This story is part of a Sports Handle miniseries looking at sports bettors across the country: Regular Joes who bet recreationally or semi-recreationally, most of them in the black market at some point. Some have families, and jobs in accounting, law, journalism and other fields. Several of our subjects asked to remain anonymous. (Part I with the NYC attorney here and Part II with the D.C. healthcare professional here.)
“Alex” is a 42-year-old entrepreneur who lives New Jersey with his wife and two young children. Besides sports betting, Alex dabbles in crypto, marijuana and deep-fried hot dogs.
Though he lives in New Jersey, one of the first states to legalize and launch sports betting, he still bets with a bookie or an offshore app.
How long have you been actively sports betting? I’ve been betting on sports for over 20 years. During my college years at [University in the Midwest], my fraternity had a resident bookie, which was a plus.
How much do you bet and how often? I’m not opposed to betting a few dimes on a play if the situation and data supports the play. I’m a nickel and dime player.
What are your favorite sport(s) to bet on? Hands down, the NFL would be my favorite sport to bet on. Due to my portfolio of teams competing in high stakes fantasy football contests, I require myself to watch every NFL game each week.
What is your favorite sport and/or team? Do you bet on it often or stay away from it? I grew up a Mets, Jets, and New Jersey Nets fan. I could honestly care less how any of these teams do, and have no hesitation placing a wager on or against any of these teams.
Where do you make your bets (mobile app/computer/sportsbook)? All of my bets are placed on computer/mobile app. If I’m making a trip to Rutt’s Hut for a “Ripper” [deep-fried hot dog], I may stop by The Meadowlands, but that happens just once a month.
How do you handicap games? All my wagers are driven by supporting data.
What was your biggest sports betting win and biggest loss? In terms of ROI, my biggest win was my [top 20] finish in the [recent] Las Vegas Westgate SuperContest. Finished the year nearly 64%.
In the past, have you used an offshore sportsbook or local bookie? I have always used a local bookie. Until sportsbooks give out credit, I see no reason to change.
What do you make of the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and recent developments, such as FOX Sports working on its own sportsbook? I think many new gamblers are in for a rude awakening. Making money over a sustained period of time is something that is very difficult to achieve. Most people that are recreational gamblers are total action junkies which is a recipe for disaster. Also, the companies that are taking the action are mostly multi-billion dollar companies whose business models are for profit. They have sharp lines and sharper people setting the lines.
Do you gamble in any other way? Such as casino games, lottery? If so, how often? No.
Do you or have you in the past participated in daily fantasy sports? If so, what sport, how often? I don’t play DFS. My thing is season long fantasy football. I have tons of respect for those that have succeeded in DFS and have been able to build businesses off of their DFS success.
Anything you’d like to add? Just the other day, I was talking to my neighbor who was telling me about this [handicapper] that was 34-0 this season in baseball. My neighbor told me he paid ONLY $150 for the rest of the MLB season plays from this capper. I knew my neighbor had been scammed or maybe he got lucky and found a unicorn.
My point is that for every 100 people that know this was a scam before purchasing the picks, there are literally thousands of new bettors in the marketplace that can’t identify this scam. With the expansion of sports gambling across the country, scammers have been given a huge pool of uneducated customers to prey on. I hope one day we see a collective tracking system that accurately monitors all touts and helps protect the millions of vulnerable bettors entering the market with making informed decisions.