Wagering on the future of sports betting
February 8, 2015 12:47 PM   Subscribe

A Life On The Line: For four decades, other gamblers have tried to be Billy Walters while investigators have tried to bring him down. And for four decades, the world's most successful sports bettor has outrun them all.
For 38-year-old Rubalcada, being at the M is a pleasing trip down memory lane, a visit to his primary workplace throughout 2010 and 2011. Back then, he had nearly $1 million in his account at the M. Dressed in slacks and a sport coat, he would saunter in and bet six figures a week on NFL and college games. He was, M Resort staffers say, one of the sportsbook's "bigger guys" -- a high roller who could afford to bet very, very big.

But he wasn't that at all.

In fact, Rubalcada was a faceless grunt in the most successful gambling enterprise of all time.
posted by Room 641-A (15 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Meanwhile, at the end of my street, no more than half a mile away, I have a branch of BetFred, Ladbrokes and William Hill. Only once have I bet on football. A number of years ago, my team, West Brom were in the promotion race. I put £50 on them to *not* win promotion, as a hedge bet.
posted by salmacis at 1:45 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Interesting collection of articles. Working through them now - I don't really gamble, and I'm no pro sports fan, but it's fascinating stuff.

In the Canadian province I'm in, you can walk into any corner store or gas station that sells lottery tickets and bet on pro sports. AFAIK, they don't offer much in the way of online betting to date.

Interestingly, Labrokes, to the extent it had an online presence for Canadian gamblers, pulled out a while back, but that seems to be attributable to UK regulations.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:58 PM on February 8, 2015


If any anonymous bettors are reading this I will gladly move to Reno and earn 1200 dollars week putting down your sports bets. That sounds FUCKING AWESOME.
posted by josher71 at 2:23 PM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]


"Everybody in this country bets on sports," he continues. "If you were to take away the office pools, fantasy pools, people betting on sports, I guarantee the [TV] viewership would be cut in less than half."

While that is obviously hyperbole, I am certainly not the first person to notice that pretty much every newspaper in the US publishes betting odds on its sports page, even though actually betting on sports is illegal in the vast majority of the country. This information is meaningless unless you are using it to gamble, and it is available even in the most conservative parts of the country, where gambling is considered a sin.
posted by TedW at 4:04 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think that you can only bet on multiple events, Mandolin Conspiracy, not single events. Although I understand there might be a private members bill in the works to change that.
posted by smcniven at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2015


True. From their FAQ:

Pro Line is played by selecting your predicted outcomes for 3 to 6 sporting events, based on a list of events and odds for various outcomes. You must be correct on all your selections to win.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:21 PM on February 8, 2015


TIL that there's a British betting company called Ladbrokes, which completely sounds like a joke name.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:33 PM on February 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


Perhaps a little less funny when you know that the second syllable is pronounced like "brooks" not like the word "broke".
posted by Dysk at 3:05 AM on February 9, 2015


I wonder if this isn't part of why Casinos don't like him:
Walters might bet $50,000 on a team giving 3 points, then $75,000 more on the same team when the line reaches 3.5. The moment the line gets to 4, a runner is instructed to immediately place a larger bet -- perhaps $250,000 -- on the other team. The $125,000 on the initial lines will be lost, but if things go according to plan, the $250,000 on the other side will win enough to make up for it many times over. Walters uses the same method on multiple games, often risking millions each weekend.
They (casinos) don't offer odds based on who's going to win, they offer odds based on where the money is. By pushing the odds around like that via various agents, you are esentially insider trading ..
posted by k5.user at 7:32 AM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


If active market manipulation was considered insider trading, you'd be surprised how much of Wall Street would be in a lot of trouble.
posted by effugas at 8:07 AM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I assume that most professional sporting events, in the NFL particularly, are predetermined and scripted just like professional wrestling.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:25 AM on February 9, 2015


effugas: If active market manipulation was considered insider trading, you'd be surprised how much of Wall Street would be in a lot of trouble.
... in my dreams, at least. In real life? Only if the culprits were from the designated sacrificial lamb bank.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:52 AM on February 9, 2015


I wonder if this isn't part of why Casinos don't like him:

Yes, I thought it was an interesting companion to this video poker bug cheating story, which I was sure someone, maybe even me, had already posted here.

Only if the culprits were from the designated sacrificial lamb bank.

Mmm...sacrifical lamb.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:19 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Would it be closer to "cornering the market", rather than insider trading?
posted by clawsoon at 4:24 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's probably a better description, as it's still gambling. Successful betting is as much about picking winners as it is picking them at the right price.
posted by Dark Messiah at 6:42 PM on February 9, 2015


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