190103al TwinRiver

Above, customers at Sportsbook Bar and Grill, open for a week in the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, line up to place their bets on Friday. Below, customers toast to the New Year while enjoying bets and a bite to eat at the location.

LINCOLN ­— If you haven’t graced the new Sportsbook Bar & Grill at Twin River Casino since its grand opening on Friday, Dec. 21, you should ponder a visit, whether you revel in gambling on college or pro football, etc., or are merely curious about the atmosphere that goes with it.

Naturally, that’s Twin River Vice President/General Manager Craig Sculos’ point of view, as he and the business he heads can benefit greatly from the “Book’s” success.

Then again, so can the public.

Not only do folks have the opportunity to fulfill their dream of winning cash on their favorite athletic events, if they so choose, but also experience typical sports pub-like dining while watching one (or more) of 102 TVs in the two-tiered, 3,600-foot, second-floor restaurant/parlor located between Wicked Good and the Food Court.

All broadcast a vast array of sporting events worldwide.

(Speaking of “Wicked Good,” Sculos indicated the menus are quite similar – assorted draft and bottled beers, wine, cocktails, buffalo chicken wings, sandwiches, fries, nachos, salads, or other appetizers/entrees).

“I like to call it ‘dynamic space’ with over 100 televisions, betting windows, odds boards and dedicated bar with food service tailor-made for sports fans,” Sculos said Friday, also the one-week anniversary nearly to the moment of its inauguration. “This is like taking an outdoor tailgating party and moving it inside.

“It’s more than met our expectations, and the response has exceeded them; the comments from guests are exactly what we wanted to hear,” he continued. “I’d also say we’ve been most impressed in by some of the considerable distances guests are traveling to visit us. We had onewho said he drove down from Canada, further north than Montreal.

“There are a lot of people here (Friday) because it’s a holiday week, the end of the week, so a lot of people are off; that’s why we have such a good-sized crowd. We’ve always viewed this as an amenity; I mean, under one roof, we have all different forms of gaming – video slot machines, table games, poker, stadium gaming (playing multiple games while in one seat) and sports wagering.

“(The latter) is a natural complement.”

Both Sculos and casino spokeswoman Patti Doyle indicated the tall bar stools with pinkish-orangy seats and high-top tables currently sitting on both the first and second tiers of “The Book” are temporary, that more modern furniture will be coming soon.

“Our furniture wasn’t ready the same time we were (to open), so we went out and got some temporary (items) to accommodate our guests for our opening date,” she said.

Sculos added, “Remember, this is the first sportsbook in New England (there’s a second, smaller version in Tiverton), and we’ve done a lot of work to make it special. We created a partnership with William Hill, an internationally-renowned bookmaker, and they provide the functions relating to the odds.

“The second partner is IGT, another internationally-renowned gaming company, which is providing the technology (machines, networks) that processes the wagers in Rhode Island. The third is the Rhode Island Lottery, which is here for oversight and regulatory responsibilities.”

As for the wagering aspect, Sculos mentioned there are, for the most part, three easy ways to place one: First, there’s a straight bet (an individual wager on a contest determined by a point spread, money line or total); second, a parlay (or a single bet that links two or more events); and, lastly, a “futures” bet (a wager typically made on a game or event far in the future, such as next October’s World Series).

Then again, there’s also what’s known as a “proposition” bet, where someone may gamble on outcomes of events within a game or contest (such as which team will score the first touchdown, goal, basket, etc.).

“The parlay is probably one of the more popular bets,” Sculos noted. “It’s more difficult to be successful because you may be wagering on two, three or more games, and — if you lose one — that’s it. But the (payback) reward is much higher.

“There’s actually an app that can be downloaded on any smart phone, and it’s called ‘Tunity,’” he continued. “What you can do is a take a photo of any TV here, and the screen and sound from that television will appear on your device. That includes Androids, iPhones or tablets. You can actually listen to the broadcast wherever you may be.

“I have to say there’s a certain exciting rhythm to the room. As a big play happens, there’s a lot of cheering, but you don’t know who the individual winners may be. The first Sunday I was here (Dec. 23), there was a big play occurring at the end of an NFL game, and this place just erupted.

“It actually felt like being at the stadium, with all the typical energy and camaraderie that comes with sports. That’s what’s fascinated me most about this. You know people are wagering with a battle going on between heart and head — say the heart of a die-hard Pats’ fan but his (or her) head saying, ‘I want to think they’ll win and cover, but I don’t trust them!’

“You can see the guests are feeling this real turmoil, and you can feel it here — the thrilling emotion of cashing in a ticket, but your team may have to lose to so.”

(By the way, all winning tickets may be cashed in within a year of issuance).

As for what “The Book” will offer the public besides the opportunity to lay down a wager, Sculos said the state will receive 51 percent of all net revenue after payouts, while William Hill and IGT will share 32 percent and the casino itself will collect 17 percent.

“We always listen very closely to the customers,” Doyle said. “There have been some who have told us it would be nice if we had self-service terminals, and we actually do. Before we opened down here, we started on the third floor (on Nov. 26), and it’s still open; we have four terminals up there and four more here.

“The kiosks will come on shortly.”

Sculos said the facility’s opening came at a fantastic time in the professional/collegiate sports slate.

“This is definitely a high volume period in the schedule, with NFL games, college bowl games in particular; college basketball; the NBA, the NHL; the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl, followed by March Madness,” he stated. “It’s been an interesting time for us.

“You know, we’ve also noticed a lot of good humor between our Red Sox and Yankees fans,” he added. “They’ve been making future wagers on next year’s World Series, who’s going to win the American League East (Division). There’s been a lot of ‘back-and-forth,’ and it’s been pretty funny.

“I refer to it as ‘Friendly Taunting.”

He’s also witnessed his fair share of superstitions among his clients at the Sportsbook.

“People do have their own little odd actions, like pacing and the like; I remember we had one man who was sitting at that table just a few days ago,” Sculos said, pointing to a downstairs section. “He had his back to the televisions, so I approached him and said, ‘Sir, is everything OK?’

“He told me yes, and I asked him why he wasn’t watching anything on them. His response was, ‘Because I just can’t do it! It’s bad luck!’ And there he was, sitting in a huge room with over 100 TVs.”

For more information on the Sportsbook Bar & Grill, visit www.sportsbetRI.com.

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