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Predictions are Futile Amidst Offshore Fallout...By S.H. Austin

The sports wagering world is buzzing about Pinnacle's decision to stop service to customers based in the United States.

This card wasn't supposed to fall. This was one of the safe havens that wouldn't be subject to pressure from the U.S. government, or anywhere else for that matter. Pinnacle headed the list of "best spots" on everyone's list. In fact, it was considered to be the model that successful sportsbooks would eventually have to follow to guarantee themselves long term success.

While any money you had on account there still appears to be safe (by all trusted reports), no predictions about the future of the industry are safe. In fact, the "consensus" predictions for months have turned out to be false.

Face it, NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING with certainty about what's going to happen in the next six months, or the next year in the offshore industry. So many predictions have been wrong that it's futile to try to list them all. The Department of Justice wouldn't go after executives who were based outside the country. Wrong. The government would talk the talk, but ultimately wouldn't do anything to try and crack down on offshore wagering. Wrong. The offshore places wouldn't buckle under the pressure from the U.S. Wrong. The public companies would have to retrench, but the private companies will just continue on with business as usual. Wrong.

Those interested have continually "drawn a line" after each major development assuming that would be the end of things. Then, a few weeks later, something more surprising would come along to change the landscape. Will Pinnacle's decision be the last bombshell in the industry? It's not a bombshell. It's just the latest aftershock in a continuing earthquake. Don't assume the rumbling has stopped.

So, what are interested parties to do when it's impossible to predict the future? The responsible thing is to play it safe and ride out the quake. Don't assume anything! Play the percentages. Put your eggs in safe places and watch the baskets. The good news is that things could evolve in a positive way in the future. This is not likely to happen in a finger snap though. What most of us wish the industry would be like is years away at best. It may never happen. It's funny that there was so much complaining during the "glory days" of the mid 2000's. Sharps kept getting kicked out of sportsbooks, or had their limits lowered to non-playable levels. A few places just disappeared entirely with little notice. The news keeps getting worse and worse for skill players. Things aren't trending in the right direction either. Trends are made to be broken.

Patience is the key. Far be it from me to offer more advice than that. Many of you already have some contingency plans set up. Many of you don't even live in the U.S., and you'll be playing at Pinnacle tonight as if nothing happened (next summer, can I send you some ideas about pitchers' strikeout props?) The industry can't rebuild until the earthquake stops. Let the dust settle.

Legal sports wagerers aren't a patient lot. But, they are a creative lot! They understand what "finding an edge" is all about. The disappearance of Pinnacle from the U.S. offshore options makes life more complicated. It doesn't make winning impossible.

Keep checking back at for developments in the coming days and weeks. This is where you'll find out first about any future aftershocks. It's where confirmation will come that the earthquake has ended. And, it's where news about what will likely be a "rebuilding" of the industry will break. Oops. Those sounded like predictions!

We hope for timely resolutions with the industry currently in flux. We won't make the mistake of trying to predict what's going to happen today, tomorrow, or next week. But, it's not a prediction to say that will be at the forefront of industry coverage. Count on it!

S.H. Austin

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