Oddsmaker Vaccaro to wanna be bookies: It’s not easy money

Oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro says those wanting to get into the sports betting business when it expands nationwide need to understand that bookies don’t always win.

Vaccaro appeared on the “PodcastOne Sports Now” podcast to talk to co-hosts Tim Dahlberg and Jim Litke about the Supreme Court decision that clears the way for states to legalize sports betting. Vaccaro said bookmaking is a low margin business in which the people taking the bets aren’t always guaranteed a profit.

Vaccaro, who operates the sports book at the South Point hotel in Las Vegas, said in a typical year sports books win between 4-5 percent of the total money wagered, but must pay state and federal taxes out of that win. Other expenses including employee salaries and betting systems also eat into that profit.

In Nevada, the only state currently with legal full sports betting, bettors wagered $4.87 billion last year and the sports books won a record $248.8 million, or 5.1 percent of the money bet.

Vaccaro said other states legalizing sports betting will hurt Las Vegas some but could also be good for the city because more people will regularly bet sports.

Also joining the show are AP writers Janie McCauley and Tom Withers, who talk NBA playoffs, and AP hockey writer Stephen Whyno, who dissects the NHL playoffs.

And, of course, there’s some talk about food in the newly renamed Podcast One Sports Now show, backed by the worldwide reach of The Associated Press sports department.