Billy Walters has been described by odds-makers in Nevada as a Great White Shark; the most dangerous and feared sports bettor in the world.
For four decades, Walters amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from sports betting, mostly on American Football and Basketball.
He simply loves betting, one time he won $400k on a hole in golf, and $1m on a round.
His story is quite incredible when you take into account that his family was dirt poor and his mother an alcoholic.
Billy’s dad was a professional poker player and his uncle a professional bettor, so by the age of nine, when he made his first proper bet, it was no real surprise.
Six years later and at the age of fifteen, Walters made $5k playing Pool.
But he wasn’t always a winner, recounting at least fifteen times where he came home to tell one of his two previous wives they’d have to move after losing his home on a bet. His second wife also ended up leaving him for his excessive gambling, if only she knew…
At the age of 25, he estimated that he’d lost a total of $50,000!
He then moved to Kentucky where he started his own car dealership and bookmaking services - the latter is illegal in that jurisdiction.
He was fined $1,000 for his illegal activities, to which he decided to leave Kentucky and start what would finally be some success in the betting world.
Billy then moved to Las Vegas, where he started his own betting syndicate on the side, known as ACME Group Trading.
His information came from mathematicians who are experts in analysing the sport he’s betting on.
For example, he had a guy on the East Coast known as ‘The Reader’, who scans websites, blogs, newspapers and Twitter for information, which is then plugged into a computer with previous data.
All this data comes together with the assistance of a few algorithms and probability theories, eventually spitting out a line for the two teams.
He then hammered the line to where he wanted it, placing bets of $75k on a team to move the line one way, just so he can smash the other team’s with a bet of $250k!
Walters also used anonymous people, one of them referred to as ‘Wolfman’, to place his bets for him.
It has been rumoured that some of those bet placers were celebrities like Bruce Willis, Floyd Mayweather and Ashton Kutcher.
Billy also had close connections with many important college coaches, to which he relied on for inside information.
Most days he normally had $2m at risk which sounds ludicrous, but he only had one losing year in over four decades.
Reports suggest that he averaged $15m in profit every year from betting on sports, which led to a number of lawsuits against him.
Great speculation surrounded Billy’s success and from the mid-1980’s until 2002, he and some of his associates faced several indictments for money laundering, conspiracy and illegal transmission of wagering information.
Walter’s and his co-defendants were acquitted of all of the above.
On top of his legal issues, there was even a point where his own life was threatened by a mobster known as ‘The Ant’. Upon finding out about this, Billy fled Nevada and only returned once he heard he had died.
But his troubles with the law finally caught up to him, when in 2014 he faced fresh allegations of insider trading, leading to five-year prison sentence in 2017.
Essentially, the FBI discovered a friendship between Dean Food’s chairman Thomas Davis and Billy Walters (which Walters had shares in).
More so, famous golfer, Phil Mickelson, was in serious debt to Walters after a series of losing bets.
The allegations were that Walters gave Mickelson insider knowledge on Dean Food’s stocks and a way of making a quick profit to pay him back, to which he did after the shares sky-rocketed.
Thomas Davis pleaded guilty to the charge in exchange for a two year prison sentence, even though for the 21 months previous, Davis had maintained his innocence in interviews with the government and in sworn testimony, saying that he had never tipped Walters.
Billy has resided in a white-collar prison in Florida Panhandle for two years now, and has recently stated that his gambling career is over after earning himself an estimated worth of $200m.
He had an appeal thrown out in December, 2018, after Walters’ attorneys believed his conviction was unconstitutionally tainted by several leaks from an FBI agent before his trial.
Worst case scenario, Billy is scheduled to be released from prison on February 14, 2022, at the age of 75.
Check out our other articles in the 10 People Who Got Rich On Sports Betting series:
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