The Bear Growls: Lucky’s sportsbook teetering on the edge?

I have growled and revised my growl about Lucky’s in the past. But it looks like my original assessment of this feeble organization is proving to be correct: Apparently undercapitalized and definitely paranoid, Lucky’s is an embarrassment.

Within the past week, at least three patrons have had to wait unreasonable amounts of time to get winning tickets paid at the Lucky’s location at Terrible’s casino in Las Vegas. One patron had to wait about six hours for money to be delivered from some other location. Apparently Lucky’s cannot simply borrow the money from the casino’s cage, and apparently cannot keep enough money on hand to pay winning patrons. That’s inexcusable for a sportsbook; the book knows at all times the total of its outstanding liabilities to patrons. The only obvious reason for not having enough money on hand to pay is the lack of enough money. Otherwise, why would it take six hours to get money to a location?

In the case of the smallest of the three payment delays, the Lucky’s manager had the audacity to become belligerent towards the patron, instead of being apologetic. In further misconduct, he refused to call the Gaming Control Board, despite being obligated by state law to do so when there is a patron dispute of $500 or more. A sportsbook refusing to promptly pay certainly would appear to be a “patron dispute.” Upon contacting Gaming, the latest victim got paid within a few minutes, and then was escorted out by two security guards. Imagine – being ejected for asking to be paid what the sportsbook owed him!

When the ejected patron later contacted Gaming again about filing a complaint over the Lucky’s manager refusing to notify Gaming of the dispute, according to the victim, this is what happened: Gaming “Senior Agent” Pierce would not take my complaint about the sportsbook not calling Gaming. He said it was not a patron dispute. He told me, “If they don’t have the money, what do you expect them to do?” I told him they were lying, as evidenced by the fact that they immediately paid me upon getting the call from Gaming. He couldn’t care less. Ridiculous that there is a requirement to notify Gaming but there is no penalty assessed for failing to do so.

Ridiculous indeed. “Not a patron dispute?” Even more ridiculous.

In further malfeasance, Lucky’s appears to have deliberately misgraded a Super Bowl prop bet to favor the side on which it had less action. See Wizard of Odd’s synopsis of another payment dispute that is currently before the Gaming Control Board. Considering the totality of circumstances in these bizarre events, one can conclude that Lucky’s is probably teetering on the brink of extinction. It appeared from the beginning to be badly undercapitalized. I hope the Gaming Control Board will audit Lucky’s to protect patrons, and move quickly to close it down if it lacks sufficient operating capital. It would be nice to see Gaming do something for patron protection once in a while.

Two relevant Gaming regulations:

3.050 Financial requirements.

1. No license will be issued for use in any establishment until satisfactory evidence is presented that there is adequate financing available to pay all current obligations and, in addition, to provide adequate working capital to finance opening of the establishment.

22.040 Reserve requirements.

8. A book must calculate its reserve requirement each day. In the event a book determines that its reserve is not sufficient to cover the calculated requirement, the book must, within 24 hours, notify the chairman of this fact in writing and must also indicate the steps the book has taken to remedy the deficiency.

UPDATE April 1, 2009

The Gaming Control Board told the original complainant that the Licensing Division has conducted an investigation into the financial condition of Lucky’s. However, the Board, as is its privilege under the absurd current state of the law, refused to divulge what the audit revealed. Caveat emptor.



  1. While I am certain that undercapitalization is a major factor, it could simply be a “stall” in the hopes that the winner will make good use of the time-delay by placing other bets. If so, its a really cheap shot for the SportsBook (or the associated casino) to take, but I wouldn’t put it past them at all.

  2. >Apparently undercapitalized and definitely paranoid, Lucky’s is an embarrassment.

    Any “sweat the money” behavior is an embararassment no matter what the underlying motivation is. If a woman is out on a date and the man spends money on her as if it is his last dollar, she will drop him irrespective of his actual wealth or motivations. Its the same way with customers of a sportsbook: if they get a stall they will soon abandon the sportsbook irrespective of the sportsbook’s actual motivations. In a regulated industry so reliant on a generalized sense of trust, the players simply will not put up with institutions that act as if they are cheap or tottering on the brink of bankruptcy. The only way to protect the entire industry is to prevent a casino or sportsbook acting in such a manner. Undercapitalized or just greedy…they have to shape up or ship out!!

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