Requiem for a Sports Bettor

Betting on sports hasn’t been more reachable or high-stakes. However, with the invasion of Europe-based companies in the game, the experts are feeling squeezed and getting banned from plying their trade. Is this the end of the professional sports bettor?
I am not a bookmaker,” Gadoon Kyrollos tells me as we walk through the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, playing penny slot machines. “I am a sports bettor.” Kyrollos is one of the highest-rolling sports bettors in the United States. He stakes millions of dollars each year on sporting events, to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest from NFL games. He’s known throughout the gambling world by the title Spanky, and in sweatpants, his hoodie, and back pack, he very much looks like a version of the Rascal. His backpack isn’t carrying school books and snacks. It is full of bricks of cash.
“Bookmakers hang a few,” he explains, as he pantomimes holding a gun gearing as much as his attention and pulling the trigger. “And I snipe’em”
Regardless of the bag full of money, Spanky is transfixed by the penny slot machine, pumping one bill after the next. On his cellphone he consults a recorder which tells him how to perform this specific machine so that it’s”and EV,” or positive expected value, meaning the player has an edge over the system over time. “Here is some real insider shit I’m showing you right here,” he tells me, referring to his spreadsheet, which has formulas for heaps of different slot machines plugged in to it. “I mean, it is likely an edge of, like, $12, but if you’re walking down the street and saw $12, you’d bend down and pick this up, right?”
It’s important to Spanky that I know the difference between bookmaking and gambling, because a great deal of folks don’t understand or appreciate the differentiation, including the Queens district attorney, that billed Spanky with bookmaking in 2012, a fee he says stemmed from a widespread harassment of this enterprise.

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