Wide World Of Gambling: Misplaced Media Attention, A Millionaire Craps Out, Pulling For A Poker Icon

This week: a poker legend looking for his 'one time,' the Ricketts family contradiction, and a former NBCUniversal exec losing $100 million.
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It was another news-filled week in the world of gambling.

In this installment of a weekly roundup from US Bets, we’re giving you a rundown of some of the more interesting new nuggets from the world of sports betting and beyond.

Also be sure to check out Sports Handle for its weekly news recap, “Get a Grip.”

Sports betting in ‘a very dangerous spot’?

Some people in the sports betting industry aren’t fans of how much attention some types of wagers receive in the media. Usually, large parlays and massive six-figure bets receive a lot of digital ink. It’s not challenging to understand why, as the spectacle of the high roller is hard to look away from.

Is this a problem? Some think so, because it could apparently lead to problematic betting behavior. The same could be applied to the poker boom, and the gambling highway is lined with would-be poker careers that broke down and never got back on track. Still, gambling in whatever form can always be entertainment, it’s just up to the industry to promote it that way while also covering the stories that are best for clickbait.

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Guy with boatloads of money loses boatloads of money

A very rich person with a likely gambling problem … we’ve seen it many times before and we’ll see it again.  That doesn’t mean the sordid details of the gambling sessions aren’t going to continue capturing our interest.

Former NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer reportedly blew over $100 million gambling over several years, with The Daily Mail reporting that sources considered him one of the biggest whales at craps in the history of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The details of the gambling came to light after an affair he was having was exposed, and now he’s reportedly facing potential financial difficulties due to his lifestyle.

Poker legend needs a ‘one time’

Mike Sexton, a pioneer of the poker industry, is battling cancer, and he isn’t expected to make it much longer. However, the game of poker, which Sexton helped build, is known for its miracle cards on the river that change everything. Sexton is looking for that “one time,” with many in the poker world rooting for him to survive and recover from the deadly illness.

Sports betting a ‘racket,’ says long-time Vegas bookmaker

South Point casino bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro, a four-decade-plus veteran of the sports gambling industry, is known for posting photos of tickets of huge wagers he’s taken. Vaccaro, often called a “bookie’s bookie,” isn’t shy about giving insights into the industry on his popular Twitter account.

Vaccaro this week referred to his sportsbook as a “racket,” which is an interesting word choice given its connotation as an illegal or dishonest scheme for obtaining money. Obviously sports betting is legal, but props to Vaccaro for saying the quiet part out loud: The casino isn’t your friend and it is a scheme, but who says you can’t have some fun partaking even with the knowledge that the book is scheming against you?

Are they really related?

Is the super wealthy Ricketts family going to have an awkward family Thanksgiving this year? Probably not, but they sure are chock full of contradictions. This week, it was announced that the Chicago Cubs franchise, owned by several members of the Ricketts family, will feature a sportsbook at Wrigley Field, a project allowed under state sports betting law.

The irony here is that Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a member of the clan, said just this summer that legal gambling is a terrible idea. Gov. Ricketts was speaking in opposition to expanding gambling in his state, which he could oppose for all sorts of reasons, some of which he might not make public. Still, with how public the governor is with an anti-gambling message, it’s ironic what his siblings are all in for.

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