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Vegas casinos accepting WSOP Main Event wagers

26 Jul 2011

By Chris Sieroty
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- We're still a few months away from the final table of the $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold'em Poker Main Event Championship, but it's not too early to place a wager on your favorite player.

At Cantor Gaming, Martin Staszko has been made the early 7-2 favorite to win his first bracelet. Eoghan O'Dea is listed at 9-2 with Matt Giannetti and Phil Collins both at 6-1.

Rounding out the final table are Ben Lamb 7-1, Badih Bounahra 8-1, Pius Heinz 10-1, Anton Makievskyi 12-1, and Samuel Holden 15-1.

Posting odds on nonsporting events is nothing new to Las Vegas. Johnny Avello, executive director of race and sports at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort, is known for calculating the odds for the Academy Awards, "American Idol" and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Wynn Las Vegas, however, did become the first local casino to offer wagers on nonsporting events in July, when the sports book accepted bets on preliminary rounds of the No Limit Texas Hold'em Poker tournament. Earlier lines included whether legendary poker players Johnny Chan, Allen Cunningham or Erik Seidel would win money in this year's event.

Now, Cantor and Wynn and Lucky's Race and Sports Book will let you bet on your favorite poker player in the finals.

"This is a landmark event and a significant step for (us) and our industry," Cantor Gaming President and CEO Lee Amaitis said. "Ever since Nevada regulators keenly adopted innovative new rules earlier this year, we have awaited the opportunity to offer exciting new wagers on nonsports events to the public."

Amaitis said he hopes this was the first of many nonsports events for Cantor.

The final table will be played Nov. 5-7 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Cantor Gaming will take bets on all nine finalists until the first hand is dealt at the tournament's final table.

Wynn's opening odds are: Staszko 3-1, O'Dea 17-5, Giannetti 6-1, Collins 6-1, Lamb 6-1, Bounahra 7-1, Heinz 10-1, Makievskyi 11-1 and Holden 14-1.

Lucky's has established Staszko as the betting favorite at 5-2, followed by O'Dea 4-1, Giannetti 5-1, Collins 6-1, Lamb 7-1, Bounahra 9-1, Heinz 10-1, Makievskyi 12-1, and Holden 14-1.

Nevada gaming regulators in January approved new guidelines allowing casinos to offer wagering opportunities on nonsporting events. The regulations require that an event be supervised and the results be verifiable.

On July 15, the Nevada Gaming Control Board approved sports books accepting wagers on the World Series of Poker.

"To me this is a smart move," said David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "People want to bet on a diversity of things, and that's good. We're giving them more choices on what to bet on. That's our business."

Sports book operators don't know how much additional money nontraditional wagering could generate, because it depends on what and how many nonsports events are approved by regulators and how popular they are with gamblers.

As of Monday, William Hill PLC, the British bookmaker who recently purchased American Wagering Inc. and Brandywine Bookmaking LLC, both of Las Vegas, has yet to post odds on the final table at this year's World Series of Poker.

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