This is the second part of an interview with Fernando, Head Linesman and Odds Analyst from Hollywood Sportsbook.
INTERVIEW, Part II
SBR Bill Dozer : So how long have you been working at Hollywood ?
Fernando: This is a little bit over 2 years, I have been here 49 months already…
SBR BD: Ok, so you came to Costa Rica specifically to work for Hollywood ?
SBR BD: How was your friend associated with Hollywood ?
Frndo: He was just a friend of the owner here. Who also used to have a Sportsbook here in Costa Rica ; so he just knew what was going on… He recommended me for the job.
SBR BD: Ok, and what was your first impression of the online betting market when you first started up there?
Frndo: When I first came in, I couldn’t believe it, you know, you see all these computers, I used to have a pretty big office with 10 phones but when you walk in and see 60-70 phones, and computers, and you are just overwhelmed to see how much things have changed.
SBR BD: What was the biggest adjustment to managing lines online vs. managing lines with the local clients?
Frndo: Well now with the computers and the Don Best Screen you get more information. It was different when you sat in an apt. building; we didn’t have computers in those days, because it was too expensive… We were always scared that they were going to take everything from us. Now you have everything in front of you, you get to see more lines and what other places are doing, you know… it helps to get a feel for what’s going on out there… you get to see what other places are doing, and you get more information. The more numbers you see, the more information you pick up.
SBR BD: When you were servicing local clients in New York , did you take a lot of the local teams… the Yankees, Knicks, teams like that, to get the most value out of what you were putting out?
Frndo: Well, I’ve always booked professional action and with the regular customers, we were always able to get 2-way business; it wasn’t like all the squares took the same team either, I always had the “wise-guys” that would off-set the square customers. That would be a problem, having everybody betting one side…
SBR BD: Ok, so you were making sharp action way back in New York then?
Frndo: Right. I always managed sharp action, yes.
SBR BD: If you weren’t at Hollywood right now, what do you think you would be doing?
Frndo: If I wasn’t at Hollywood , I would probably be at another sportsbook right now.
SBR BD: So this is definitely what you were meant to do?
Frndo: Yeah, I love this business; I really enjoy it. It’s a challenge and it’s also a good way to make some good money… and there is a lot of business out there. You're not gonna get rich, you gotta just grind, just grind… there are percentages in everything you do, and you’re only gonna win a certain percentage of your volume.
SBR BD: I have some questions about Hollywood as a whole. How big is Hollywood’s bank roll and how do you manage it?
Frndo: Well Bill, I’m not in charge of any of that, I post up the lines and move the numbers. That’s a different department, which I know nothing about. I’m in charge of posting good numbers and making sure we get 2-way business.
SBR BD: OK. Frndo, I’d like to discuss your reduced juice offer… Hollywood seemed to be doing very well with the standard -110; you guys were a favorite of many players, so why the reduced juice? Why was it the right time for that?
Frndo: Right now it is a very competitive market Bill, and we are trying to be competitive with everybody else. When we let some people lay $1.07, we’re looking to get some new customers. It’s all internet business too, so we were trying to give people the choice to bet on the internet which will help us in the long run, and also get some new business by letting them lay down $1.07.
SBR BD: Ok, so do you think that the market is going to go that way [reduced juice], would you say you’re staying ahead of the game?
Frndo: I could see it going even lower; it’s so competitive out there that I think it could be $1.05 one day, I hate to say it!
SBR BD: -105 at Hollywood ?
Frndo: I don’t know. It might be -105 at every place…I’m not saying Hollywood , I’m just saying it might be $1.05 everywhere.
SBR BD: What do you think about the prospect of managing a 10 cent line on a football game?
Frndo: Oh, it will make it tougher to move a number. One wouldn’t be able to move numbers; you’d just move the money (juice or money lines)… If it gets to be that way, that’s what’s gonna happen... We’d just move the money and the number would always be the same. You wouldn’t be able to move the numbers because the risk factor of getting sided would be too high.
SBR BD: Would you like a challenge like that or do you think that’s a bad thing for the industry?
Frndo: Not really, no! Definitely not! It’s tough enough these days to win; I think that’s why there’s such a big market in the States for sports-betting, because of this tendency towards reduced prices. If you take a look at Europe , the take-out (= commission) of European bookmakers on their sporting events is much higher than the 4.4 percent in the American market. In Europe , they could offer a lot more things, more gimmicks because the take-out is so much stronger; I don’t think that sports-betting would be that big in the States if the takeout was much higher than it is. I think the gamblers feel they have a fair bet and they have a good enough bet. These people have been gambling for so many years and betting so high, they must feel that they have an edge too. Any lower percentages of hold and it will make it harder for the books to win money.
SBR BD: Do you think that online players are becoming more educated about the value of reduced juice? What effect do you think the -107 had on Hollywood and what effects do you think this will have on Hollywood and the industry? Do you see Hollywood eating into a lot of other books’ business, and do you see Hollywood growing rapidly because of the -107?
Frndo: Well, Hollywood right now wants a lot of post-up customers and internet business. We will offer -107 and we might offer a better deal down the line, but we are focusing on internet business right now. These are the customers we are trying to get: the everyday customers and we are trying to get them in the door with reduced juice. We are also to start offering some prop-bets in football and some gimmick bets, which a lot of people like to bet.
SBR BD: Canbet seemed to be struggling around the time when you guys came out with the -107 and it looks like a lot of people might be attracted to Hollywood ’s price….
Frndo: Well, besides only laying $1.07, it’s also good to have different numbers. One thing that I like to do is have different numbers, of course, only if the market calls for a different number. Just because everybody has 4 doesn’t mean that I am going to put the line up to 4. If I think the line should be 5, I will post a 4 ½ up there to be a step up. A lot of people don’t do that, I like to do that. That’s they way I have always booked, I try to be a step ahead of people. That’s a way we use to attract business too, by having different numbers and not copying or having the same line that everyone else has.
SBR BD: Many people really appreciate the opinion that they can get from you and your lines. That’s a good answer.
Frndo: I think that’s the best advertising too. A lot of people won’t bet in some places, because they have the same number that everybody else has. Right there and then, that book will become useless to the players, so they don’t need to have an account there. When we open up our half time lines and everybody has 3, we might have it at a half or a half and twenty (2.5 OR 2.5 -120), people say: “at least this Hollywood has different numbers , this is a good out to have an account with”. And I see a lot of books on the screen that are useless. If you are a professional gambler, you really don’t need them. That’s why we get a lot of business from people who realize that we have different numbers and they like that.
*You can read Part I and Part III of this interview by clicking on the following links: Legendary NY Bookmaker Gone Offshore, Part I; Legendary NY Bookmaker Gone Offshore, Part III. Explanatory side notes by the SBR Team will be italized.
Read other interviews by the SBR Team, conducted by SBR Bill Dozer.
SBR Writer, Analyst, and Sportsbook player. Helps other players avoid scams and provides advice in dealing with offshore sportsbooks. For more information visit http://www.SportsBookReview.com or send an email to mailto:email@example.com.