Whether you are a longtime resident or new to Las Vegas making the occasional wager in one of the many sportsbooks across the valley is likely part of your life. There are always rules and etiquette with such a highly regulated industry that involves billions of dollars a year. Sports betting has very specific rules involved and violating these codes of conduct and etiquette can not only bring you a stern talking to, but a lifetime ban from betting establishment. Follow these simple rules and you'll be laying down prop bets and filling out parlay cards for years to come.
Sports Book Etiquette
Rule #1: Do Not Make A Bet For Another Person.
This rule is not only in violation of good behavior, it is against the law. While the Nevada Gaming Commission overturned the sports book cell phone ban in 2008, a ban that was primarily in place to prevent this practice, the placing of bets for another person remains illegal. This is especially true when the person is under 21.
Rule #2: Be Ready To Bet.
Sportsbooks odds can move depending on the action (aka a line can change depending on how many people bet one way or the other) and many pro gamblers will wait to make their bets until the line hits the mark they are seeking. One sure way to anger fellow bettors and wager takers alike is to get in line unprepared. That means know what you want to bet and how much you want to wager. And don't be like the old lady at the grocery store and wait to the last minute to search for your cash. Have your money ready.
Rule #3: Check Your Tickets Before Leaving the Window
After you've made your bet double check them before, yes BEFORE, leaving the window. any inaccuracies on your betting slip can be fixed as long as you have not left the window, counter or desk. I cannot stress this one enough as it literally cost me $600 once on a three team parlay during the 2004 NFL playoffs. After leaving the counter I discovered my ticket only had two of the three teams. when all three came through later my error cost me big time. 99% of the time tickets will be accurate, but it only takes one mix up to create a lifetime of ticket checking discipline.
Rule #4: Don't Pry Into Others Bets
This one should fall under the category of general etiquette, but it amazes me how many times I see some poor schlub ask another gambler, and in Hollywood movie style it is invariably a handicapper or pro gambler that they ask, what they are betting. Wagering on sports is a tactical game and many gamblers spend a lot of time and money choosing their bets with extreme care. Why then should they just give up their hard earned "goods" to some amateur. They won't so don't ask. All you'll get is a dirty look and a few less than kind words.
Rule#5: Keep the Drinking Under Control
By all means have a few cocktails while you're watching the big game at Caesar's or The Wynn. Free drinks are part of the game and part of the fun, but keep it under control. Getting hammered at the sportsbook is bad news for several reasons. First off you're much more likely to make stupid bets after you've had a few whiskey gingers than if you keep your wits about you. Nobody wants to see you lose the mortgage payment on a wager for the St. Louis Rams to beat the Green Bay Packers by three touchdowns. Second, drunk people are loud and obnoxious and disruptive and these are three traits that will seriously anger the rest of the sports betting crowd and surely attract the attention of Casino Security. Have fun, but be smart.
Rule #6: Tip Your Waitresses and Ticket Attendants
Anyone whose worked in Las Vegas has primarily relied on tips to make the bills. This most definitely includes the cocktail waitresses bringing you those free drinks and the people who take your bets. If you win, toss a few bucks their way. They will definitely remember you either way. Tip and you may even get the odd tip back. These people see lots of bets, so they know things you cannot. As a good buddy of mine like to say "pay it forward and you'll get a lot more on the back end."
Rule #7: Have Fun
More than anything, unless you're a pro gambler, sports betting is fun. Grab some friends, make some bets and cheer and boo teams you may normally have no feelings for. One of the most magical things about Las Vegas is sitting in a sportsbook, watching massive screens and cheering when you suddenly find your wallet a bit thicker. Good Luck.
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