Billy Walters Praises Transparency of Legal Sports Betting on Joe Rogan’s Podcast

Legendary gambler says 'there’s probably more transparency in betting today than there ever has been,' on popular podcast.

Feb 26, 2024 • 14:44 ET • 4 min read
Joe Rogan podcast
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“The good thing about legalized sports betting is it’s so transparent.”

Billy Walters, considered one of the most successful American sports bettors of all time, talked about the growth of legal sports betting in the U.S., his book, and his life’s story on the "Joe Rogan Experience."

The most important thing in sports betting is …

“... At the end of the day, whether you’re a casino or whether you’re a bettor, the integrity of sports is the most important thing in the world to you,” Walters said.

He discussed the importance of integrity in sports betting at length after Rogan asked how much he thinks refs are involved in fixing games. 

The legendary gambler referenced the point shaving scandal by the 1994 Arizona State basketball team and how professional handicappers and bookmakers helped foil that scheme. 

“Gamblers. People betting sports and bookmakers [are] the ones that made the law enforcement aware of these things,” he said.

Walters even asserted that he called the head of the Nevada Gaming Control Board at the time, Steve DuCharme, about suspicious betting activity occurring on a number of Arizona State basketball games which helped spur an investigation. 

It’s not just a matter of principle for Billy though, it’s about business.

"Anything that involves the integrity of sports, they’re affecting my business," he said. "If people get to where they don’t trust betting on sports, then the limits are going to go down and it’s going to reduce my ability to bet on sports."

Walters praised the proliferation of legal sports betting throughout the country and is proud of how far the industry has come. 

“The good thing that’s going on today is there’s probably more transparency in betting today than there ever has been," he said.

Walters believes there is hardly any fraudulent activity out there because of this transparency, and noted how online sports betting sites can track and trace every transaction and keep a log on every player. 

“I know how transparent the market is, and if someone goes in to try to fix a game, it’s so obvious and so easy to detect,” he said.

He pointed out the number of high-profile cases against improper betting activities by college athletes as an example of how easy it is to pull out the bad weeds in the system. 

Stating his case

Transparency and integrity are two interesting traits to hone in on for someone who spent 31 months in federal prison for insider trading charges. This naturally came up, and Walters spent a great portion of the interview expressing his perspective on the matter. 

“The higher profile you have, the bigger target you become, especially if you’re someone who’s beat ‘em a number of times,” he said.

Walters had been indicted a number of times including in 1990 when the FBI took him and his wife out of their home in Vegas “with leg irons on her” and charged them with criminal conspiracy to bet on sports. He and his wife were exonerated of all charges in that case, and the three other times he was indicted for sports betting charges, those cases were also thrown out of court. 

It was an insider trading allegation stemming from his investments in Dean Foods that eventually did him in though. He went into incredible detail about exactly why he was convicted and how there were, in the views he formed after “sitting in prison thinking about this for 31 months,” tremendous gaps in the prosecution’s facts and credibility. He even insinuated that the people who actually put him behind bars used that as their claim to fame en route to advancing careers in law and politics.

He also talked about Phil Mickelson’s involvement in the case, who was also accused of capitalizing on insider information pertaining to Dean Foods, and how Lefty “emphatically denied” that Walters ever gave him such information. 

His testimony during the podcast sheds light into the case that ultimately led to his imprisonment, and his paying of $45 million in fines and restitution plus another $9 million in attorneys fees. 

Life of a gambler

Walters insisted that a lot of good came from his imprisonment though, and said it was a major motivation for writing his book: “Gambler: Secrets From a Life at Risk.”

In this book, he goes into detail about his upbringing in Kentucky where he racked pool balls at his Uncle Harry’s pool hall, his betting system that has earned him hundreds of millions of dollars in winnings, and even his struggles with alcohol and gambling addictions. 

He said he wants this book “to help people because I don’t care who you are or what point you’re at in your life, we all have issues we’re dealing with.”

Of the proceeds from the book, he said 100% goes to a number of charities that work with helping prisoners transition back into society and that work with intellectually challenged people.

The book also includes a great deal of information about his famous betting system. The 77-year-old wanted to share what he called “his legacy” with the ever-growing population of bettors placing legal sports wagers. 

“I would not have sold that information 10 years ago for $20 million,” he said.

And through it all, Walters still finds passion for sports betting.

"I only bet on sports, Joe, today, (because) I love it," he said. "If I didn’t have a passion for it, I couldn’t do it. But I still win and have an advantage. If I get to a point that I don’t have that advantage, I’ll quit."

And although he admitted that he’s no longer spending $6-$8 million per year on research and development to maintain that edge, he’s still confident making a “small bet” of nearly $1 million on the Chiefs to win Super Bowl LVIII, a bet that certainly paid off a few weeks ago. 

In closing out the interview, Rogan said that Billy’s life has been a series of memorable experiences. Walters agreed. 

"One thing about it Joe, I got my money’s worth," he said. "If it were all to end tomorrow, I didn’t get short-changed."

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