Betting on sports has never been reachable or more high-stakes. However, with the invasion of companies in the game, the experts are feeling squeezed and frequently getting banned from plying their trade. Is this the ending of the professional sports bettor?
I’m not a bookmaker,” Gadoon Kyrollos informs me as we stroll throughout the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, enjoying penny slot machines. “I’m a sports bettor.” Kyrollos is in fact one of the highest-rolling sports bettors in the USA. He stakes millions of dollars every year to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, from NFL matches on sporting events. He’s known throughout the world by the title Spanky, and in his hoodie, sweatpants, and back pack, he looks like a 40-year-old version of the Little Rascal. His back pack, however, is not carrying snacks and school books. It is filled with bricks of cash.
“Bookmakers hang a few,” he explains, as he pantomimes holding a gun sight as much as his attention and pulling the trigger. “And that I snipe’em.”
Despite the bag filled with cash, Spanky is transfixed from the penny slot machine, pumping one bill into it after the next. On his phone he consults a recorder which tells him how to play this specific machine so that it’s”plus EV,” or positive expected value, meaning that the player has an advantage within the machine over time. “Here is some real insider shit I’m showing you here,” he tells me, speaking to his spreadsheet, which has formulas for dozens of slot machines plugged into it. “I mean, it’s likely an edge of, for example, $12, but in case you’re walking down the street and saw $12, you would bend down and pick this up, right?”
It’s important to Spanky I understand the difference between bookmaking and betting, since a great deal of people do not understand or appreciate the distinction, including the Queens district attorney, who charged Spanky with bookmaking at 2012, a charge he states originated from a widespread harassment of this enterprise.
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