Would-be sports bettors are salivating as the NFL Playoffs and college Bowl games approach, but based on recent trends, it is the casinos in Las Vegas who stand to make the most money. In 1998, Las Vegas sports books made only 0.6% on all bets placed on the Super Bowl, by 2005 that number had skyrocketed to 17%. As more novices lay down money, the odds are that the Las Vegas sports books’ profits will continue to increase. PicksPal.com was created to help educate consumers interested in playing the sports books in Las Vegas, in the same way online poker sites are doing for poker players. Unlike those sites, however, PicksPal is not linked with any illegal gambling sites.
"PicksPal is a great idea for both the die-hard and casual sports bettor,” said popular Las Vegas sports talk radio host, Mitch Moss. “There is no question that December - March is the true gambling season, and Vegas is the hottest spot in the world for the Super Bowl and March Madness. In order to win you have to bet using your head and not your heart... and PicksPal will show you how to do that." Moss's radio show, "The Boss in the Box," can be heard Monday - Friday from 3pm to 5pm on ESPN RADIO 920 in Las Vegas.
According to figures released by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, sports bettors annually wager $2 billion in Vegas. For the 2005 Super Bowl, $90.7 million was wagered (up from $71.6 million in 2001, $73 million in 2003 and $81.2 million in 2004) and $85 million on the NCAA College Basketball Tournament (“ March Madness ”). These two events alone account for nearly 10% of the legal sports gambling action throughout the entire year. The Gaming Control Board also estimates that more than $3.5 billion is illegally wagered on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament alone.
“The increasing profits of the Las Vegas sports books prompted me to create a game for consumers to better understand how to make better plays there,” said PicksPal.com CEO Tom Jessiman. “Clearly, sports fans are betting with their allegiances and don’t fully understand how to successfully play Vegas. People are spending lots of money learning how to play poker before heading to Vegas – they should also get smarter about sports before heading to Vegas.”
“With so many major events tempting the sports bettor between now and the end of March Madness, it’s only fitting to declare this time period as ‘Gambling Season,’” said 3G-Sports president and veteran handicapper, Tony Karpinski, who also serves as PicksPal’s odds director. “The casual bettor is easily seduced by the opportunity to bet on the college football bowl games, Super Bowl or their favorite college hoops team. It’s important for any bettor to ‘know before you go,’ and PicksPal is a great tool to learn how to play smartly without risking any mortgage payments.”
PicksPal CEO Tom Jessiman has spent 20 years in the interactive media industry. His online sports and gaming experience includes serving as the Vice President of Operations for CBS SportsLine.com, and as the Founder and CEO of Sports.com in London, England, which he built into one of the world’s leading online gaming sites, generating nearly 15 million unique users per month.
“At Sports.com, a huge number of the players making bets didn’t seem to understand how the system worked,” said Jessiman. “With PicksPal.com, I wanted to create a game that provided an opportunity for players to learn to play smarter in Vegas.”
PicksPal.com, which has signed up thousands of members daily since its launch in September, not only teaches players how to play smart, but also offers sports fans the opportunity to test their sports IQs against tens of thousands of other fans. Each week PicksPal members begin with 1000 points, and have the chance to earn more points by picking real events based on real odds. While making their weekly picks, PicksPal members play only for points and do not wager any money. The PicksPal game provides the “Rush of Vegas without the Risk” and the only thing PicksPal players gamble with is their egos.
“I’ve made a few bets in Vegas over the years – mostly unsuccessfully,” said Hugh Gaston a Boston-area 47 year-old father of three and PicksPal’s first-ever million-point winner. “Having played PicksPal for the last couple of months, however, I’ve learned how to make smart, educated picks and look for the occasional long shot. Now, if the wife will let me, I’m looking forward to planning a trip out to Vegas for the Super Bowl.”
Based in Mountain View, California, and created by Internet sports pioneer, Tom Jessiman, PicksPal.com (www.pickspal.com) launched in September 2005. PicksPal received its initial funding from Canaan Partners and counts Canaan general partner Maha Ibrahim and online marketing expert and current TicketsNow (www.ticketsnow.com) Chief Marketing Officer Kenneth Dotson as Board Members. PicksPal.com is the only free online game that offers sports fans the opportunity to get an edge on Vegas. Members compete in the weekly game, playing and earning points by picking real events based on real odds. PicksPal members have the opportunity to risk their points on any of their favorite sports, including baseball , golf , boxing , cycling , motor sports , basketball , football , hockey , etc. At the end of the week – the member accumulating the most points wins.