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March 24, 2008

Bugsy Siegel, Father of Las Vegas Betting

Filed under: Sports Betting News — Joe Duffy @ 4:36 PM

From its legal inception in 1931, Las
’ gaming and sports betting industry has been
built on the dreams and imagination of people who have had the courage to
question the status quo. But while many a daring dreamer has left his legacy in
this desert oasis, four men stand out.

Part 1: The Man Who Invented Las Vegas.

It was on the night of June 20, 1947,
that nine bullets from a .30-.30 carbine ripped through the living room window
of socialite Virginia Hill’s home on 810 North Linden
in Beverly Hills.
The first shot crashed into the man’s head, driving the victim’s right eye from
his skull and hurling it 15 feet
across the room. The other shots quickly followed but there was no need.
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, the era’s most infamous
mobster, already was dead.

Ironically, hundreds of miles away, in a desert outpost called Las
, Siegel’s gambling dream was alive and well and
just beginning to prosper.

Ben Siegel first came west in 1937 to California
to organize the mob’s lucrative narcotics, prostitution and bookmaking
enterprises there. A much-feared New York criminal who by his early 20s already
had committed several murders, Siegel had partners in crime including the
underworld elite, from Meyer Lansky – with whom he’d formed an execution squad
that predated Murder Inc. by seven years – to Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Dutch Schultz, Albert Anastasia, Legs Diamond,
Arnold Rothstein, Vito Genovese and Frank Nitti.
Except for his movie star good looks, Siegel fit right in.

By 1945 Siegel had used a combination of bribery and deadly force to
consolidate his power in California, buying off cops and politicians and
killing those who couldn’t be bought. Three years earlier, in 1942, he’d taken
over control of Las Vegas’ racewire services,
charging the hotels exorbitant fees for the racetrack information.

But Siegel had bigger plans for Las Vegas.

Early in 1946 he decided to build the largest and most lavish casino in the
world there. But it wouldn’t be just a casino. There’d be a hotel, too, with
carefully manicured grounds, a swimming pool, restaurant, bar and nightclub.
There’d be nothing like it anywhere on the planet and as soon as it opened on a
patch of inexpensive land at the desolate southern end of what would later be
called the Strip – Las Vegas Boulevard
– Siegel instantly would be transformed from mobster to mogul. He’d be America’s
king of gambling. It’d all be legit, too.

But the casino, which Siegel called the “Fabulous Flamingo Hotel,” was horribly
under funded. Siegel had invested his own ill-gotten fortune, about $1 million,
in what was estimated to be a $1.5 million venture. But the hotel’s plumbing
alone cost $1 million and building supplies, particularly steel and copper, were
scarce in post-war America.
Siegel paid extra to get them.

The tab for the project quickly soared to $6 million, an incredible sum at the
time. Siegel raised $3 million in stock sales and got the rest the Mob,
extorting $2 million through the sale of his TransAmerica
racewire service, an audacious move that later cost
him his life.

On Dec. 26, 1946, with Virginia
Hill at his side and Jimmy Durante in his nightclub,
Siegel opened the Flamingo Hotel. It was a terrible disappointment. Bad weather
had grounded many of Siegel’s celebrity friends in Los
and, as luck would have it, the casino lost
heavily the first night. Two weeks later, $100,000 in the hole, the Flamingo

On March 27, 1947, Siegel
reopened the Flamingo. For three weeks, the casino continued to lose money.
Then, finally, as it often happens for those who accept wagers, red turned to
black. In May, the casino cleared $300,000.

Three weeks later, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, 41, was
dead. But the town he built, the gambling and sports betting Mecca
known as Las Vegas, was just coming
to life.

This article was written on behalf of
by Luken Karel for

Las Vegas Casino Gambling

Filed under: Sports Betting News — Joe Duffy @ 4:24 PM

By the mid 1960s, Las Vegas
was well on its way to establishing itself as the gaming and sports betting
capital of the world. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t room for another
visionary to challenge the status quo and expand the concept of those who had
come before him. Of the many daring dreamers and schemers who have left their
legacy in this desert oasis, here’s a look at one of the four men who really
made an impact.

Part 2: The Man Who Bought Las Vegas.

Early in his life he was known as a swashbuckling aviator, a playboy who
romanced Hollywood actresses and Las Vegas showgirls, a shrewd and often
ruthless businessman who parlayed an oil drilling bit into one of the world’s
great fortunes, and the man who had designed a special uplift bra for the
actress Jane Russell to wear in the motion picture, “The Outlaw.”

By his twilight years he had degenerated into a pathetic, paranoid,
long-haired, straggly bearded, reclusive billionaire so fearful of disease he
avoided all human contact, spending most of his time alone in a darkened room,
surrounded by boxes of Kleenex and covered only by a bed sheet. When the end
mercifully came, April 5, 1976, at the age of 70, at 3,000 feet aboard an airplane out
of Acapulco bound for Houston, his once sturdy, 6-foot, 4-inch frame carried a
mere 90 pounds.

But somewhere between the genuine genius and the mystifying madness was the
real Howard Hughes, the man who tried to buy Las Vegas
and mold it in his image. The amazing part is that he nearly got away with it.

Hughes was a month shy of his 61st birthday when he arrived in Las
by train from Boston
and took up residency on the top floor of the Desert Inn, Nov. 27, 1966. Only six months earlier, Hughes
had sold TWA, the fledgling airline he had first
bought for $1 million in 1939, for $546 million. Meanwhile, his Hughes Aircraft
Co., which produced weapons for the US
government, was valued at $1 billion and his Hughes Tool Company would fetch an
additional $150 million in 1972. There also was a Hughes helicopter division,
Hughes Air-West, a television station in New York,
an architectural firm, as well as substantial property holdings in California
and the Bahamas.

Howard Hughes was a very rich man.

So when Moe Dalitz, the feisty owner of the Desert
Inn, sought to make good on a promise from Hughes that the billionaire would
vacate his hotel by Christmas, instead of moving out, Hughes bought him out. It
was the beginning of Hughes’ attempt to make Las Vegas his own private Monopoly

Under the umbrella of his huge conglomerate, Summa Corporation, Hughes quickly
acquired the Frontier, Castaways, Landmark, Silver Slipper and Sands
hotel-casinos in Las Vegas as well
as Harold’s Club in Reno. Hughes
also negotiated to purchase Caesars Palace,
the Dunes, Stardust and Riviera
in Las Vegas, Harrah’s in Reno
and Lake Tahoe, and Harvey’s
in Lake Tahoe. Pressure from the federal government in
the form of possible anti-trust action against him probably prevented those
sales but Hughes consoled himself with 2,000 mining claims in the state, 30,000 acres of real estate,
including most of the land around the airport, and another TV station.

Because of the hundreds of millions of dollars he invested in the Las
valley, money that revitalized a stagnant if not
decaying industry, Hughes expected, and usually received, preferential
treatment. Hence, his casinos were dutifully licensed despite the fact that
Hughes refused to appear before gaming authorities, much less be photographed—something
that hadn’t occurred since 1957 – fingerprinted or interviewed.

After four year, Hughes left Las Vegas,
not only annoyed that he had failed to control every aspect of the city’s
destiny, but melancholy and fearful that his many contributions to Las
’ growth and prosperity might go unappreciated.

”So now I wind up a supposedly successful businessman who has wrecked his
health and consumed the best part of his life in the process,” writes Hughes in
Citizen Hughes, a biography by Michael Drosnin which
explores the eccentric billionaire through internal memos and notes in Hughes’
own hand. “I can’t help but feel I must have given something to this community.”

Gazing upon the gambling and sports betting wonderland that is today’s Las
, of this there can be no doubt.

Next, Part 3: The Man Who Played Las Vegas.

This article was written by Luken Karel
on behalf of for

Liberace Made Vegas a Happy and Gay Town

Filed under: Sports Betting News — Joe Duffy @ 3:59 PM

Entertainment became linked with Las
in the 1940s when savvy city planners and casino
entrepreneurs rightly reasoned that even hard-edged gamblers would need an
occasional respite from the drudgery of table games and the challenge of sports
betting that had lured them to this desert outpost in the first place. Of the
many who came to sing, dance and tell jokes was one so
unique that he set the standard for the glitzy performances that have become
the city’s staple. He joins Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel
and Howard Hughes as the third of four men who helped make Las
the most unique city in the world.

Part 3: The Man Who Played Las Vegas.

Although classically trained and universally recognized as one of the foremost
pianists in the world, Walter Valentino Liberace, the recipient of six gold
record albums and two Emmy Awards, became even better known as the symbol of
Las Vegas entertainment, a flamboyant, over-the-top performer who represented
the scorned image of wretched excess often associated with many of Las Vegas’
stage acts.

It is perhaps ironic that Liberace, who first performed in Las
in 1942 and whose talent on the keyboards was
without dispute, nevertheless helped pave the way for a succession of marginal
performers who offered more style than substance to their audiences. Without Liberace,
there probably never could have been a Charo, a Lola Falana, or the slew of Elvis impersonators who continue to
earn their livings in the city that brazenly refers to itself as “the
Entertainment Capital of the World.”

But marginal musicians and singers weren’t the only beneficiaries of Liberace’s
conscious, if insidious, pushing of the Las Vegas
entertainment envelope.

In a city where reality is no closer than the next bus ride home and the
unexpected now has become the anticipated, illusionists such as David
Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, and Lance Burton owe a measure of their
success, if not their very existence, to Liberace’s underrated ability to
transcend the boundaries of traditional entertainment.

And it’s something less than a stretch to suggest that the audience’s
acceptance of Liberace’s effeminate manner cleared the path for the
acquiescence of such long-running gender-bender acts as Boylesque
and La Cage.

Through it all – the ostentatious sequined gowns, the ever-present candelabra,
the gaudy gems, the spectacular pianos, the shtick that overwhelmed the music –
Liberace understood what he was doing.

”I’m the first to admit my stage costumes have become a very expensive joke but
I have fun with them and the audience shares that fun with me,” he said.

But Liberace, who died in 1987 at age 67, had a serious side, too. In 1976 he
created the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts which,
over the years, has funded over $5 million in scholarships to 2,200 students at
110 colleges and universities across the nation.

In 1979, Liberace also built the Liberace
, a fantasyland for adults
comprised of a trio of buildings located in southeast Las
. Walking through the non-profit museum, one can
easily imagine how Alice felt when
she first peered through the looking glass. The museum, which is stocked with
mementos and items from Liberace’s professional and personal life (though it’s
not easy to tell the two apart) has little relevance to most people’s reality. In
other words, it fits perfectly in Las Vegas.

Liberace wasn’t a visionary in the mold of Siegel or Hughes but he was as much
an innovator, bringing a new, bolder type of entertainment to Las
that transformed the industry and attracted
people, many of who didn’t fit the prototype of the average gambler, to the
city. After one of his shows, these same folks would hit the slots and table
games and engage in sports betting, an unexpected but welcomed part of the
legacy that is Liberace’s enduring influence on Las Vegas.

This article was written on behalf of
by Luken Karel for

Las Vegas Casinos and Sportsbooks

Filed under: Sports Betting News — Joe Duffy @ 3:55 PM

Las Vegas
always has been a city built on hopes and aspirations but only a handful of
true visionaries have had a unique and lasting impact of the growth and
direction of this desert outpost. Of the four pillars of Las
innovation, Benjamin “Bugsy
Siegel, Howard Hughes and Liberace are gone but one architect remains, a man
who continues to reinvent this unique city to this day.

Part 4: The Man Who Reinvigorated Las Vegas.

Steve Wynn was still a couple of years shy of becoming a teenager in 1952 when
he stood on a dusty patch of desert highway called the Strip and listened
intently as his father, a Maryland bingo parlor operator, told him of his dream
of expanding his business there. Michael Wynn died in 1963 but his dream – and
then some – never left the mind of his innovative son. It would take 26 years
but Steve Wynn would realize his father’s dream.

Typically, Wynn’s first steps into gaming weren’t timid ones. In the early
1970s, using money he’d earned in the family business, Wynn purchased a parcel
of real estate adjacent to Caesars Palace
from Howard Hughes. The next year he sold the land to Caesars for a profit of
$760,000. He used the money to accumulate stock in the downtown Golden Nugget
and, by 1973, at the age of 31, was the youngest casino chairman in the history
of Las Vegas.

Wynn next turned his attention to Atlantic City,
paying $8.5 million for the Strand Hotel. He promptly demolished the Strand
and built another Golden Nugget which, in 1987, he then sold to Bally’s for a
record $440 million.

Flushed with optimism and with his father’s dream still kicking around in his
head, Wynn then returned to Las Vegas,
a city which, despite its gaming persona, still was in search of an identity.
Wynn defined it.

He did it by building The Mirage, a $630 million all-inclusive complex that he
promised “would have mystique, like a lady half-dressed.” It did.

The birth of The Mirage in 1989 redefined Las Vegas as the
ultimate tourist destination, the home of wondrous new sights and experiences,
where casino gambling and sports betting were the main but not the only
A tropic paradise of waterfalls and foliage, luxury
accommodations, gourmet restaurants, a rain forest, an exploding volcano, a
swanky shopping mall, rare white tigers, an aquarium with bottle-nosed
dolphins, and the city’s most spectacular – and expensive – show, Siegfried
& Roy, there never had been anything quite like
it. In fact, Wynn was forced to add a new term to the gaming lexicon just to
describe The Mirage. He called it a “megaresort.”

Suddenly, the Strip, which had not seen significant growth in several years,
was awash in megaresort projects. In the eight years
immediately after Wynn first unveiled his plans to build The Mirage, other
would-be entrepreneurs played follow-the-leader, adding 30,000 rooms and $3
billion worth of investments to the Strip.

The success of The Mirage spawned the Excalibur, the castle-configured casino
with 4,000 rooms. Then came Luxor, a pyramid-shaped property
next door to the Excalibur. Hardly content to watch others build, in October of
1993, Wynn added another property of his own, Treasure Island,
a pirate-themed facility adjacent to The Mirage. Two months later the city
welcomed the MGM Grand, with 5,005 rooms, the largest hotel, er, megaresort, in the world.

Wynn would later build Bellagio, on the site of the
old Dunes Hotel on the corner of Flamingo Road
and Las Vegas Boulevard
and, most recently, Wynn Las Vegas, his high-end signature property that now
stands on land where the Desert Inn once stood.

Nevada’s advantage is… that we
have the creative genius of people like Steve,” said former Governor Bob

Wynn, the architect of the modern Las Vegas gaming and sports betting
expansion, just smiled at the remark, comfortable with the presence (and
accolades) of elected officials. In fact, Wynn has golfed with many politicians,
including Arizona Senator Sen. John McCain, the presumptive 2008 presidential
nominee of the Republican Party.

So how did it feel to rub elbows with the power elite?

McCain never said.

This article was written on behalf of
by Luken Karel for


Sports Radio Update

Filed under: Sports Betting News — Tags: , — Joe Duffy @ 3:37 PM

Safe to say we are the sports talk radio jinx. Back in
September, we wrote an article
“touting” (so to speak) the best sports talk shows from the standpoint of the
sports bettor. Two of the best, Joe Benigo of WFAN in New York
and Rick Ballou of 1010 XL in Jacksonville,
were taken off solo gigs and partnered with co-hosts. The two purists were
likely watered down in the name of “guy radio,” a bigger ratings winner that adulterates
sports discussion with shtick.

Benigo now shares airtime with
Evan Roberts while Ballou is diluted by former
Jacksonville Jaguar Tom McManus.

In one of the great twists of irony, WPEN
in Philadelphia is now part of the
ESPN Radio Network. In the process, they are putting behind the mic one of the loudmouths they railed against. Then known
as SR950, WPEN often ran commercials taking potshots
at their rival 610 WIP.

“You’re a moron, you’re an idiot and if you listen to
that, you probably are,” correctly bragged an oft-run commercial on WPEN. Problem is the slam is a not-so-subtle reference to
former WIP personality Mike Missanelli, as well as Missanelli’s
separated-at-birth mudslinging monger Steve Martorano
and sports talk Dean Howard Eskin.

Unfortunately sports talk purist Jody McDonald gets
demoted to mid-mornings to make room for the ad hominem merchant Missanelli.

Guy radio is fine, but that’s why we have Phil Hendrie, Dennis Miller and others as viable alternatives.
Sadly though, that format continues to debase sports radio.

The anti-smear ads on Sports Radio 950 have been replaced
with promos about Missanelli returning to drive time. The irony is duly noted.

The author is Joe Duffy. His sports betting selections are
at He is former General Manager of the
Freescoreboard scorephone network and CEO of,
the premier hub of world-class handicappers.

Beating NFL Odds

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Joe Duffy @ 3:35 PM

Before burying the recently concluded NFL season, savvy
gamblers will want to sift through those decaying bones to determine if the
gridiron carcass left any clues that could be used to uncover a successful NFL
betting strategy when the 2008 campaign kicks off in September.

One angle that has clicked for several straight years again took the blue
ribbon in 2007: If you want to be an NFL betting winner, bet a winner. Simply,
teams that were straight up (SU) winners on the field also were highly
successful at the windows, against the spread (ATS).

In fact, of the 13 teams that posted regular season winning records, 12 of them
also had winning marks against the spread. The 13th team, the
Washington Redskins, was .500 ATS, meaning that no team with a straight up
winning record had a losing record against the spread. The overall pointspread
log for these 13 teams was 126-77-5, a
62.0 win percentage, a figure for which any NFL betting enthusiast would sell
his throwback jersey.

Yes, hindsight always is 20/20 but was it so difficult to predict that teams
such as the Patriots, Colts, Chargers, Seahawks and Cowboys would have straight
up winning records? Some shrewd bettors even allowed the oddsmakers and
bookmakers to do their homework for them, relying on regular season over/under
win total propositions as the basis for their wagers. The above-mentioned teams
all had totals of 10 victories or more entering last season.

On the other cleat, of the 15 teams that had straight up losing records, only
one, the Buffalo Bills, had a winning mark against the spread. Maybe it was the
snow that was the great pointspread equalizer in Buffalo.

Those 15 teams were 92-141-7 against the spread, a cover percentage of .394,
meaning that those who wisely bet against those teams collected on more than 60
percent of their wagers.

Predictably enough, the four teams that finished with straight up .500 records
also were right around that mark against the spread.





New England Patriots



Green Bay






Dallas Cowboys






San Diego






New York












Tampa Bay






Total (13 teams)








Miami Dolphins



St. Louis Rams






New York






Kansas City






San Francisco



New Orleans


















Total (15 teams)








Houston Texans












Total (4 teams)



So, when it comes to NFL betting, if you want to be a winner, bet a winner.

This article was written on behalf of
by Luken Karel for


March 20, 2008

Wayne Root on Your Radio, Winners on

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Duffy @ 4:34 PM

I’m listening to my main many Jody Mac during the break
between games and now they are selling infomercial time to Wayne Allyn Root, sometimes known as Wayne Allan Root or Wayne
Alan or just Wayne Root. Whatever happened to Scott Sprietzer
and Jonathan Stone? Why not just go with
the best at

March 17, 2008

Sports Betting Forum

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joe Duffy @ 4:00 PM

Brand spanking new! Be one of the first posters to talk
sports betting. Post now about March Madness betting picks and more.

Post your thoughts on anything sports gambling wise. It’s
a brand new sports
handicapping posting board
in partnership with

Calcutta Betting In the NCAA Tournament 2008

Filed under: Sports Betting News — Tags: , — Joe Duffy @ 2:38 PM

The selection committee agrees with the 2008 Men’s NCAA
Basketball betting
in the West Regional. Top seeded UCLA is the heavy favorite to go to
the Final 4 as sportsbooks have them
at 2/3.

Agreeing with the seedings, the
betting odds say Duke is next at 11/4. Where the oddsmakers disagree is that
No. 4 seed Connecticut is 9/1,
while the higher seeded Xavier is 11/1. “We concur with the bias in favor of
major conferences,” says Stevie Vincent, Senior Handicapper at Xavier seems to be a popular Final 4 pick among media members.

The Cinderella team of the regular season is given minimal
chance to repeat that role in the Big Dance. Drake is 14/1 to make it to the
April climax to March Madness. Purdue is next 20/1.

Cy McCormick tells us of his favorite Calcutta
betting value team Baylor. McCormick, head of the online betting syndicate, says that Baylor has
been as streaky as any team in the country and is the classic example of a team
that “can get hot at the right time.”

Who will cover each individual game? The sports betting
experts at are
the best source for March Madness pointspread winners.

March Madness Odds 2008, Betting Lines For East Region of Big Dance

Do the oddsmakers agree with the 2008 NCAA Tournament
selection committee? In the Eastern
Regional, it will surprise nobody that the top overall seed in the 2008 Big
Dance North Carolina
is a prohibitive favorite to make the Final 4 at 2/3.

A modest surprise to sports betting expert Cy McCormick of
is how little respect second-seeded Tennessee
has gotten. They are tied with the No. 3 seed Louisville
at 7/2.

“Entering the major conference tournaments, most
authorities had the Vols
projected as a top seed. One upset loss in the SEC tournament has dropped their
value too much,” insists McCormick.

Stevie Vincent, Senior Handicapper at
somewhat disagrees saying Louisville
could screw up a few bracket pools. “If they were healthy all year, they would
likely be one of the top 5 teams in the country,” says Vincent, further
reminding that the Cardinals are, “as healthy as they’ve been all year.”

Despite the long travel, Washington

is still given a decent chance at 9/1. Fifth seeded Notre Dame is arguably the
consensus dark horse among the CBS and ESPN talking heads. The sportsbooks have their doubts, making
them 14/1 to win the region.

may be an interesting long shot at 25/1 as teams tend to isolate themselves
from distractions come tournament time. A “win one for” dispatched coach Kelvin
Sampson is a likely rallying cry for a team not lacking in talent.

The NCAA men’s basketball poster child for being a
Cinderella team is of course George Mason. They are 80/1 to wear the glass
slipper straight to the Final 4 a second time.

Throughout the Big Dance, check out
hand-picked game previews from around the Internet in sports betting
section at

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