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ROYAL PORTRUSH HOSTS THE 2019 BRITISH OPEN

For the first time since 1951 the British Open, aka The Open, will be played on the historic links known as the Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland on the windy shores of the North Atlantic Ocean beginning on July 18th.

Local golfing hero Rory McElroy will be there amongst the favorites at 10-1 to win the event along with #1 ranked Brooks Koepka at 6-1 and Masters winner Tiger Woods, who has eschewed all other professional events since his roller-coaster rounds at the US Open where he turned in a strong finish giving his fans, and bettors, hope for the future.

Woods has won the British Open three times in the past and he racked up PGA Major win number 15 this year at Augusta National.  Tiger is listed at 12-1 for The Open this year along with the ever dangerous Dustin Johnson who is predicted to make a strong run for the cup as well.

Oddsmakers don’t seem to think that surprise US Open Champion Gary Woodland is likely to win back to back majors as they have him listed at 50-1 for The British Open this year. US Open runner up Rory McElroy is on a roll this spring and is expected to finish in the top 10 at Royal Portrush.

The Royal Portrush itself is amongst the oldest and most venerated golf courses in the world dating its origins all the way back to 1888 when the links were established around a triangle of giant sand hills overlooked by the ruins of the 13th century Dunluce Castle, which gives its name to one of the two 18 hole courses located at the Royal Portrush.

The Open will be played on the Dunluce links, which are considered to be one of the top 10 golf courses on the tour.  The British Open was first played in 1860 in Scotland at the Prestwick Golf Club and is the only ‘major’ on the PGA tour that is played outside of the USA.

On July 18, 2019, 156 of the top golfers on the planet will be there to tee off on the Dunluce Links to begin another round of The British Open.  Projection models are looking for a strong showing from young Patrick Cantlay, currently listed at 25-1, who has racked up 8 top ten finishes in 15 starts!

Also in the hunt for a share of the $10,750,000 in prize money for 2019 at the Royal Portrush will be perennial favorites Jordan Spieth (20-1), who won the event in 2017, along with popular European golfers Justin Rose (16-1), Jon Rahm (20-1) and last year’s champion Francesco Molinari, also listed at 20-1 for the 2019 Open.

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LOny boston londonNDON HOSTS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IN STYLE

The long awaited premiere showing of MLB in Europe finally happened last weekend in the city of London during an unseasonal heat wave in England as temperatures soared into the 90’s at London Stadium in the Stratford district of downtown London.

London Stadium was built for the 2012 Olympics and features a circular roof which opens and closes according to the weather. The roof was open for the highly anticipated contest between the American League leading New York Yankees and the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox.

Whether it was the open roof, the high temperatures or simply an excess of adrenalin, the baseball was flying high in London on Saturday as the score after the first inning was 6-6 and a sum total of 37 hits resulting in 30 runs being scored before it was all over.  The Over & Under had been set at 11.5!

The Red Sox got the party started by smashing 3 home runs in the first inning by Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Christian Vazquez.  It was the first time that the Boston club had hit 3 homers in the first inning in 40 years.

The Yankees went on to score 2 more runs in the 3rd inning and put up another 6 in the 4th and 3 in the 5th but were shut out by the Red Sox bullpen for the remainder of the game.  Boston came back with a big six run inning in the 7th, but it was too little and too late.  The Yankees took the opener 17-13.

Baseball caps, jerseys and T-Shirts representing both clubs were flying off the shelves as well around the ball park.  A large percentage of the 60,000 some odd fans in attendance were decked out in MLB finery.  One gentleman even sported a two billed baseball cap with Yankees on one side and Red Sox on the other.

The crowd in general was most enthusiastic and really seemed to enjoy the event leading MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to speculate that more games may be coming to more cities in Europe in the near future.  They even looked pretty convincing singing ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ during the 7th inning stretch.

London Stadium was designed as a Soccer venue and is now the home of West Ham United of the Premier League. As such presented a few unusual quirks to the baseball players, like an outfield that covers over an acre of ground and greatly enhanced foul ball areas before running into the stands. Both first basemen were especially taxed by the extra space.

After the slug fest on Saturday, it seemed that Boston and New York were going to start it all over again when the Red Sox put up four runs in the first inning and the Yankees answered with 2 in the 2nd, but then the game settled down to some semblance of normalcy and no more scoring took place until the Yankees rallied with 9 runs in the 7 inning and took the Sunday contest by a final score of 12-8 to sweep the 2 game, first ever, London MLB Series.

It looks like we will be seeing more Major League Baseball games from Europe in the future.

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A SPORTS BOOK AT WRIGLEY FIELD?

It wasn’t so long ago that hearing someone talk about a sports book at Wrigley Field would lead one to think that it was part of a joke.  That could never be. Could it?

Although nothing like that has happened as yet, the powers that be among major league teams, in most major sports, are now seriously considering installing betting windows, automated wagering machines, known as kiosks, or even setting up a full on sportsbook, right there within the confines of the park.

Why would they do this?  We might hear tales about popular demand and making the game more fun for the fans, but the real answer is crude and simple, its money.  Lots and lots of money.  Potential revenues from legalized wagering are staggering, both for the professional sports organizations involved as well as for the local and state governments wherein they operate.

As per the recent Supreme Court decision leaving the question of sports wagering in the hands of the individual states, several states, led by New Jersey, have already moved to allow betting on sports at certain venues, namely at established Casinos and Horse Racing Tracks.

As for now, Major League Baseball does not allow any form of wagering facilities, of any kind, within a stadium or ball park.  Ditto with the NBA. Currently there is a major review underway in the state of Illinois considering changing those established rules, with the backing of both MLB and the NBA!

MLB issued a statement saying “We will work with our clubs to explore the opportunities presented by the rapidly evolving sports betting landscape in a socially responsible manner”.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker, who has already expressed support for the project, is expected to sign a bill, which has already passed the state legislature, that will pave the way for wagering to be legalized via casinos and potentially even allowing sports wagering inside Wrigley Field and similar facilities in the state.

Soldier Field, home of the NFL Chicago Bears, the United Center, where the Bulls and the Blackhawks perform and even Guaranteed Rate Park, the home of the Chicago White Sox would all be included should the bill become law as will any facility accommodating over 17,000 fans for sporting events.

Current plans are for these venues to apply for a license to offer sports betting inside, or within a five block radius, of the facility.  That could get complicated, and expensive. Each venue must apply for a ‘Masters Sports Wagering License’ which will cost them a cool ten million bucks each!  We are talking about the money to be made here once again.

Similar moves are already underway, with the cooperation of MLB and the NBA, in Washington D.C. and New York.  The NFL, as usual, is dragging behind the rest of the world by refusing to comment at all on wagering issues.

New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Delaware and even Mississippi now host legal, full on sports books where bettors can place their wagers legally for the first time.  The movement is just getting started.

Tom Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, who play at Wrigley Field, has recently invested in ‘The Action Network’, which is an established sports betting media outlet, and is even considering starting another radio broadcast featuring sports wagering talk and analysis. The wheels are already in motion.

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BREAKAWAY TIME FOR BOOKIES

It’s the slowest week in sports all year long. The NBA and NHL finals are finally over while NFL & NCAA Football is still on the horizon.

Looking back it seems the first half of the major league baseball season went by all too quickly. But here we are and it’s time for MLB to take its annual break at mid season to celebrate their All-Stars Game and let it all hang out at the Home Run Derby.

This will be the 90th MLB All Star Game and it will be hosted this year by the Cleveland Indians at their Progressive Field on July 9th.  Managers for the big game will be Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League and Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox for the American League.

Those games are always a lot of fun for players and fans alike as they are usually played in a more or less lighthearted fashion with the emphasis being on having a good time.  The talent out on the playing field at any one time is amazing and inspiring.

Being the slowest week of the year for bettors and bookies as well, the MLB All-Star Break is the perfect time for professional bookies to perhaps pause and take a look around at modern trends and consider either using a pay per head service for the first time, or, perhaps making a switch to upgrade their current service.

Ask yourself if you are still providing the best possible wagering service for your important clients, or, have the systems you are using gone out of date, or out of style? Are you getting timely and accurate reporting 24/7?  Are your players happy with the wagering software solutions you are offering?

To see what the best in the business has to offer, simply check out HostPPH.com and find out how good a truly dedicated pay per head service can be.  This time of the year, HostPPH is offering up to 4 weeks free PPH service with no deposit or obligation, just to try them out.

Then ask yourself the most important question, are you happy with your bottom line?  Would not upgrading to a first quality PPH service serve to increase that figure?

If you are a working bookmaker who is looking to upgrade your current pay per head service, HostPPH offers you a chance to significantly enhance to your wagering offerings and wagering software systems that you and your clients use every day.

The MLB All Star Break is the perfect time of the year to breakaway from your old outdated systems and find out why so many professional bookmakers worldwide have switched over to a quality pay per head service like HostPPH.com and started getting more out of life while enjoying ever greater profitability.

Think about it!

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FAMED SANTA ANITA RACETRACK CLOSED

On June 26, 2019, in Gambling Headlines, Sporting News, by Bobby Goodspeed

FAMED SANTA ANITA RACETRACK CLOSED

One of Thoroughbred Racings’ most famous venues has been closed after the deaths of more than 30 horses so far in 2019.  The governor of California has stepped in and authorized the suspension of operations at famed Santa Anita Park at Arcadia, California.

Santa Anita is one of the most popular thoroughbred racetracks in the country attracting thousands of fans to the race and millions of dollars in wagering every day that the ponies run. The old track is home to various prestigious races each year including the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap. The Breeder’s Cup Race has been run there many times.

Only a few weeks ago the owners of Santa Anita Park, The Stronach Group, decided to keep the facility open despite the mysterious loss of over 20 horses at the time. The situation has since gone from bad to worse. More horses have died and a Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has been suspended from the track after 4 of his horses died in the stables at the track.

What is strange is that no one seems to know what is going on.  What is killing the houses?  Surely not their trainer.  How could this be happening? Speculation ranges from some exotic virus in the soil to venom from a poison dart frog. Well equipped experts have so far not come up with an answer.

Thoroughbred Horse Racing in the state of California is supervised by the California Horse Racing Board which apparently had to go to Governor Gavin Newsome and the California State Senate to get authority to suspend the track license at Santa Anita Park “to protect the health and safety of horses and riders”.

Spokesperson for the Stronach Group, Tim Ritvo told the press, “In whole, we feel confident in the track and we’re just being very proactive.  We want to do all the testing that needs to be done.  When we believe we’re in good shape, we’ll start to train over again”.  One might ask why they were not a bit more proactive before the governor and the senate had to shut them down.

And this has been going on for awhile now.  Back in early March all thoroughbred racing was cancelled after the 21st horse died since December 18, 2018 and only resumed on towards April.

A myriad of tests were done on everything from the horses, to the feed and even the soil on the racetrack, but no specific conclusions were reached.  No one managed to figure it out and, after racing resumed, horses began to die again.  Now the proud old racetrack is closed down and lots of folks are out of work.

Next up on the agenda at Santa Anita Park will be the return of the Breeder’s Cup on September 27th.  At least that is what is scheduled.  Surely the Breeder’s Cup Board will take a very close look at Santa Anita Park before allowing their popular annual race to be run there again in 2019.

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