Football Season Brings Big Business to Area Sports Books
The college football season is underway and the NFL begins, Thursday night. Nick Sfanos is the Station Casino Book Manager at Baldini's. He says he is already seeing a big increase in customers and the amount of money bet.
"We've had a long, hot summer," Sfanos said. "People love football. It's by far the number one sport that people love to come in and bet on."
Larger sports books, like at the Grand Sierra Resort, are also getting a lot more foot traffic now that the fall sports season has arrived.
"As popular as baseball, basketball, and hockey season are, they don't hold a flicker to what football and the NCAA football season have here from a betting perspective," Robert Kowalski, William Hill Race & Sports Book at GSR said.
The extra volume of people means many fans are spending money on more than prop bets and parlay cards. Many will buy drinks and food while, spending hours at the sports books, watching their favorite teams.
"I can expect full lines, some excitement, some people drinking, eating, betting games and having a good time," Sfanos said. "That's what we're looking for. Some excitement."
The Grand Sierra Resort has a sports book that can hold 700 people, watching 73 TVs, including a 16-foot by 9-foot screen. It also has four VIP rooms that larger parties can rent.
"This is the start of the season," Kowalski said. "Tomorrow, this room will be packed to capacity for all the college games, basically from 9 in the morning through 9 o'clock at night."
While Baldini's is a smaller casino that counts on locals for business, GSR gets a lot of business from visitors to the area. Gregg Lavey is from Portland, Oregon. The Oregon Ducks fan is in Reno for the weekend with his fantasy football league. They are enjoying the first full weekend of college football and taking their chances at the counter.
"I always bet," Lavey said. "We hate the Huskies, so we bet against the Huskies. I'm a big Boise State fan, tonight. I hate Boise State, too, but I hate the Huskies worse than Boise State."
While the uptick in business is good because of college football, it's expected to get even better once the NFL season starts, next week. Sports books are hoping to ride that wave until Super Bowl 50 next February.