footprint in the 11 different states (and three soon to launch) where it operates. (To be clear: Whatever your first bet is, that’s the amount you could potentially get back in a “free bet.” So yes, you need to deposit and wager for this promotion to kick in.)
But any way you slice it, this is a sportsbook bonus of bacchanalian proportions. Consider: DraftKings has offered $1,000, PointsBet up to $2,000 (split between a regular and a “points” bet), BetMGM is offering $600, and FanDuel $1,000. Clearly, this is a monster of a “risk-free” bet, which I keep putting in quotation marks, mostly because it’s not risk free. To be fair, it’s the same type of “risk-free” bet numerous other sportsbooks offer as come-ons, but to be very, very clear: It ain’t risk free.
What it is, in essence, could be a few different things, depending on your tolerance for risk.
Options? We have options
According to Caesars’ terms and conditions, there are no odds limits, which means you could, for example, take some “sure thing” (there are those quotation marks again) at -2000 or whatever to collect your $250 and call it a day. That’s certainly a reasonable way to go about taking advantage of this offer, but as we all know, the only “sure thing” is that there are no sure things. And besides, where’s the fun in using the $5,000 to make $250?
So another option would be to find something you have some conviction on, bet it with $5,000 of your own dough, and see what happens. If you win, congratulations: You’re feeling great. If you lose, well, at least you have the $5,000 free bet — and it’s a singular free bet, as Caesars does not hand you back a series of smaller bets to try and win your money back. For simplicity purposes, let’s say you lose your first bet, and then place your $5,000 free bet at +100 odds and win. You’ve then won your $5,000 back, and you’re square.
But there is real risk here: You lose both bets, and now you’re out $5,000. That would be disastrous for most of the people living in those 11 states (present company included).
Door number three …
Which brings us to a third option, one which I wholeheartedly endorse, and one which I would do if I wasn’t already a customer: I’d risk $868, instead of $5,000, for a chance to win big.
Here’s the math behind it: Take $5,000 and bet it on something at -110 with Caesars, which is basically a coin flip. The profit, if you win, would be $4,545. But here’s the rub: You don’t want to win. Why? Because you’re going to go to another sportsbook and take the opposite side of this coin flip of a game, putting down $4,545 on the other side at -110. You win that bet, you’ll win about $4,132, plus your $4,545 stake. Of course, you’ll have lost the other $5,000 at Caesars, for a net loss of a little more than $868.
But now you’ll have the risk-free bet to play with, and with it, a chance to more than make up for the $868 and change loss.
The flip side of this is if you win the original Caesars bet. If that’s the case, the $5,000 would return $4,545, the same number you bet on the other side, and you’d be even, game over.
So in this scenario, I’m basically risking — at the most — $868 for a chance to win whatever I decide to use my $5,000 “free” bet on. So if I took the free bet on something at -110 (what amounts to a coin flip) and win, it would be $4,545, less $868, for a net profit of $3,677. So yeah, I’d happily risk $868 on a legitimate coin flip if the payout was 4X. In fact, if I could do that all day, every day, I’d do it. So would you. We’d all be rich!
But even if you bet a -300 favorite with your $5,000 free bet, you’d still net a return of about $800 ($1,667 less your $868 stake). Not too shabby.
Unfortunately, we only have one shot at this $5,000 bonus, and a $868 loss would still sting most people (present company still included). So instead of betting the full $5,000, you could (obviously) bet less and still have the same desired outcome, namely taking a shot on something for a big win knowing the downside risk will be significantly less than the upside return.
For my money — and to borrow another Curb Your Enthusiasm quote — I’d say this Caesars offer is prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay, pretty good, if only because the numbers are so big, compared to other, similar “risk-free” offers.
Could it be better? Of course. It could better if the “free bet” was $5,000 in site credit instead, or, even better, a “match” scenario, where Caesars just matches your deposit in site credit. But beggars can’t be choosers, and at the end of the day, I’ll happily risk $868 to win $3,677 on what amounts to an even odds wager.
Of course, there will be detractors here. After all, offering a $5,000 “risk-free” bet is certainly going to ensnare a few folks who almost certainly should not be playing with that kind of dough, but really, if that’s the take, then all the “risk-free” bets should be washed as well.
It would be nice, however — you know, since we’re all Caesars now — if the company would explain like I did above that “risk free” does not mean risk free. That’s my biggest — and only — issue with the promotion. But again, Caesars isn’t doing anything with its wording that any of the other sportsbooks aren’t. That should be an industry-wide change, but in the meantime, well, my wife never opened up a Caesars or William Hill account. Be right back.