Words by Sam Jacobson & Jason Kraus
The smell of cigarettes and regret along with the sound of ATM machines buzzing sets the scene for one of America’s favorite pastimes: Sports betting. Sports betting has been around since the early 1800s with the Olympics being the first modern sporting events. Nebraska has finally allowed sports betting to become a part of casinos, and there will be new sports books popping up around the state as soon as this year. There is a way, however, to bet without going to a casino, and that is by using betting websites and apps. Sports betting is more than just betting on a game as thousands of different bets can be made both in casinos and on apps. It has become a prominent part of some people’s lives, especially in college towns.
On the corner of W Denton Road and S First Street lies the city of Lincoln’s horse racing course. This casino is different from others around the country as the only thing to bet on is horse racing. This in fact will change in the coming years as the expansion of the horse racing casino is believed to start construction in the spring of 2022. The project is estimated to cost around $200 million and will include a new revised casino space with 1,200 slot machines, table games, a spa, restaurant and bars. There will also be a conference and event space with a hotel where rooms will have the views of live horse racing events.
“Everyone is really excited for the slots and table games that are coming with the expansion of the casino,” front desk worker, Julie Meyers said.
With expansion comes more company. “This place is really special to me because you meet a lot of people and make relationships with all the regulars and on race days it is a whole new scene with new faces and it’s refreshing,” said current teller for Lincoln’s Race Course Barb, who has been working at the course since 1998.
The construction of six new commercial casinos across the state will improve gambling options for enthusiasts. The six new casinos that will undergo construction in 2022 include:
- Atokad in South Sioux City
- Fairplay Park in Hastings
- Lincoln Race Course in Lincoln
- Horseman’s Park in Omaha
- Agricultural Park in Columbus
- Fonner Park in Grand Island
With an improved casino coming to the city and the recent legalization of sports betting in the state, the question that comes into play for many is when will sports books make their way to the casino? Sports books like DraftKings and FanDuel accept daily fantasy wagers and some believe that these sports books may be the frontrunners to establish themselves in new casinos, not just in Lincoln, but all over Nebraska. Sports betting is not legal as of yet in casinos, but there are many ways for people to get involved with sports betting in Lincoln.
Still even on the apps, someone needs to keep track of the money and all the bets that are taking place. This is where a “bookie” can come into play in the wide world of sports betting.
“You can bet through a series of online books across the country, I can pretty much place bets anywhere that I have access to the internet,” said an anonymous student who did not want to be named.
Betting on these platforms has grown and grown since sports betting first became a thing. But there is a newfound notion of bookies that keep track of the money and where it is going.
“It’s not as much about keeping track of the bets, but more of keeping track of the money,” they said. “Seeing who is owed money and owes money is probably the hardest part of being a bookie.”
Being a bookie isn’t just as simple as paying people, you have to stay on top of your game and add players to your book at the right time.
“Basically, I have a website where I can add players whenever I want. When I add them, I can control how much credit they’re given. This means how much money I’m willing to let them gamble with from the book. If they lose credit, they pay me. If they earn credit, I pay them. Since players don’t pay you directly when they make a bet, they will have a weekly balance that is reset at the end of each week. Their balance determines how much they owe me or I owe them,” they added.
There are many things going on behind the scenes in the world of sports betting, but what advantages could there possibly be to sports betting?
“First, you can make money. But I think the biggest benefit is how much of a conversation starter it is,” said the anonymous student. “You meet someone who is into sports, odds are they are familiar with how sports betting works. I talk to the same people almost every day just about sports gambling.”
Sports betting brings many people together and you can cheer for pretty much everyone with this being in play. You are not going to win every bet you put down and sometimes the “acceptance of losing a bet,” is actually one of the most crucial parts of sports betting.
“You’re not going to win every bet you put down on a sports book, but if you are willing to put in the time I believe that sports betting is a great place for sports fans,” another anonymous student said. “Also as a rule of thumb, if you don’t know the outcome of the game, Vegas always knows.”
Now the bookie is one of the most important parts of online betting, but the betters who actually put money on games are easily the most important. It is happening among one of the largest population groups in the United States, college students.
“I started betting when in my junior year of high school and the crazy part is I really didn’t have anyone betting around me,” Wilson said. “I was kind of the trend setter in a way of sports betting at my school.”
Sports betting is very common among this age group because sports are pretty much the center of attention, and what’s better than winning money just watching your favorite team play.
“I just enjoy the chance part of sports betting, it makes me feel more involved with the game, and brings excitement to games in which my favorite team is not playing,” he said.