Q&A: Why I’m Sticking With My ‘Local Bookie’By Brett Smiley | Published: December 11, 2018 at 10:14 am
For some people located in states home to new legal sports betting markets, the post-PASPA era of wagering means business as usual.
One person located in Northern New Jersey, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly, now has new legal sportsbooks in the palm of his hand, but is sticking with his guy for a variety of reasons.
Some factors that keep this 39-year-old man (we’ll call him “Jeff Bettor”) in the black market, such as a credit line, regulated markets will never be able to match. However there are other reasons that legal sportsbooks can consider as they collectively seek to migrate as much as the estimated $150 billion (some believe as much as $400 billion) wagered annually by U.S.-based bettors to legal markets in their respective jurisdictions.
The local guy over legal sportsbooks
Sports Handle (SH): How long have you been betting with your “local bookie”?
Jeff Bettor (JB): This NFL season marks the eighth that I’ve been with my current bookie.
SH: Is he truly someone local? Is he also an agent of an offshore entity that gets a cut?
JB: Can’t say that I’ve ever used an offshore, online bookmaker. Growing up in Northern NJ, there’s never been a shortage of local bookies. I use a local guy and bet on through a website online that’s connected to my account with him.
SH: What do you like most about the bookie?
JB: First and foremost, my bookie is good people. Over the last eight years, we’ve spent countless hours together at ball games and playing poker. I like the fact that my bookie is flexible in regards to our collect and payout number. I don’t need to meet him each week for just a few hundred dollars. We have a preset number and once my account reaches that number, we settle up.
SH: How does the exchange of money and credit line work?
JB: All local bookies that I know offer their players a credit line. The line itself can vary depending on your relationship with the bookie and how long you’ve been a customer. My credit line with my local bookie provides me with a $5K per game maximum and a $25K weekly credit line. The betting week runs from Monday-Sunday and the credit line resets each Monday.
SH: How do you rate the betting menu he offers, as well as the vig on various wagers, straight bets, parlays, futures, etc.?
JB: My bookie’s menu is no joke. There’s odds available for pretty much anything and everything. Soccer games in European leagues I’ve never heard of — will both teams score in the first half, highest scoring half, which team scores first, etc.
In addition to traditional wagering, my bookie also offers live betting, casino game wagering and racetrack wagering. The vigs offered by my bookie are comparable to what other bookies are offering.
SH: How about the sportbook’s technology as a whole?
JB: The website that I use to place my wagers is very user friendly and I can’t remember it ever being down. At any time from my phone, I can access live wagering, casino game wagering, and racetrack wagering. What else can a customer ask for?
SH: How likely are you to place a bet in person at a licensed New Jersey sportsbook in Atlantic City?
JB: It’s been over five years since I’ve been to AC and I don’t see that changing because NJ has legalized sports betting. I mean seriously… Atlantic City is a real dump. You go one block too far off Atlantic Ave and it feels like you’re in a hostile country. When I’ve gotten that urge to play some blackjack or shoot some dice, I get in the car and drive an hour to Pennsylvania where I can play at the Sands or Poconos. The drive to Atlantic City takes me 2.5 hours.
Complaint, he’s got one
SH: How likely are you to open an online account at a licensed NJ sportsbook?
I may sign up for a licensed NJ sportsbook at some point. If I had one knock on my local book it would be on the parlay rules:
- My bookie only allows one underdog in parlays.
- My bookie max payout on parlays in 10K.
- My bookie only offers 2, 3, or 4 team parlays.
SH: What about line or price shopping between your existing bookie and an NJ website?
JB: There’s no reason for me to line shop. My bookie offers me the ability to buy up to 1.5 points on sides and totals. I’d rather pay the higher vig with my local bookie while taking advantage of the credit being offered.
SH: Is there something that might get you to leave your current bookie for a licensed NJ sportsbook?
Unless a licensed sportsbook offers me credit terms, there would be no reason that I would leave my current bookie. Since that will never happen, why would anybody in NJ get rid of their local bookie?
SH: Has your bookie indicated that anything at all might change with his operation now that NJ has legal sports betting?
JB: My bookie thinks that business will only increase now that NJ has legalized sports betting.
SH: What do you think of the physical sportsbooks you’ve seen in NJ in person — if any?
JB: I stopped by the Meadowlands (FanDuel Sportsbook) this summer to check it out. A lot of the managers/tellers were new at that time so maybe it contributed to the long lines and long wait that I encountered. I wasn’t too impressed with the layout, couches and TVs, but I’ve heard they’ve since expanded to a larger sportsbook on the second floor. I placed one wager when I went there, unfortunately Luke Farrell didn’t do his job well enough that day to collect my Cubbies ML ticket.
SH: Has your bookie expressed any concern that the state may look to eliminate the local bookie as competition? If so, does that concern you at all?
JB: DraftKings CEO Jason Robins recently said that their mobile sportsbook app since August 1, 2018 has taken 8 million bets, an average of 62,000 wagers per day since the mobile launch. I wish the state of NJ would look at lowering my taxes and fixing the roads before wasting any time and money trying to eliminate the local bookie.