A Pittsburgh sports bettor who made the first wager at the Rivers Casino lost $10,000 on the Steelers-Patriots game this past weekend. David Eldridge bet on the New England Patriots to continue their win streak over the Steelers, but the 38-year old Eldridge seemed unfazed by his loss of ten grand.

The resident of Gibsonia, who was one of five gamblers chosen to make the first bets at Rivers Sportsbook, said after he lost the wager, “That wasn’t even my largest gambling endeavor.”

Later, David Eldridge joked on Twitter, “Hope I can recoup 25 bucks or so by selling the ‘first sports bet ticket at Rivers Casino’ on eBay.”

No updates were forthcoming about Eldridge’s eBay auction. Eldridge said that, although he was a premium player on Sunday, he is not a professional sports betting. The local resident, an entrepreneur who got his start with the Verizon franchises, said he has won some money playing poker and casino games.

Anthony Jaskulski at Rivers Casino

Sports writer Anthony Jaskulski made a prop bet on the Los Angeles Clippers-San Antonio Spurs game on Sunday. He tweeted his ticket for the world to see. Jaskulski bet on the over/under proposition that the Clippers and Spurs would go over 53.5 combined points in the 2nd Quarter. He won on a -112 bet and collected the payout of $190.

Mr. Jaskulski was a nonchalant winner, tweeting that “of course” he won his first bet. The sometime gambling writer knows that an over/under in the 2nd Quarter is essentially a coin toss.

Rivers Casino: Local Sportsbook Betting

The upshot of the weekend’s festivities at Rivers Casino on the outskirts of Pittsburgh is local sports bettors are glad they don’t have to drive out of state for their favorite form of gambling. Prior to the opening of the Rivers Sportsbook, gamblers had to drive into New Jersey to make a legal wager on a sporting event.

Others said they were happy they did not have to fly to Las Vegas to bet on sports. The unspoken assumption was many gamblers no longer will make unlicensed bets at offshore sportsbook websitesh or illegal bets with their local bookies.

That is the argument for legal and licensed sports betting in Pennsylvania: less of the action goes to underground bookmakers. Not only do sports bettors gamble in a regulated environment with consumer protections and other responsible gaming measures, but the state collects tax revenues on the gaming activity now.

Fun Time at Rivers Sportsbook

All in all, the mood was a happy one on the opening week at Rivers Sportsbook. It probably helped that the Steelers broke a 7-game losing streak against the Patriots. The losses stretched back the better part of a decade and had cost the Pittsburgh Steelers a couple of Super Bowl opportunities.

For that reason, it made sense that David Eldridge would bet on the Patriots to win on Sunday. He might get a chance at double-or-nothing when the AFC Playoffs start, though it looks like the 9-5 Patriots and the 8-5-1 Steelers might have to win on the road in the divisional round if they want to meet in the AFC Championship game this year.

Can Bettors Beat the Sportsbooks?

David Eldridge’s loss underscores the risk involved in making sports bets. Sportsbooks employ oddsmakers who factor in many variables in a sporting event to come up with a betting line. The oddsmaker wants half of the action on one side of the bet and half on the other side of the bet, so the book can make a sure profit on the vigorish, also known as the vig or the juice.

That vigorish is why it is so hard to win at sports betting. The house takes a percentage of each sports bet made, so a successful sports bettor has to win at a 52.5% to 54% rate to break even — depending on the vig. Professional gamblers called handicappers can do it, but they have to spend as much time as the oddsmakers to find an advantage.

Like David Eldridge, the vast bulk of sports bettors are amateurs, no matter how much they bet. The upshot is bettors should bet only what they can afford to lose — and they should do it for entertainment. Watching an NFL game is always more exciting when there’s something on the line, but not when that something is your next mortgage payment.

About the Author
April Bergman avatar
April Bergman

April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

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April Bergman was a longtime news blogger for BOC. She wrote gaming news posts from January 2013 until September 2018. April also wrote slot reviews, strategy articles, and online casino reviews for the site.

April Bergman began in the online gaming industry in August 2010. From 2010 to 2013, she managed evergreen content for several top online casino. Her duties included developing and maintaining multiple websites in the gaming space. When not writing about online gambling, April loves horse racing, travel, photography, and gardening. She's began in the business as a devoted poker players and spent several years as a card game editor on the now-defunct DMOZ. These days, she lives with her husband and two children in the Toronto metropolitan area.

READ MORE
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