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Sportsbooks struggle with ‘Snow Bowl’ total; millions of dollars seized from survivor pool

Each Friday, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

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Las Vegas sportsbooks struggled with setting a total for the Indianapolis Colts-Buffalo Bills “Snow Bowl” game last week. The Bills won 13-7 in overtime.

“People were saying they couldn’t see the other end of the field,” Salmons said.

The Colts-Bills total closed at around 36 at most sportsbooks, the lowest for any game this season, according to sports betting database

Despite the low total, bets on the over were few and far between. At William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook, 95 percent of the money bet on the Colts-Bills total was on the under. The Bills won 13-7 in overtime.

Oddsmakers at MGM debated on what number to post on the over/under for the second half. They ended up going with 14 — and they still took all under money.

“What are you supposed to put up when they’re playing in eight inches of snow?” MGM vice preside Jay Rood said. “That was our worst game of the morning.”

Millions of dollars in survivor pool money was seized from a survivor pool operator by federal agents this week.

Sources said the organizers, who were running the pool for at least the past eight years, are Ron Kronengold and Mike Bernstein. Joe Conway, the attorney representing the men, confirmed that the website was voluntarily shut down after circumstances earlier in the week caused their business to be compromised. Conway said that neither he nor his clients have been furnished with any information from the government, other than a search warrant.

If Kronengold and Bernstein merely ran the pools and took no share of the winnings, it would not be illegal, per New York state law. However, if they did receive a cut of the winnings, which is usually 10 percent, they could be charged with bookmaking and profiting from a gambling activity. The rules and conditions to entries did not include any quid pro quo to give the organizers a cut.

At least 46 thoroughbred horses died in a wildfire at San Luis Rey Downs last week.

Marten said a small number of horses escaped to the wilderness through a fence that was knocked down and haven’t been located.

Some horses refused to leave their burning stables. Some got out only to run back in. Some made it to safety on the track, only to collapse and die.

Trainer Martine Bellocq suffered second- and third-degree burns over half her body as she tried to rescue six horses, according to Alan Balch, executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers. She was airlifted to UC San Diego Medical Center and placed in a medically induced coma, Balch said.

Officials said about 360 surviving horses from San Luis Rey Downs were moved to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and some 850 horses evacuated during the fires are stabled there.

A Detroit News article looks at the potential of sports betting in Michigan.

Michigan is one of 15 states where legislation has been introduced to legalize sports betting if the federal ban were overturned, according to the American Gaming Association in Washington.

State Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, who proposed the Michigan bill in January, told The Detroit News he was standing in line at a convenience store when another customer bought $293 in lottery tickets. The clerk told him the customer made the same purchase every day.

Kosowski said he was flabbergasted Michiganians can spend thousands of dollars on lottery tickets but can’t drop a $20 bet on the Detroit Lions.

“It looks like gambling to me,” he said about the lottery. “Something doesn’t make sense there.”

Adding to the folly, Kosowski said, is that locals can take a three-minute drive across the Ambassador Bridge and bet legally on sports at Caesars Windsor Casino. So those bettors end up spending their eating and drinking and gambling money in another city, not Detroit, he said.

Iowa gubernatorial candidate Ron Corbett said he wants to bring sports betting to his state with the proceeds going toward the mental health crisis.

Corbett, the outgoing two-term Cedar Rapids mayor who is seeking the 2018 GOP nomination for governor, said he prefers that legalized sports betting be conducted via Iowa Lottery online apps. But he also would consider offering the activity at state-licensed casinos in the traditional “Las Vegas-style sports book” format or providing interested adult Iowans with both options.

Based on independent projections already made regarding the revenue potential for sports betting, Corbett said it appeared the state could garner about $13 million annually from a casino-run approach, or about $24 million, if the activity were offered via the Iowa Lottery.

“I’m not hostile to the casinos maybe playing a role going forward, but I think the Lottery would be the better approach for the state of Iowa,” Corbett told a news conference Wednesday. “It’s the way to maximize the most from the transaction fees.

“But I’m not going to be a governor that dictates from the top down. I like to include people in the decision making.”

To that end, Corbett said he plans to spend $10,000 for advertising and establishing an online survey at where participants can offer their opinions whether Iowa should legalize sports betting. The survey also would ask how the activity should be delivered in Iowa, and whether the proceeds should be dedicated to mental health services or flow into the state’s general fund.

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta weighed in on sports betting.

Fertitta — who bought the Rockets for $2.2 billionthis year — spoke with ESPN’s Outside The Lines. When asked by host Bob Ley about the future of sports wagering in the US, here’s what he had to say:

“People just love to do it, so why shouldn’t the states make the money, why shouldn’t it be legalized? And I think everybody’s softening a little bit [on sports betting].”