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HOME > SPORTS > Sports Desk > Top 10 Las Vegas sportsbook etiquette mistakes

Top 10 Las Vegas sportsbook etiquette mistakes

16 January 2017

By Gary Trask

The new sportsbook at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The new sportsbook at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas (photo by Erik Kabik)

With the Super Bowl just two weeks away and March Madness on the horizon, Nevada sportsbooks are preparing for some of their busiest days of the calendar.

So, before you make your next pilgrimage to a sports bettors' Disneyland, avoid being "that guy" and don't break the simple — yet often ignored — rules of etiquette below.

Trust me, your sportsbook employees and sports betting brethren will thank you.

10. Offering unsolicited advice to strangers
If you're like me — or most gamblers — you are superstitious. So, the last thing I want as I get ready to make a wager is to have the guy next to me voluntarily start to break down the game like he's Cris Collinsworth.

Because, whether he has the same side as me or not, there's that little glimmer of doubt that starts to creep into my mind. Does this guy have a clue as to what he's talking about? Or, is he a complete mush? Should I just go blindly against him?

The bottom line: Unless you are asked, keep your opinions — no matter how well-researched and astute you may think that they are — to yourself.

9. Asking others what they bet
Conversely, but for many of the same reasons, you don't want to be asking others you are standing in line with, or sitting next to, who they bet and what they like.

Don't get me wrong. I've had plenty of healthy and helpful discussions with fellow sports bettors in the sportsbook over the years. But it has to be a two-way street and it can't be forced. So, again, don't blindside an unexpecting neighbor with the dreaded, "Who do you got?" inquiry.

8. Excessive fantasy sports talk/cheering
Yes, I realize fantasy sports is as big as ever. And you can go ahead and call me old school, but I still strongly believe that the sportsbook is the place for sports betting and not your DraftKings lineup. I can more than cope with the guy next to me that's cheering loudly for his team to cover. In fact, more often than not, I am that guy.

But it's maddening when after every play someone is asking who caught the ball, or every time a team is in the red zone he starts telling you who he needs to score. Or, even worse, if he starts breaking down his DFS roster and telling you who's crushing it and who's killing him and who his opponent has.

Please. Stop.

7. Expecting free drinks
If you haven't been to a Las Vegas sportsbook for a while, I've got some bad news for you. The days of simply making a small bet, sitting in the sportsbook and getting complimentary drinks all day are long gone.

All of the properties have different rules of thumb, but you're going to have to be betting into at least three figures if you want a couple of freebies, in most cases. Having said that, it does not hurt to ask the person at the ticket counter for drink tickets. You'd be surprised at how much a pleasant demeanor and a smile can get you. Same goes for the waitresses. A healthy tip and a genuine "thank you" on the first couple rounds could very well lead to some extra attentive service and comps as the day goes on.

Which brings us to . . .

6. Not tipping waitstaff/ticket takers
Just because the cocktail servers aren't serving you a five-course meal and you happen to be 0-for-4 on the early games, that doesn't excuse you from tipping. Trust me, they aren't getting any of your losings and, as mentioned above, a generous tip may lead to you landing a few surprise drink tickets.

Same goes for the folks at the ticket counter. No, they don’t expect you to tip them on every trip, but when you cash that miracle three-team parlay, don’t be afraid to allow them to share in your joy, just as you would at the blackjack table after a large hit.

5. Excessive cell phone use
It wasn't that long ago that cell phones were actually barred from the sportsbook. But times have changed and now many people, including yours truly, use the mobile sportsbook apps to make their wagers. So, if you're using your iPhone to shop lines and place bets, by all means, go for it.

But just like you shouldn't sit at a bar/restaurant, make a bunch of phone calls and drone on and on with your buddy who's stuck back home, you shouldn't do it as you're watching games at the sportsbook. It's rude and distracting.
At just under 30,000 square feet, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook is the largest sportsbook in the world.

At just under 30,000 square feet, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook is the largest sportsbook in the world.

4. Not cleaning up after yourself/bad hygiene
This rule goes for anytime you are going out in public for extended periods of time, and it came up over the summer when we asked a bunch of poker dealers about their biggest pet peeves. All it comes down to is wearing deodorant and taking a shower before you plop yourself down in that comfy sportsbook chair for eight hours. It sounds simple, but if you've spent any amount of time in a casino, you've seen — or smelled — your fair share of people who ignore this common courtesy.

Oh, and as you pile up everything from Starbucks cups to newspapers to pizza boxes during the course of the day, keep in mind that your mother doesn't work here, so be sure to deposit them in the trash as you walk out the door.

3. Talking bad beats
This is another general rule to keep in mind in all areas of the casino, but especially the sportsbook. Hey, we've all been screwed over by a bad call, or a receiver that dropped a pass in the end zone. It's OK to vent after it happens and lament with fellow sports bettors. We're here for you, and we have that shoulder to cry on.

But don't get vicious and don’t go on and on about it. And, most definitely, don't start talking about that bad beat you had three years ago. We've all been there and we don't want to hear it.

2. Not timing your trip to the counter
Another pretty basic tip, but one that is often disregarded. You need to know when your games are kicking or tipping off, and plan accordingly. Don't be the guy standing in the middle of the line, stomping and cursing everyone ahead of you because they're taking up too much time and your game is about to begin.

Likewise, if you are looking to bet some futures or afternoon games, don't go up and place those bets at 9:55 a.m. on a Sunday, when the first set of NFL games are kicking off. Clear the way for people in a time crunch.

Of course, there's a way to avoid all of the above problems and that's by taking advantage of the mobile sportsbook apps, which allow you to remain in your seat and bet the games. No brainer.

1. Not using game numbers
If you're going to ignore my advice to use the mobile sportsbook apps and continue to bet the "old-fashioned" way, the least you can do is use the specified game numbers when placing your bets. Your ticket taker will be grateful, and it will help the flow of the line immensely.

For those not aware, the sportsbooks provide sheets for all bets with numbers next to each team. Those same numbers can be found up above on the betting boards. So, when you go to place your wager, have the team number ready and state it, along with the spread.

So, instead of saying, "What's the line on the Packers' game?" and "Give me the Packers for a hundred," you simply say, "I'll take #233 at minus 4 for $100, please." The clerk will let you know if there has been a change in the point spread before locking in your wager, and you should always check the accuracy of your ticket before leaving the window.

These people are human, they are busy and they can make mistakes. Make sure you have any errors corrected immediately, and you'll save everyone some serious aggravation.

Gary Trask
Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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