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Y2K Bowl bets should be covered

Forget all of these doom and gloom predictions of planes falling from the sky and criminals escaping from unlocked jail cells. Want to hear a real Y2K scare scenario?

Say you’re in your favorite casino on New Year’s Eve, and you put down a

bundle on the Fiesta Bowl. Suddenly, the clock ticks over to the year 2000 …and all the computers crash.



The horror …

“First of all, from the public’s standpoint, no one is going to lose their money,” said Steve




Schorr, the manager of the sports book at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. “There’s no risk whatsoever. When you place a bet, you get a ticket. Hold on to the ticket, and it will be

honored.”

But hold on tight. It could be a rough night at the casino sports books if Y2K causes disruptions.

“Just about all operations in the sports book are computerized these days,” said Schorr.

“Our CBS (Computerized Bookmaking System) handles everything from run lines to wagering. All of the Harrah’s properties are on the same system, which is based at the headquarters in Las Vegas.

“So if our system goes down, they all go down.”

So again, hold on to those tickets … even though Schorr and his staff are not really

expecting any sort of a problem.

“We have the CBS guys in here all the time, they’ve been working hard on the

system to make sure there are no problems (with Y2K),” he said. “We recently had a CBS

upgrade, which was finalized by Gaming Control in June. They’re always in here testing

it. All the bookmaking stuff is on the system, even the time clocks we use to punch in

every day.

“We’re ready for problems but I don’t think there will be any.”

New Year’s Eve is the biggest day for sports wagering in the U.S., next to the day before

the Super Bowl. But experts predict that this New Year’s will eclipse Super Bowl wagering records, due to the fact that all of the millennium celebrations around the nation will bring people out in force.

Last year, gamblers plunked down about $2.3 billion in Nevada sports books, and about $200 million of that came in the week preceding the New Year’s College Bowl games, such as the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl.

“Harrah’s has been on this thing for a long time,” said spokesman John Packer. “It’s going to be a real big night for us, perhaps our biggest New Year’s ever.”

But up in the sports book, Schorr anticipates even bigger things.

“Put quite simply, we are expecting our busiest day ever,” he said. “The busiest Saturday in the history of the sports book.”

And if the computers do crash?

“It will be major chaos if the system goes down,” he said. “No one will lose their money, but it will still be a mess. I don’t even want to think about all the problems we would have if the system went down.

“But we’re hoping it’s not an issue.”


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