Las Vegas Has a Giant(s) Problem

We all know there's really only one rule in the world of big-money casinos. That rule: the house always wins. One way or another, they people who run the casinos always -- and I do mean always -- find a way to turn a profit in the long run. You may think you're winning, and you may be in the short term, but almost no one ever gets out ahead. Even those rare individuals smart enough -- or lucky enough -- to beat the system for awhile seldom manage to walk away in the black. 

It doesn't matter what the game is, either. The odds are always against you whatever you like to play. Whether you like to play the slots, watch the roulette wheel spin away this month's rent check, or chase that elusive 21, the result is pretty much always the same. The house is very, very good at winning. It's had plenty of practice, after all. 

At the moment, though, the house is a little, well, maybe not scared, exactly, but definitely worried. The reason? Because the New York Giants are in the Super Bowl, and that could mean some serious losses for those who run the sports books in Las Vegas

During the football season, the Giants had some rather trying times. They didn't play well at all for long, long stretches of time, including a four-game losing streak in November (and the first week of December), which threatened to send their hopes down the drain. In fact, it really probably should have, but the Giants lucked out by playing in that paragon of underachievement that is the NFC East

Of course, given how slim the Giants' chances looked to be just to make the playoffs, much less make any kind of serious run, the oddsmakers in Vegas moved the line further and further with each passing week. At the absolute nadir of New York's season, there were books giving odds as high as 80-1 on a Big Blue championship. Now the Giants are just one step away from completing the feat, and the potential payout could be enormous. 

To be fair, though, this isn't even close to the worst sports-related event to happen to Vegas over the past year. When the Cardinals won the World Series back in November, there was at least one very high profile betting slip cashed -- the anonymous $375,000 ticket which gained plenty of attention from sports fans everywhere. That particular bet was placed when the Cards' odds of winning a title stood at 999-1. I know the fundamentals of gambling fairly well, but I don't claim to be an expert. However, when the odds start looking like Final Fantasy damage numbers, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out things have maybe gone a bit beyond the pale. 

So would a Giants victory sink the sports book industry in Las Vegas? Well, no, probably not. In fact, it would probably make them money in the long run anyway, considering how much publicity a bunch of big wins would bring and the hope it would seed in the minds of amateur gamblers everywhere. You have to admit, though, it's kind of fun to think about a team with four-digit odds taking gamblers to the promised land and landing the oddsmakers on skid row. Just remember, though, that's only a fantasy. 

In the real world, the house always finds a way to win. Even when the odds are stacked up 80 to 1. 
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