High Rolling Sports Bettor Banned from Vegas Sportsbooks
Look, I am not a professional gambler and when I have gambled as a hobby, it has been for embarrassingly low stakes, so what I am about to say may just be me talking out of my rear parts. If you bet on sports for ultra-high stakes for a living, perhaps it is not the best idea to flaunt your connections to professional athletes and coaches on social media or really do anything (besides win) that would give casinos a reason to ban you. Because that’s what has apparently happened to Robert Gorodetsky, a 25-year old who bets insane amounts of money each year on sports and who now might not have anywhere to do it.
According to USA Today, what may have done Gorodetsky in was a story which the newspaper published about him on December 26th. For the piece, Josh Peter of USA Today hung out with Gorodetsky for a week to see what the man’s life and his gambling career were like. During those seven days this fall, Gorodetsky “wagered well over $1 million on a range of sporting events and tens of thousands of dollars more on blackjack and roulette.”
He is also not shy in the slightest about making his successes known to the public. Gorodetsky publishes pictures of his winning betting slips on social media and, of course, allowed USA Today to shadow him. What he thinks got him banned was his boasting about how he has hung out and gambled, or discussed gambling with, people involved in pro sports. Take, for example, his May Instagram post of a picture of him with New York Giants star Odell Beckham, Jr. It’s an innocent enough picture – just the two with their arms around each other, posing for the camera in a hotel hallway – but he went into more background with the USA Today:
Gorodestky said he met Beckham through one of the NFL star’s cousins who Gorodetsky already knew. The gambler and the NFL star connected, of course, at the High Limit Lounge, according to Gorodetsky.
“He said, ‘You know what, I didn’t really bring any money with me.’ These people never do, right?’’ Gorodetsky said. “He’s like, ‘Let me borrow $10,000, I want to play blackjack. If I lose, I’ll wire you the money tomorrow.’ Blah, blah, blah.
“I give him the money. Next thing you know we’re sitting there (playing blackjack) for four hours. He won a couple of thousand and gave me my money back. Then he’s like, ‘Come to dinner with us.’ ”
Holding his phone, Gorodetsky showed what he said was a text message from Beckham indicating an interest in betting $20,000 on a baseball game — a prospect that Gorodetsky said fell through.
Now, it is not against NFL rules to bet on other sports, but it probably isn’t the best look to be hanging out with a high stakes sports bettor, thus Bekham’s agent told the USA Today that he does not know Gorodetsky.
Other examples of Gorodetsky’s sports connections:
• Damon Jones, an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has texted Gorodetsky about baseball picks. Russ King, Gorodetsky’s head of security (yes, he has a security detail), said he saw the two together during the Las Vegas Summer League on multiple occasions. Jones denies knowing him.
• He says he is chummy with L.A. Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma. “He’ll always secretly be like, ‘Who do you got?’ You know what I’m saying?”
• He has played poker with NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, who he says isn’t a bad poker player and is a “funny dude.”
Of course, none of these anecdotes – and Gorodetsky claims to have many more pro sports ties – necessarily mean that the coaches and players were doing anything wrong, nor does it mean that Gorodetsky was doing anything untoward. But USA Today has implied that it is possible casinos have banned Gorodetsky because they don’t want to risk that he has inside information from those involved in the games on which he bets.
“I’m banned for life basically from Vegas,’’ Gorodetsky said. “My life is over basically, but nothing I can do.’’
One other thing that may have had a lot to do with it was how Gorodetsky bragged to USA Today that he could easily pay off college players and summer league players in order to win bets. He says he never has and never would, but he laid out the strategy:
You just pay college kids, inner-city college kids who don’t have any money. Give them 10 grand. That’s like a million dollars to them. You know what I’m saying? Have a bad game, here’s 10 grand. I don’t see how they wouldn’t do it.
I’d spread it around Vegas, 20 grand a place. They’d never notice. I wouldn’t beat one casino badly. I’d take a little piece from every single (sports) book.
That statement could not have gone over well with the Vegas sportsbooks. It doesn’t help, either, than nobody in Vegas understands how Gorodetsky has won millions. Even he admits he doesn’t really know much and just goes by “instinct.” In one example from the USA Today piece, he was sweating a Colorado State/New Mexico football game for the second half of a two-game parlay. He said he knew nothing about either team.
MGM Resorts International confirmed to USA Today that it has barred Gorodetsky from its sportsbooks. Part of why that hurts him is that he has lived at ARIA, an MGM property, for two years.
William Hill provided Gorodetsky’s financial statement to USA Today, which showed he bet more than $26 million with the online sportsbook in 2017, profiting $245,000. Gorodetsky said he bet many millions more in Las Vegas, but other than his public photos of winning tickets, he did not furnish any sort of evidence of his net winnings.
Gorodetsky played poker professionally for a short time before jumping full-bore into sports betting. According to TheHendonMob.com, he has $143,332 in live tournament earnings, most of which came from a 10th place finish in a high roller event at the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.
Cover photo credit: @bigrobstyle on Instagram