Gambling on sports has never been high-stakes or reachable. But with the invasion of businesses in the sport, the pros are feeling pumped and getting banned from plying their trade. Is this the ending of this sports bettor?
I am not a bookmaker,” Gadoon Kyrollos tells me as we walk throughout the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, playing with penny slot machines. “I am a sports bettor.” Kyrollos is in fact one of the highest-rolling sports bettors in the United States. He bets millions of dollars each year on sporting occasions, to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest from NFL games. He is known throughout the gaming world by the title Spanky, also in sweatpants his hoodie, and backpack, he resembles a 40-year-old variant of the Rascal. His back pack is not carrying school books and snacks. It’s filled with bricks of cash.
“Bookmakers hang a few,” he explains, as he pantomimes holding a gun sight up to his attention and pulling the trigger. “And that I snipe’em.”
Regardless of the bag filled with money, Spanky is transfixed by the penny slot machine, pumping one bill into it after the next. On his cellphone he consults a spreadsheet that tells him how to play this specific machine so that it’s”plus EV,” or positive expected value, meaning that the player has an edge over the system over time. “This is some true insider shit I’m showing you here,” he tells me, speaking to his dictionary, that has formulas for heaps of different slot machines plugged in to it. “I mean, it is likely an edge of, for example, $12, but in case you were walking down the road and watched $12, you would bend down and pick this up, right?”
It is important to Spanky I understand the difference between bookmaking and gambling, since a great deal of folks do not know or appreciate the differentiation, such as the Queens district attorney, who charged Spanky with bookmaking at 2012, a fee he says originated from a widespread misunderstanding of this enterprise.
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