How to Get Started With Sports Betting the Next Time You Visit a Casino

Tom Gable, director of the Race & Sports Book for the Borgata, gives his pro advice.

sports betting

Take your new sports betting skills for a test drive at Moneyline Bar & Book at the Borgata. Photograph courtesy Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

Slots and table games have been around for a while, but sports betting? That’s a relatively new phenomenon around these parts. Tom Gable, director of the Race & Sports Book for the Borgata, tells us how to get in on the action.

Start simple. (And don’t be intimidated by all the jargon.)

No idea what a parlay or teaser is? No worries. “At the most basic level, you can bet X amount of money on X team winning,” says Gable. Every day, each sports book puts out a sheet listing the day’s games, upcoming matches, and which bets you can make. “Peruse those at your leisure. When you’re ready, walk up to a cashier and place your bet.” Lob any questions at the cashier, Gable says: “We want people to feel welcome.”

Then get a little bolder.

Proposition bets (“prop” bets) go deeper. Some examples: what the final score will be, how many touchdowns the Eagles will score, and bets on individual players, like how many yards Zach Ertz will have. Also consider “futures” like who’ll win the Super Bowl in 2021. (Editor’s note: We’re too superstitious to use the Eagles as an example here.)

Bet on the quirky stuff.

Think beyond the big four. There’s also tennis, rugby, golf, cricket … “We were the first ones in the country to take a bet on an esports team,” says Gable.

Use that rewards card.

If you place a futures bet or have to leave before a game ends, you can mail in a winning ticket. It’s smart to use your players card, too, which — at the Borgata, at least — keeps track of placed bets in case you lose your paper slip (highly likely). “In New Jersey, all tickets are good for 12 months from the date of the event,” Gable says.

You don’t have to bet at all.

One major benefit of heading to a casino vs. logging into an app? The vibe. Not all sports-book rooms are created equal, but some are like supercharged sports bars. You can grab a table at Moneyline Bar & Book and drink and eat regardless of whether you wager. “A huge college football game or playoff baseball? You’ll have a great time even if you don’t bet,” says Gable.

Published as “Be a Good Sport” in the Know-It-All Guide to casinos in the February 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.