5 Questions with Jeff Burge

CFO and CTO, CG Technologies

CG Technologies (formerly Cantor Gaming) has been running sports book operations at the Cosmopolitan for five years. But with the recent appointment of former MGM executive Bill McBeath as CEO, a bigger, more splashy sports book was required. He identified an under-utilized space on the first floor, directly inside the entrance from the Las Vegas Strip. Together with CGT, he created a comfortable sports-bar environment with lounge seating, a fully stocked bar, food and adjacent table games. Jeff Burge, the CFO and CTO of CGT, spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros about how it is performing.

The previous sports book at the Cosmopolitan was small, tucked away on the second floor. This one is front and center right off the Strip and a true focal point.

Yes, this one was created to be a destination. And the design was a result of things we’ve learned over the last five years. Most of the wagering is done these days on mobile, so the transactional side isn’t as important, and there are fewer betting stations. But people still want to get together with their friends to watch the games. We tried to create an environment here that combined the bar, food service, lounge seating and table games.

So this is a result of what you’ve learned over the years?

Sure, you always learn as things evolve. Five years ago, the formal betting stations were necessary for the educated gamblers. But that has evolved, largely driven by the mobile app. Almost everyone has one; it’s very common in this market. People will sit here in the sports book and place bets on their mobile apps all day long. They’re looking for an environment, and that’s what we’re providing them these days.

What’s different at the Cosmopolitan than at your other sports books?

Well, this is the “difference that matters,” one of their favorite slogans. And we were more than happy to work with them to create something that is unique and integrates with the other things they’re doing on this property.

How has it been performing?

We’ve been open here for four weeks and it’s just been going gangbusters. It’s a great location, more space and a better product overall. The resort in general is doing much better than it has in the past, with a much more gaming focus. We had our best Super Bowl here by far, in the five years we’ve been open at the property.

You’ve got pool tables, foosball tables and other games in the area. What’s the idea with that?

It’s trying to avoid the sports-bar curse. When there’s not a big sporting event on TV, sports bars all over the world have trouble. Here, we’re giving them other games to play, and there’s a table-game pit right next to the book, so you’ve created more of a fun environment rather than an event-driven location.

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