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Won't Someone Think of the Poor Sportsbooks?

Kyle Koster
Brandon Vallance/GettyImages
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The San Francisco Giants are 11 wins from becoming World Series champions. No one expected them to lead the Majors in wins this year, as evidenced by their 100-1 longshot odds to hoist the ultimate trophy. It's an incredibly fun story and great for baseball, which carries with it an unpredictable randomness other sports can't match. But there's a dark side to all this. It appears that, yet again, our nation's plucky little sportsbooks might lose money on the result of a sporting event.

ESPN is reporting this morning that multiple books could take more than a $1 million hit on a Giants World Series crown.

"Honestly, we get crushed if the Giants win," MGM director of trading Jeff Stoneback told ESPN, explaining the potential net loss even after accounting for all wagers on the 29 other teams.

Awful, awful stuff. Sportsbooks may soon find themselves in the unenviable spot of having to pay out their customers for winning bets. Hardly seems fair, especially at a time when small business owners are facing steep and wide-ranging challenges.

It's really weird how often stories like this crop up, along with their close cousin: the customer who is about to hit a ridiculous parlay to dig deep into the house's pockets. At a certain point it's surprising that the books are still in business considering all the huge hits they keep taking at the hands of the average Joe.

Thankfully, all is not lost for the multi-billion dollar industry which is growing at an exponential rate. It turns out there's a plan in place for when bettors do well and it involves taking in an obscene amount of money for other bettors who lose.

The potential hit does have a silver lining. Sportsbooks are routinely equipped to absorb significant losses during the football season, given the large betting handle in both college and pro football. In fact, this October has five Saturdays and five Sundays, so most sportsbooks are projecting this month to have the largest handle of 2021.

While that should sooth some nerves, it's obviously going to be a touch-and-go situation for everyone as long as San Francisco has life. Keep an extra thought and prayer in your heart for sportsbooks because they'd do the same for you if roles were reversed.

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