[toc]The sports betting world was infatuated with a recent USA Today story about a bettor who claimed to be one of the winningest wagerers of all time.
There’s a lot to be suspect of in the initial account about Robert Gorodetsky (aka GAMBLR), including his claim that he wins 60 to 65 percent of his bets. But there was even more to question in the follow-up story about him:
Gorodetsky said he thinks talking to USA TODAY Sports about his alleged ties with NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. and an NBA assistant coach led to the bans by MGM Resorts International and sports book William Hill and that other action will follow.
“I’m banned for life basically from Vegas,’’ Gorodetsky said. “My life is over basically, but nothing I can do.’’
The “banned from Vegas” is a common refrain in the sports betting world for bettors who turn into touts, selling their plays for money. Some of them are actually decent at betting, some of them may or not be actually banned, and if they are, it’s probably not just for being too good.
But was GAMBLR banned for the reason he says?
No, that’s probably not why he was banned
I won’t go into picking through the original article and its veracity. Suffice it to say Gorodetsky claims to be perhaps the best sports bettor on the planet, and also claims to know a lot of famous people and athletes.
The first claim is almost certainly embellished. The second one is a little tougher to dissect, but it also seems likely that is overstated too.
Regardless, we have Gorodetsky saying his connection to pro athletes is the reason he’s being kicked out of Vegas sportsbooks. The follow-up story seems to buy that explanation as well, detailing Gorodetsky’s alleged connections to athletes.
But that seems unlikely to be the reasoning for the “ban.” Here’s ESPN gambling writer David Purdum:
What would that be? Well in the original article relayed a story that Gorodetsky placed a bet while outside of the state. That’s a big no-no and that’s a far more likely reason for being banned: betting in violation of Nevada regulations and bragging about it in the press.
There was also another reason he could have been banned. Gorodetsky intimated that lower-level college games and the NBA Summer League were susceptible to fixing, something of which there’s no proof and with which Nevada sportsbooks and regulators would highly disagree.
Gorodetsky likely knew that saying either of these things to the press could get him banned in Vegas. (If he didn’t, he’s simply not very bright.) It all leads to the possible narrative that he wanted to get banned so that he could make money selling his picks. Many sports bettors have made this claim over the years to make their picks more attractive.
No, Gorodetsky isn’t going to be a billionaire in sports betting
Here’s another crazy claim from the initial USA Today story:
“When it goes legal, we’re going to be billionaires,’’ said Elo Hankham, one of Gorodetsky’s confidants. “We’re the No. 1 entity, and we’re going to have a market share of at least 5% of a $150 billion industry.’’
Banned in Vegas or not, Gorodetsky is not going to become a billionaire because of sports gambling.
The New Jersey sports betting case looms as a possible way for legal wagering to proliferate around the US. Still, the “$150 billion industry” to which Hankham refers is handle, not revenue. (Revenue in sports betting is generally about 5 to 10 percent of handle, and sometimes even less than that.)
Gorodetsky is not getting any piece of the sports betting industry directly; he might be able to sell his picks but the ceiling of 5 percent of $150 billion is simply a ridiculous claim.
I wouldn’t be buying GAMBLR’s picks
Some day soon you’re likely going to see Gorodetsky touting his sports betting picks, with “BANNED FROM VEGAS” prominently featured nearby.
There’s little actual evidence that Gorodetsky is a long-time winning sports bettor, even if we believe he’s had some short-term success.
The day you see those ads from Gorodetsky, think carefully before you pony up any cash for them. Because he probably wanted to be banned from Vegas just to make it more likely you to buy them.