Wall Street finds a new home in Vegas
One brokerage has set up sports-betting operations at casinos along the Strip.
So it makes sense that when you plop a Wall Street brokerage into the middle of the Las Vegas strip, it will take to its new home like a fish to water. That's what's happened with Cantor Fitzgerald, a bond-trading firm that decided to try a little casino sports betting.
Cantor Fitzgerald has partnered with several casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, including the Venetian and the Palazzo, owned by Las Vegas Sands (LVS). Cantor specializes in sports books at the casinos, and has brought in new technologies that extract even more money from avid gamblers.
Cantor uses its own computer servers and software -- the same kind of algorithms used on Wall Street -- to produce fast odds on sporting events, Bloomberg reports. The software has created all kinds of new ways to bet.
At the Venetian, Cantor now has a huge 100-foot-wide TV that can show 34 sporting events at the same time. It can offer betting opportunities on in-game events just moments before they happen.
During a recent basketball game, for example, Cantor flashed a bet on the television screen as a player was preparing to shoot two foul shots. Want to bet that he sinks those? Swipe your finger across the screen and Cantor will automatically register the bet.
Cantor gets a fee of about 2% on wagers and winnings, Bloomberg reports, and shares the rest with the casino.
The plethora of new gambling opportunities has boosted the amount of wagers in Nevada sports betting.
Now, Cantor's betting unit is coming back to Wall Street, in a roundabout way, with the ultimate gamble: its own IPO. Cantor Entertainment has filed for an IPO, but it's unclear when or even if the offering will happen. (You can read the S-1 filing here.)
Cantor Entertainment still isn't profitable. It lost about $22 million in the first nine months of last year. But the company is pouring money into new mobile gaming technologies, a rapidly expanding platform. Now, you can place mobile bets in casino hotel rooms.
And maybe, down the road, mobile betting will expand beyond state lines. Could sports betting become a national pastime? Perhaps. And Cantor will be ready to clean up if it does.
Finally we have the truth, that has always been the truth: brokerages and stock markets are croupiers and gambling halls, respectively. It is gambling.
can we finally grow up and end this monstrosity yet? this is an outright admission of what many of us have known for a long time: the financial markets aren't distributors of wealth for the economy. They're rigged casinos with the worst of all odds.
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