Tuesday, September 03, 2002

The lights went out with 7:41 remaining in the WISCONSIN-UNLV COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME on Saturday. When the lights couldn’t be restored quickly, the game was called and Wisconsin was declared the winner. According to the governing rules of Nevada Sports Books, a college or NFL football game that ends before 55 minutes of play isn't considered official, so all money is refunded.

I saw conspiracy theorists on the news today claiming the casino sports books might be behind this blackout. They obviously don’t know how Vegas sports books make their money.

A point spread is established in hopes of getting equal amounts of money bet on each side. If too much money is bet on one team, the point spread will move to encourage more money to be bet on the other team. In Vegas, a bettor bets $11 (or multiple of $11) to win $10 (or a multiple of $10). The loser obviously loses his $11, while the winner receives back his original $11, plus the $10 in winnings. The sports book keeps $1. If the sports books were able to get bettors to place equal amounts of money on each team, the sports books’ profit will be 4.5% of the money bet. The sports books don’t make any money when they have to refund money from games not declared official.