In gambling, there’s beginner’s luck, dumb luck and then there’s absolute sheer luck. And in the world of sports betting, Billy Walters is probably what everyone can call “one lucky bastard”—but obviously, pure luck isn’t all of it.
For almost 40 years, Billy Walters, now at the ripe old age of 68, is thought to have bet the most money in sports gambling than anyone else in history –and one who actually won and accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in returns. State and Federal investigators sniff left, right and around his operations on a regular basis.
Hundreds of bookies and bettors have attempted to crack his methods in order to duplicate his success to no avail. Even Billy Walters’ own employees have tried to figure him out so they can win alongside him. But in this race of a game called sports betting and life and general, it is safe to say that Billy Walters have outrun them all.
Is he really a gambling messiah? No one really knows his secret, but according to dozens of interviews and thousands of pages of legal and publicized documents, it seemed that Billy Walters tend to beat the odds everywhere—in sports gambling, in real estate, in the stock market and even in criminal proceedings.
Billy Walters may now live the kind of life the almost everyone will die for—owning a fleet of car dealerships, a private jet, a few high-end golf courses and big and luxurious homes in places like the Palm Desert and Cabo San Lucas, but like a total rags-to-riches story, his lifestyle was not this grand during his younger years.
Walters does not offer much information about his “work” though he may sometimes give subtle hints about it. It is said that he’s got hundreds of people placing bets on his behalf, ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars with bookies located both onshore and offshore. He’s even rumored to have famous actors, well-known professional boxers and a slew of other “runners” on his payroll.
He once won $3.5 million on a Super Bowl bet, $400,000 on a hole in golf and on a pretty average day, he makes roughly $2 million in bets. He’s reported to have a winning streak of 39 years (though he posted a loss in 2013, the only time he did so far) and earns about $15 million annually from sports betting alone. He’s making so much money that mobsters, Feds, and the IRS are starting to give him a lot of unwanted attention. And though he keeps mum about how he operates his work, he’s been rather open as to how his beginnings went.
Billy Walters was born to a poor teenage mother and hailed from a small town in rural Kentucky. He was raised by his grandmother who died when he was just 12. His first brush with gambling happened back when he was 9 years old when he wagered all the money he saved from working a paper route hinged on the premise that the Yankees will beat the Dodgers in the World Series. That was 1955; the Dodgers won, and little Billy lost all his hard-earned bucks. But his first taste of loss apparently did not deter young Walters from gambling; if anything, it added fuel to his already burning fire.
Back in the day, Billy Walters wasn’t always a winner and gambling put a tremendous strain on his personal relationships with people. He fondly recalled a time when he lost his own home to a bet and had to tell his then second wife about it. Luckily, he did not have to move his family elsewhere, but it took him a solid 18 months to pay off the mortgage. And you’d think that losing a home to gambling is going to be the end of it but it’s not, because Billy Walters encountered the same sad story at least fifteen times after. No wonder his second wife left him—even the most patient person can have his or her own limits.
It was the early 1980s and all Billy Walters had was the remnants of two failed marriages, a gig as a car salesman, a small amount of cash in his bank account, a nasty drinking habit, a misdemeanor conviction, and his love for gambling. So he made a decision to quit his job, pack his bags and head west to Las Vegas.
Going to Vegas proved to be the best decision of Billy Walters’ life. There he connected with people who would eventually turn his gambling habit into a stellar career. It was also during the ‘80s when the now-legendary Computer Group was formed. It pioneered the use of computer algorithms for sports betting.
The founders, Dr. Ivan Mindlin, is the self-indulgent frontman of the group—a surgeon-turned-gambler; while Michael Kent, a brilliant mathematician who developed nuclear submarine technology, both took a liking with Billy Walters thus hiring him for a big job in 1983. Billy Walters handled the task of exploiting the weakest betting lines with bookies and later on graduated to moving millions of dollars of bet money in exchange for a cut in the profits.
Business was good, and that was the time when Computer Group had ballooned into the first and largest national network of bookies and sports bettors who bet hundreds of thousands of dollars every single day.
After a few years, Billy Walters cleaned up and quit drinking. He progressed into being a member of the Las Vegas elite who started developing land to be turned into industrial parks, subdivisions, and golf courses. Billy Walters said that he fancies himself as “an across the board genius whose business acumen stretches far beyond gambling or sports betting”. He’d rather be viewed as a great entrepreneur than just being a Vegas gambler. At the moment, Billy Walters claim that gambling occupies only 7% of his time, maybe even less.
He may be dabbling with other ventures now but gambling is really where he made himself a name. “His approach to betting comes with a lot of technical capability and computer analysis. His work ethic is on-point and he worked as hard today as he did when he used to be a car salesman in Kentucky; the only difference is now he’s holding millions in his pocket whereas he’s got pennies before” mentioned Jack Sheehan, a long-time friend of Walters who was also writing an autobiography of the same at that time.
With all his accumulated riches, Billy Walters makes it a point to give back. He and his wife (Susan) both donate their time and money to several charitable institutions. In fact, they are one of the primary supporters of the Opportunity Village—a group that equips people with special needs with the skills to find jobs.
This one hit close to home as it was found out that one of Billy Walter’s sons, Scott, 40 years old, has a mental capacity of a young child, no thanks to the tumor that has been eating part of his brains up. When Walters is not busy attending to his other “business” ventures and charities, he also finds time to support and raise money for candidates seeking government electoral posts.
It was 2014 and Billy Walters was back on the headlines along with pro golfer Phil Mickelson and billionaire Carl Icahn. Mickelson was a friend and occasional golf partner while Icahn was a known investor. Currently, they are embroiled in an insider-trading investigation by the FBI. Walters, of course, denied any wrongdoings but the case remains open as of this date. And with his track record of beating the odds, who knows, maybe he’ll walk away unscathed from this one too.