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Fantasy Sports Nut: It's Still About Making a Good Gamble

When peeps in the business talk about horse racing, you'll often hear about selling excitement or the jockeys or drivers, or the horses, or how good or bad a venue is or is not. Those all mean something sure, but the great draw of any game or event that you are going to spend hours and hours preparing for, invest the needed capital to buy tools to make your experience better, and want to be a part of long-term, is the draw of the good old fashioned Benjamins.

I spoke with an track dude many years ago now when we were nattering on about racing, giving customers good races to bet at a good price etc, and he said "you have a point, because it's amazing how much our customers bet when they win." He ntoticed that year's ago and you know this to be true. Having at least a chance to beat a game is the draw of the game itself. When it occurs you want to do it more and more and more.

In the Wall Street Journal this past weekend there was a story about 29 year old student Cory Albertson.
  • He is enjoying his return to campus life but increasingly finds it difficult to make time for his classes. He considers it hard to believe, though more plausible by the day, that the side business he started last year with $200 could actually make him rich. Even more incredible: His business is playing fantasy sports. Using tactics more familiar to a hedge-fund manager than to your average sports enthusiast, Albertson is earning thousands of dollars almost every day. One NFL Sunday, he took home more than $100,000. "It is like securities trading," Albertson explains, "and athletes are the commodities."
Mr Albertson has honed his software package (a lot of it through Microsoft excel)  to scour for news, project who is going to start where, against who, and how effective the player might be. The system then enters his line-up in thousands of leagues - those paying money to winners - and away he goes.

$3.3B is spent (call it wagering, because most of it is) on Fantasy sports each year. Mr. Ablertson's "handle" is astonishing.

And for those who think you have to love the sport to wager on, or follow the sport, or spend hours upon hours honing a software package to take advantage of it, think again. 
  •  To him, fantasy sports isn't really about sports. It's about data. He doesn't trust his eyes to tell him who the best players are; he only trusts the numbers, which tell him who is overvalued and who is undervalued. Albertson's strategy is almost literally a formula, and it bears little resemblance to casual fandom. "It's all about having logical inputs that lead to logical outputs," he says.
Mr Albertson might not like hockey, but he likes playing fantasy hockey because it's all about the Benjamin's - about making cold hard cash from his efforts.

This is why here on the blog we talk about issues like this so often. In the skilled game gambling market the handle probably totals a trillion dollars worldwide. Cory Albertson's are everywhere. Yet racing does not make a good gamble. 7 horse fields, small pools, high takeout that spawned a tagline "you can beat a race but you can't beat the races" simply means racing is closed for business.

The next time you see a slots track stuff another 7 horse field with 30% takeout, the people complaining about it aren't whiners, they're trying to show you it's all about the Benjamins. When your current customer base loses constantly, handle will fall. And people like Cory Albertson will be submitting his line-up for the Grizzlies-Lakers game, and about forty others, and never thinking for a moment to look at you.



Comments

Anonymous said…
It's all about the Benjamins. True that.
kyle said…
Also, what does this say about the notion that racing has to dumb itself down?