Steve Budin, Offshore Gambling Pioneer, Comments on Toledo Point Shaving Scandal
May 14, 2009 – 11:45 am by Bunk
Two former University of Toledo football players named in a sports point-shaving scandal were arraigned Wednesday in federal court in Detroit. The indictment alleges that area businessmen were paying football and basketball players at the Ohio school to shave points off of games since late in 2004 through this year. Steve Budin, author of Bets, Drugs and Rock & Roll, and one of the godfather’s of the offshore gaming industry, joined KFXX in Portland to talk about the sports gambling industry.
On just how prevalent Budin thinks this problem may be in college sports:
“They estimate it at 5% of all games, but I think it’s much higher than that. When you have a situation where the players, they don’t get paid, in the smaller schools they’re not going into the NBA, they’re not going in to some major career. They come from humble backgrounds. And we see from the reports that they’re getting bribed for $1,000, $500 in some cases. With those numbers how can you not bribe players.”
How exactly does the whole transaction take place?
“In every scenario there’s a go-between guy between the money guys and the players and that’s usually an ex-player. That’s the way it was back in the ’50s and ’60s. You know, my father was notoriously involved in that which we talk about in the book. So these ex-players go through very familiar guys – guys that know them, guys that idolize them, guys that they know were formerly in the program and feel comfortable with them. The way it works with college guys these days – they can’t even accept a dinner without being scrutinized, let alone sign secret deals, get salaries, or have any sort of compensation.
So in this Toledo case, they went ahead and paid them not to lose the games, but instead of winning by 13 and covering the spread, they win by six or seven. So in the end, they went cold when they were up by 20 and the lead went down to 7, it was undetectable as any more than the team getting lazy at the end because they knew the game was not in doubt. That’s why these things are undetectable without wiretaps.”
On whether or not Vegas is aware of when a fix is happening:
“Vegas knows that the fix is in period. They don’t have to know when it is or where it is. Looked at what happened to Vegas over the last ten years. Vegas used to be a town ten years ago that I used to be able to roll into with a suitcase of hundred dollar bills and bet $30-$40,000 on a college game. Now, I can bet $2,000 on a game until they recognize me, then I can bet $1,000 on a game. That’s the kind of town Vegas is now. So now, you got to send your money offshore, which quite frankly, mostly Americans do.”
If you’re a craps player losing hundreds of grand playing craps with them – they’ll let you bet $20k on a game even if you’re taking the best of them. It’s an accommodation. But if me or you just walk into the Mirage with a suitcase and try to bet $20,000 on a college game – no way. They’ll take two, maybe three. Pro, they’ll take a little more, but not really. $5,000 maximum bet on the NBA. In the Finals, maybe $10,000. But that’s it, they don’t want a big bet in Vegas anymore. Not in that business. It’s been a long time. Now, the line is made, manipulated and orchestrated offshore. So now, you have the top tier of offshore books taking the bets, and those are the books that are making the lines, change the lines, and everyone is following them. But look, Vegas is not in the sports book business. They are in the slot machine business.”
On how large a % of sports viewers on television are gamblers:
“I would say that 70% of viewership has some sort of action on the games and when you go to Monday Night Football where you can factor out a lot of the kids who are already sleeping on the East Coast, I would say you’re up in the 80% range. Now, when you get to the 4th quarter of that Monday Night Football Game and one team is up by 20; and the only thing in doubt is the total, there’s no decision about the game, I say close to 99% of the viewers are gamblers that have either the over or the under and are waiting to see if they covered.”
Listen here to Budin on KFXX in Portland
Tags: KFXX, Steve Budin, Toledo Point Shaving Scandal
May 15, 2009: Sports Radio Interviews » Blog Archive » Deleware Governor On State’s Decision To Legalize Sports Gambling
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