Ninety-four of the nation’s top sportsbook directors will put their reputations on the line to determine the best prognosticator of NFL winners in Gaming Today’s 40th Annual Bookies Battle contest. Participating bookies must pick the entire week of NFL games against the point spread set by the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The bookies’ picks, to be published every Wednesday in the Gaming Today print and online edition, are expected to provide an unprecedented single source of expert information to the nation’s sports bettors.
“It’s exciting to see so many well-known and highly respected sportsbook experts available to all bettors in one place,” said Howard Barish, the title’s General Manager. “Anybody looking for an edge in making their weekly NFL picks will be thrilled to have the selections of 94 of the nation’s top bookies at the click of a mouse.”
Among the elite pickers this year are sportsbook directors from over 45 Las Vegas properties including Caesars Palace, MGM Grand, Station Casinos, Westgate, and Harrah’s; along with casinos in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Mississippi, and Indiana, plus several online sports betting platforms such as Bet.Works and DraftKings.
“Given the recent data provided by the AGA that more than 38 million Americans plan to bet on an NFL game this season, the Gaming Today Bookie Battle will be an essential resource for expertise when choosing a team to bet,” said Johnny Avello, Director of Race & Sports Operations at DraftKings. “DraftKings is thrilled to have five of our sportsbook managers as participants. This is undoubtedly a prestigious group of sports betting specialists throughout the country.”
Gaming Today’s Bookies Battle dates to 1979 and features the largest number of participating sportsbook directors and managers from every legalized sports betting region in the country. The winner will receive $1,500 and—more importantly—bragging rights over his or her colleagues as the nation’s premier prognosticator.
“The Bookies Battle has always been a fun thing to look at inside Gaming Today over the years. I think people like to make fun of the bookies who can’t pick a winner,” said Jimmy Vaccaro, director of the sportsbook at South Point Hotel and Casino. “You’ve got all these other states participating in the Bookies Battle, which is a great thing. But I’ll make Nevada -150 over every other state to win this year’s contest.”
When asked if he had a sleeper pick to make a run to the Super Bowl, Vaccaro said, “You know who’s flying under the radar? The Buffalo Bills. Nobody’s talking about them. Everyone is talking about the Jets challenging the Patriots. But give me the Bills. That division, other than Miami, is very close.”
Ric Baum of Circus Circus narrowly beat Palace Station’s Jackson Meeker during last year’s battle in an intense competition that ultimately came down to the Titans versus Colts game in the last week of the season. Neither bookie was able to best Chris Marcione of Jerry’s Nugget during the Playoff Bookies Battle, however.
“The Bookies Battle is a long-standing tradition in Vegas among all of us in the sports betting industry to have a friendly competition. Now that sports betting has spread to all parts of the US, it is a great way to bring awareness to everyone where they can bet in a legal, regulated sportsbook,” added Jay Rood, Chief Risk Offer of Bet.Works.