Betting the NFL: Cowboys At Chicago

The Bears are in trouble. 6-6 on the season after losses to St. Louis and Minnesota, Chicago may have to win out to get a playoff spot. 9-7 on the year won’t get them past Detroit, since the Lions have the tie-breaker. A 3-6 NFC record means they won’t win any wild-card tie-breakers either.

So tonight’s game against the Cowboys is vital. The Cowboys have playoff worries of their own. However, they do control their own destiny. Assuming things hold to form, the season finale against Philadelphia will determine the NFC East winner. The loser will get a wild-card berth.

The Cowboys have one of the best spread records in the league. They’ve been solid as visitors (4-2 ATS) and great as underdogs (5-1 ATS). The Bears, on the other hand, have busted bankrolls all season. They are 2-10 against the spread so far this year.

Chicago will again be without starting quarterback Jay Cutler, out with a high-ankle sprain. Josh McCown will run the show for Chicago. He has been solid this year; Chicago’s main problems have been on defense. The Bears have given up at least 200 yards rushing in their last two games, and have allowed a league-worst five yards per carry. Dallas set season-highs in yards (144) and carries (30) in their Thanksgiving Day win vs. Oakland, and will be led again by a healthy DeMarco Murray (697 yards, 4.9 yards per carry).

Dallas opened as one point favorites last Sunday night, took action at that price and was up to -2.5 by Monday. Chicago money came in, pushing the game back to pick. It is now at Chicago -1. Totals have been bet downward from opening numbers of 49 and 49.5. On Monday morning, it is now 47.5.

Chicago’s offense has not missed a beat with McCown, who has thrown for 1,461 yards and nine touchdowns with just one interception. The Bears’ passing game should be able to take advantage of a Dallas defense allowing the second-most passing yards per game (294.9). Bears wideouts Alshon Jeffery (70 catches, 1,109 yards, five TDs) and Brandon Marshall (78 catches, 990 yards, nine TDs) are big, athletic targets with major playmaking ability. Tight end Martellus Bennett (48 catches, 545 yards, five TDs) and running back Matt Forte (58 catches, 445 yards, one TD) are McCown’s other main targets.

Weather might be a factor, however. The temperature is expected to drop to 10 degrees in Chicago on Monday night with winds at 17 mph and a 30 percent chance of snow.

Some Problems Remain for Online Gambling In New Jersey

While New Jersey is celebrating the early success of its online gambling roll-out, glitches still remain. The biggest problem so far is verifying the location of gamblers who want to play on the sites.

Casinos must ensure all players are physically located in the Garden State, using multiple location techniques. A player’s computer IP, for example, must match with the players cell phone location.

A large number of out of state players have been rejected. The state says people in more than 25 different states have tried to play. Others who have been rejected, though, are actually located in New Jersey and expressed frustration with the process. However, officials say each day more and more players are being granted access to online gaming throughout the state because of technological improvements and the assistance of customer service representatives, according to the report.

Internet gambling began across New Jersey on Nov. 25 for six casinos: the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort; Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino; the Tropicana Casino and Resort; Bally’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City.

Potential gamblers have reported problems depositing money into accounts with the state’s casinos that have been approved for online gaming because some major banks refuse to process online gambling transactions. The games, however, are running smoothly. There have been no complaints about the performance of the games online, according to the report.

Online betting marks the biggest expansion of gambling in New Jersey since the first Atlantic City casino opened in 1978. Online poker has been the best performer early on, although other slots and card games are offered as well.

New Jersey is the third state in the nation to offer Internet gambling, after Nevada and Delaware.

Singapore Considers Online Gambling Ban

Singapore lawmakers are moving to restrict remote gambling activities. When in place, the proposed measures could be one of the most comprehensive undertaken by any jurisdiction. The following is a transcript of a speech given by Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran at the Third Singapore Symposium on Casino Regulation and Crime at The Police Cantonment Complex Auditorium.

Good morning,

I am pleased to join you at the 3rd Singapore Symposium on Casino Regulation and Crime. Held biennially, this symposium has been an important platform for the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) to forge closer ties and exchange ideas with their local and overseas partners in casino regulation and law enforcement. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all participants, especially our foreign guests who have made a special effort to join us at this symposium.

The casino industry is set to grow rapidly in the Asia Pacific region in the next few years. According to the Global Gaming Outlook report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the projected gaming revenue from the Asia Pacific region could reach US$80b, and account for 43% of global revenue, by 2015.

This growth is fuelled by more Asia-Pacific economies planning to develop casinos. This trend is also reflected in the growing Asian presence at this symposium. This year, we are joined by our regulatory and law enforcement partners from many regional countries – Macau, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Brunei, China and the Philippines.

These developments in the casino industry and gaming activities can also lead to greater exposure to the risk of transnational crimes. Keeping our casinos free from criminal influence will continue to be a key challenge for Singapore, as well as law enforcement agencies and regulators from other jurisdictions.

Since the opening of the casinos three years ago, crimes in the casinos have accounted for less than 1% of overall crime in Singapore. This has been possible through a close partnership between the Police and CRA, and a strict enforcement regime.

But the situation is dynamic and criminal syndicates are constantly evolving their modus operandi. Hence, we need constant vigilance, to ensure a regulatory regime that is relevant and effective. Singapore amended its Casino Control Act last year to strengthen our levers to tackle casino-related crimes. Specific offences such as cheating at play, collusion and the possession of unlawful devices to counterfeit chips, were created to comprehensively deal with the range of casino crimes.

With globalisation, criminal activities are increasingly transnational in nature. It is therefore important for law enforcement agencies and regulators to collaborate closely across borders, and share best practices and information, in order to fight all crime including casino crime. This symposium is a valuable opportunity to network and learn from each other.

In addition, there are platforms like the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR), Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF) and the North America Gaming Regulators Association (NAGRA), which allow for collaboration among regulators. We need a similar forum for Asian regulators.

Although a relative newcomer, Singapore’s CRA can play an important role in bringing together Asian regulators, and facilitating substantive engagement with their European and American counterparts. The recent appointment of CRA’s Chief Executive, Mr Lau Peet Meng, as the President of IAGR is an opportunity for Asian regulators to benefit from the wealth of expertise within this global network, and to stay abreast of new and evolving trends in the gaming industry.

Remote gambling is one such evolving trend. The revenue of the global remote gambling industry in 2012 was estimated at US$35b, with an expected annual growth rate of about 9%. This is about five times the expected growth for conventional terrestrial gambling.

Consequently, many countries have been reviewing their regulatory regimes to keep pace with this rapidly evolving industry. Internationally, there is a wide spectrum of regulatory approaches. Some countries have an open remote gambling market with many licensed operators offering a wide array of gambling products. In France, there are 20 remote gambling operators offering products such as poker, sports betting and horse racing. There are even more remote gambling operators in the UK, with a wider variety of gambling products including casino-type games.

Other countries have a more restricted remote gambling market. Typically, they have allowed one or two operators to offer a small number of products, subject to certain requirements including social safeguards. In Norway, remote gambling is offered by two state-owned operators which channel surpluses to social causes such as charities, sports and culture. In Hong Kong, the Jockey Club (HKJC) is the only licensee that offers horse racing, Mark 6 Lottery and football betting through both terrestrial and remote gambling platforms. HKJC is a not-for-profit organisation which uses its surplus revenue to support charitable and community projects as well as social welfare initiatives.

Many jurisdictions have also implemented various measures to prevent unauthorised operators from targeting their citizens. France, Italy and Denmark have measures to block access to unauthorised gambling websites. In the UK, it is an offence for unlicensed gambling operators to target its residents or advertise through online and terrestrial channels. Norway and the United States require financial intermediaries to block payment transactions with unauthorised gambling operators.

In Singapore, we have strict laws on gambling to maintain law and order and to minimise the potential harm, especially to the young and vulnerable. Under our laws, the provision of gambling is not permitted unless specifically allowed for, by way of an exemption or license. However, our current laws do not expressly address remote gambling as they were enacted before the Internet era.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and other government agencies have been studying the issue of remote gambling.

In NCPG’s 2011 gambling participation survey of the general population, 1% of respondents indicated that they gambled online. While this may seem low, we must be cognizant of the growing popularity of remote gambling and the associated risks. Indeed, some analysts estimate that the size of the remote gambling market in Singapore could be over US$300m, and it is expected to grow by 6-7% annually.

Remote gambling gives us cause for concern for several reasons. First, it is ubiquitously and easily accessible through the Internet and mobile applications, especially by a younger and more tech-savvy generation. In a recent online survey of around 1,000 Internet users commissioned by MHA, we found that almost 3 in 10 respondents had gambled remotely at least once in the past year. This is not surprising as one can gamble anonymously from almost any location at any time.

Second, the nature and design of the games, especially poker and casino-type games, lend themselves to repetitive play and addictive behaviour. This is well documented in both local and overseas research. The 2011 survey by the National Council for Problem Gambling (NCPG) found that online gamblers had poorer self-control, were more likely to gamble at a higher frequency, for a longer duration, and with more money than they had initially planned.

Thirdly, from a law and order perspective, remote gambling operations can potentially become a source or conduit of funds for other illegal activities and syndicated crime. These operators are beyond our jurisdiction and they operate without restrictions or limitations on the types of games they can offer or the promotions and advertising they undertake. It is therefore important that we take proactive steps to address these concerns.

Hence, as an extension of our current laws, the government intends to restrict remote gambling by making it illegal unless there are specific exemptions. We will introduce new laws to give our enforcement agencies the powers to act against facilitators, intermediaries and providers of remote gambling services. We will introduce measures to block access to gambling websites, block payments to remote gambling operators, and prohibit advertisements promoting remote gambling. While such measures may not be foolproof, they will impede access to remote gambling platforms and send a clear signal of the regulatory stance in Singapore.

To divert gambling away from unauthorised and unregulated operators, some jurisdictions like Hong Kong have allowed a limited form of remote gambling through a strictly regulated authorised entity. Our agencies will carefully consider provisions for a similar tightly controlled exemption in Singapore, with constraints on the type of operator and stringent social safeguards. We will launch a public consultation exercise through REACH and seek the views of various stakeholders, as we formulate the regulatory framework to restrict remote gambling.

Apart from remote gambling products, games that simulate gambling are rising in popularity on social media platforms. The distinction between social gaming and online gambling is blurring, with some games on social media platforms closely modelled on casino-style games. These seemingly harmless games can desensitise youths to the dangers and ills of gambling.

To address this, we will strengthen public education efforts with regard to remote gambling and gambling simulation games. The National Council for Problem Gambling (NCPG) will broaden and intensify public education efforts to raise awareness of the risks involved. At the same time, MSF will work with NCPG and other agencies such as educational institutions, voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), cyber-wellness groups and parent groups to implement public education and outreach initiatives.

These trends in remote gambling illustrate the dynamic nature of the gaming industry, which will continue to evolve and present new challenges for regulators and law enforcers.

Even as each of our countries continue to grow capabilities and expertise, international collaboration among regulators and enforcement agencies will be crucial if we are to stay ahead of these trends.

I urge everyone to make full use of the opportunity afforded by this symposium to share your insights, and strengthen ties with your colleagues. I wish you a fruitful and productive symposium. Thank you.

Pennsylvania Looking at Online Gambling To Close Revenue Gap

Welcome to the world of online gambling, Pennsylvania. Trying to keep up with the neighbors (specifically New Jersey), Pennsylvania is going to conduct a wide-ranging study of gambling that includes a close look at online gambling.

Senator Joe Scarnati, a Republican leader in the State Senate, authored the bill. “With New Jersey doing internet gaming, and I believe the main intent was to get customers back from Pennsylvania, we need to be a bit more aware of where we want to head with gaming,” said Scarnati. “And what we want to do is keep those customers.”

Pennsylvania first got involved in the brick and mortar casino business when its first casino opened in 2006.

Almost $14 billion in revenue has been generated by visitors to the state’s casinos. The state has a 55% tax rate on those casinos, meaning nearly $8 billion in revenue has gone to the state’s bottom line.

In the past six years, Pennsylvania has legalized slots casinos, table games in casinos, expanded the lottery offerings, and even legalized small games of chance in bars and taverns.

The state is facing a $1.2 billion deficit in next year’s budget, and lawmakers are desperate to lower that number.

“Currently it’s an illegal activity that’s taking place in the Commonwealth,” Scarnati said. “Everybody knows it’s taking place. Everybody knows how it takes place. So either we put our arms around this and figure out how to legalize this because, once again, it would be another revenue source. I’m certain somebody out of 253 members of the General Assembly are gonna put that proposal out there.”

ACC Championship Game: Florida St’s Jimbo Fisher Discusses the Game

The oddsmakers think the Florida St./Duke is going to be a blowout. Florida St. is a 30 point favorites against the Blue Devils. But don’t tell that to Florida St. Jimbo Fisher. He discusses the matchup in a Monday press conference:

Duke right now is playing tremendous football. They’re on a great hot streak. They’ve won I think eight games in a row. Very balanced as an offense, can throw it, can run it. David has done a tremendous job with this group. They’re very big, they’re athletic and he’s done one heck of a job, and we’re going to definitely have to bring our “A” game, but we’re looking forward to the opportunity and looking forward to the challenge, and hopefully finishing off the season on a good note, the regular season here, until we get to the bowl games and where everyone is going to go.
But I think it’s a great opportunity. It’s a great venue there in Charlotte, and looking forward to playing Duke and the team that David has created there. They’ve done a tremendous job.

On what Duke has done this year to improve:
COACH FISHER: Well, in terms of Xs and Os I think it’s confidence in what they’re doing. I think last year they got into the first bowl game in a long time. David did a great job and he’s built their confidence, and I think they understand what they’re doing. And I think their quarterback, the two?headed quarterback situation is a very tough problem to have. They can both run and throw the ball, both of them equally, and I think just they’ve grown in confidence in everything that they’ve done, and they’ve become much bigger and more physical and they run better in the secondary and have just gotten overall better talent, and David has done a great job recruiting and developing his players.

On Duke’s two quarterback system:
COACH FISHER: Well, I think they’ve created roles for each other, and they understand what each guy is going to do. I’ll tell you the funny thing, being the head running quarterback and passing, now I think now both of them are throwing it and running it pretty equally. So I mean, they’re very tough guys to defend, and it gives them two different guys, and each guy is fresh.

On the importance of his solid relationship with Jameis Winston:
COACH FISHER: Well, I think it’s been very critical, and I think because on the field you have to be the boss, you have to be this is what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it. But I think off the field they have to see that you care. If you’re going to coach them hard and demand from them, they’ve also got to know you care off the field, and I definitely do care not only for Jameis but for every one of our players. I’m very tough and challenge them to be the player they can become, not the one they are. But at the same time when they’re off the field let them know that we do care about you. I do care what happens to you as a person, as a student and everything else, and I think that’s critical time so that you can coach them the right way on the field, and I think that’s even more critical, like I say, to the relationship than when you get to the field.

On what he was doing when Auburn beat Alabama:
COACH FISHER: We were watching on the bus at five minutes to go. I actually heard it, I was driving home in my truck from the stadium. I was listening to it. I was driving home and had it on the radio, and I was just listening to what happened in the game, and I was going, huh? I never dreamed of it ending that way, either. Just caught me off guard and I had to get home and see it on TV. Kind of was astonishing, really was.

On if he would attempt a field goal under a similar situation:
COACH FISHER: If I had Roberto I would kick it. I mean, Nick knows his players better than anybody. We can all doubt, but you don’t know what that guys is capable of. He watches him every day, and he’s been hitting 60 yarders and he had the wind at his back, why not try and win that game on the road and have a kick, and the odds of that happening. Now, you’ve got to go over and cover him. I’ll guarantee Nick has coached that up, I promise you that. We do it here, and that’s the way we handle that.
There’s chances in everything you do. If he makes it, he’s a hero. You play to win the game, you don’t play not to lose the game.

NBA Betting: Celtics Big Favorites Against Milwaukee

Milwaukee Bucks +7.5 at Boston Celtics -7.5 Total: 186.5

The Bucks and Celtics face off for the second straight time tonight in Boston. Milwaukee snapped their longest losing streak in over 16 years in the opener of a home-and-home set with the Celtics, and will try to win consecutive games for the first time this season. The Bucks are 3-13 on the season, but have beaten Boston twice already this year. Milwaukee used its team speed and scored easy baskets against Boston on Saturday, holding a 16-4 edge in fast break points in a 92-85 win. O.J. Mayo led the way with 22 points, with Brandon Knight throwing in 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Defense was the story last Saturday, however. Milwaukee held the Celtics to 4-of-19 shooting from 3-point range Saturday.

“We were running zone,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said. “We didn’t run a lot of man-to-man that first half, but when we started running our zone, we just waited to see if they were going to make shots. They didn’t fall for them, so we stuck with it and it seemed to have an effect.”

Boston is 7-12 on the season, averaging 93 points per game while giving up 96.6. They are 10-9-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 6-13-0. When their opponents have the ball, the Celtics are allowing 45% shooting from the field, including 32% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 73%, and the team is averaging 8 steals and 4.8 blocks per game so far this season.

On offense, the Celtics are shooting 45% from the field, including 33% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 76%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 25% of the time. Boston has turned the ball over 16.7 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 4.9 times per game.

The Bucks are scoring 89.2 points per game so far this season, en route to a 3-13 record overall and a 5-11-0 record against the spread. Milwaukee has given up 98.7 PPG, and have an O/U record of 6-10-0 on the year.

On defense, the Bucks have held their opponents to a 47% field goal percentage, 34% from three point land. They are creating 16 turnovers per game , and blocking 4.6 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 1.26. The Bucks are shooting 42% from the field so far this season, with a 38% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 47%; its offense rebound rate is 23% with the defense collecting 72% of their opponent’s misses. The Bucks are shooting 77% at the free throw line this year.