Sports | October 11, 2017 5:00 am

What It’s Like Inside a Las Vegas Sports Betting Syndicate

ESPN reporter gets front-row access to trio of high rollers on a Sunday during the NFL season.

Travel to any sports book in Las Vegas, and you’ll realize in mere seconds just how many types of bets you can make—and how much money there is to win. Of course, not everyone there is raking in the dough, but sports books are where a certain kind of professional high-roller and gambler thrives. These aren’t the same guys you see at the penny slots. These are the real degenerates, the lifers.

Now, take that image of the glitzy interior of the Wynn sports book and reduce it to a fairly nondescript room, where three thirty-somethings are sitting in front of computers and TVs, making bets on innumerable games and devices on a Sunday morning. That’s where ESPN‘s David Purdum found himself recently, embedded in a sports betting syndicate in Henderson, Nevada, about a half hour from the Vegas strip.

RealClearLife has teased out some of the coolest facts from Purdum’s feature below.

-One of the syndicate’s members, Dan Thompson, admits that he doesn’t know all that much about sports. “I’m more interested in working out formulas in Excel. That’s the life of a true professional sports bettor.”

-During football season, the syndicate works 70 hours per week. This includes Saturdays for college football, and Thursdays/Sundays/Mondays for the NFL (Sundays being the busiest).

-Notes syndicate member Jason Garrett (not the Dallas Cowboys’ coach): “It would be easier if we all had jobs and this was just to make a little extra money on the side and we were betting $500 units, but trying to make a living, we’ve got to bet bigger.”

-In a normal few weeks or so, the syndicate can bet as much as $2 million, targeting a number of on- and offshore sports books.

-A sports-betting syndicate like the one the trio of players runs in the feature is only legal in Nevada at the moment.

-Says Thompson of the pro gambler lifestyle: “When I meet someone, a professional poker player or sports bettor, and I ask them if they’d recommend it to someone, the guys who say, ‘No. Absolutely not,’ I think, ‘OK, you probably win.’”