It was another news-filled week in the world of gambling.
In this installment of a weekly round-up from US Bets, we’re giving you a rundown of some of the more interesting new nuggets from the world of sports betting and beyond.
Also be sure to check out Sports Handle for its weekly news recap called “Get a Grip.”
Huge wager on Khabib
FanDuel said that in New Jersey it has taken a whopping $225,000 bet on undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov to defeat Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 on Oct. 24. The bet would pay out $324,900. That’s an unusually large bet on a UFC fight, but Nurmagomedov apparently is screaming value for some bettors as the grappling monster is just -225. Nurmagomedov has been spotted as high as -280.
Multi-bracelet winner streak continues
The 2020 World Series of Poker is humming along online amid the pandemic. This week, Canadian poker player Alek Stasiak won his second online bracelet of the summer. Every year since 2000, the WSOP has seen at least one player win two or more bracelets in a summer. Stasiak’s combined winnings from the two bracelets was an impressive $616,709. Phil Hellmuth still leads the poker world with 15 bracelets.
Suspected arrested in murder of Michigan poker pro
The case involving the horrific murder of poker pro Susie Zhao had a development in recent days as police in Michigan arrested a suspect in the grisly crime. At this time, authorities don’t believe the crime had anything to do with Zhao’s career as a poker player. The case has garnered national attention.
Unpaid winning soccer bets under review
According to ESPN, FanDuel has withheld paying winning wagers to gamblers who bet on some recent soccer matches after FanDuel realized it had posted incorrect and overly generous lines. Regulators in New Jersey and Indiana are reportedly looking into the matter in what some folks on Twitter are saying is a black eye for the legal industry, with the implication being that the sportsbook has free-rolled customers.
Lottery winner nearly lets $50k ticket expire
According to the Post Crescent, the Wisconsin Lottery thought a winning $50,000 ticket, which had roughly 1-in-900,000 odds, was going to go unclaimed. However, the ticket was delivered to the lottery after the 180-day deadline. Fortunately for the lottery player, the mail was postmarked July 6, three days before the ticket was set to expire, so she was able to claim the money. The state would have kept it otherwise.
Brooklyn Nets pull off historic win
An NBA game this week pitting the title favorites Milwaukee Bucks against the hapless Brooklyn Nets had a rather interesting moneyline, with one book offering pretty unappetizing prices.
Wow, Milwaukee Bucks -10000 (bet $100 to win $1) vs. the depleted Nets today on FOX Bet site. Nets are +1600. FOX Bet not taking any chances.
— Eric Raskin + (@EricRaskin) August 4, 2020
Of course, anything can happen — and it did. The Nets pulled off one of the largest upsets in recent memory.
They cash as 14-1 underdogs on the ML.
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) August 4, 2020
Odds of Alex Trebek taking the White House?!
The political prediction markets are hot right now as Joe Biden zeros in on his VP pick. The race between Biden and President Trump is also generating significant trading volume. No legal sportsbook in the U.S. can take bets on the election, but that hasn’t stopped one longtime Las Vegas bookmaker from continuing to post election odds for entertainment purposes only — and we can’t stress the word entertainment enough.
He has some rather bizarre people in the running, such as Alex Trebek and Roger Goodell. But perhaps more hilarious is Kanye West, who is actually trying to run, being just a 5/1 underdog.
next prez out of this bunch kanye west 5-1 steven a smith 8-1 alex trebek 12-1 roger goodel 25-1 al sharpton 40-1 axel rose 100-1 ritchie baccarelli 250-1 any one else you win the state of maine
— Jimmy Vaccaro (@JimmyVaccaro) August 6, 2020
Some sportsbooks closing for good if no NFL in fall?
As of Friday, more than 60 players have opted out of playing the upcoming NFL season, which could be at risk due to the ongoing — and often escalating — public health crisis. There is no word yet that the season won’t happen, but it’s something to think about in early August. One sports betting insider told US Bets this week that the absence of professional football would be devastating for the industry. “If there’s no NFL football, I think we would see some dramatic closures around the country for sportsbook operators who have invested heavily in different platforms in different states,” the insider said.
New poker AI is faster, stronger
Researchers at Facebook — yes, the evil empire that is Facebook — say they have raised the bar on poker-playing AI. In a new paper, the researchers say that the new bot is faster and even stronger at heads-up no-limit hold’em than earlier versions. They won’t release the code because it’s risky for online poker.
Meager problem gambling funding
It’s well known that problem gamblers in the U.S. don’t receive the kind of resources and help they deserve. That could be greatly exacerbated with the proliferation of online sportsbooks and online casinos. A new paper from UNLV on the status of the sports betting market highlighted just how bad states are at helping those in need. The research found that in 2016, “the total amount of public funding allocated for problem gambling services in the U.S. was $73.0 million, with individual state expenditures ranging from $0 to $8.47 million. For states that did allocate funding to problem gambling causes, the average per capita allocation for problem gambling services was 37 cents.” Something has to change.
Ohio could consider unusual sports betting regulation
The good news is that Ohio is still very much in play for sports betting legalization in 2020, as lawmakers in the House and Senate are working on hashing out the key differences between the respective versions. As an interesting aside, one of the lawmakers thinks Ohio might be best served by preventing anyone without an Ohio residence from registering for an online/mobile sports betting account. That kind of rule would be the first of its kind in the U.S. sports wagering industry — and of course controversial.
RIP casino buffets?
It was reported that Caesars Entertainment, one of the top casino operators in Las Vegas and around the country, might be done with buffets for good. Forever is a long time, but it appears the COVID-19 pandemic could result in the buffets being permanently eliminated. They could always return later this decade?