BetBash 2 Brings Bookmakers, Bettors Together In Las Vegas

Spanky and Captain Jack Andrews at Bet Bash 2

LAS VEGAS – Three thousand meetings in one room in under two hours. That’s what took place Saturday morning here at Bet Bash 2, a gathering of professional bettors, bookmakers, data scientists, digital product specialists, and entrepreneurs, designed to do exactly that: bring folks from the sports community together to make new connections, exchange ideas, and catch up with old acquaintances.

Saturday’s Speed Networking at The D Casino & Hotel featured about 200 industry professionals paired up for 15 seven-minute one-on-one meet-and-greets. It was really the essence of the four-day Bet Bash, the second version of an event conceived by pro sports bettor Gadoon “Spanky” Kyrollos. Spanky believes in enhancing the sports ecosystem and improving the sometimes contentious relationship between bookmaker and bettor.

The original Bet Bash took place last August in Jersey City on a much smaller scale. BetBash 2 is jampacked with opportunities to network, learn, and even let loose and have some fun.

Here’s what else it has had to offer.

Friday Night Check-In

Attendees signed in Friday night at The D’s Bar Canada, taking in NBA and NHL action over a few cocktails and of course sweating some bets.

Among those spotted in the crowd: South Point sports director Chris Andrews, pro bettors Captain Jack Andrews, Rufus Peabody, Rob Pizzola, and Jason Winegarner, Matt Buchalter of +EV Analytics fame, a crew from Play Up sportsbook led by VP of Product Joe Rodgers and new Head of Wagering Rex Beyers, industry analyst Alfonso Straffon, and Sports Hall of Famer Joe Brennan.

Science of Sports Seminar

After Speed Networking on Saturday, professors Harry Crane and Philip Maymin and Buchalter, an insurance actuary who applies his mathematical expertise to sports betting, led a breakout seminar on the science of sports betting. Attendees learned concepts such as how to find value in alternate lines, when it’s worth trying to “middle” a point spread, and how long it takes a quantitative handicapper to find a statistical edge.

Pretty high-level stuff that goes beyond the thought process of a typical casual gambler. The 30 or so students in the classroom are trying to become better sports bettors, even forgoing the first half of the Villanova-Kansas semifinal in their effort to improve.

The seminar was just a taste of the Masters of Sports program offered by Crane, Maymin, and Buchalter. At the conclusion of Saturday’s class, Crane announced the launch of The Journal of Sports Betting to be edited and published by Researchers.One, which Crane describes on his website as “a decentralized research platform for peer review, scholarly publication, community building and research dissemination.”

Final Four Watch Party At Stadium Swim

BetBash attendees gathered at Circa Resort & Casino’s Stadium Swim, an outdoor sportsbook experience that must be seen to be believed, to soak in some sun, maybe take a dip, tip back a few cocktails, and watch the Jayhawks cover the 4-point spread against the Wildcats and then North Carolina’s upset over archrival Duke.

Legendary bookmakers Roxy Roxborough, Richie Baccellieri, and Adam Bjorn, and ESPN’s Doug Kezirian were among the crowd.

Next Up

Sunday features a lineup of expert panels at The D. The topics:

  • Ethics in Sports
  • The Art of Bookmaking
  • Stardust Memories (the Stardust was the Las Vegas casino that really spawned the town’s sports culture)
  • The Art of Sports

There are additional breakout seminars on horse race analytics and blackjack, and on Sunday night, there’s a cocktail party at the Legacy Club on the Circa rooftop.

The Bookie Bettor Breakfast comes Monday morning, with tables featuring pro sports bettors, experts, and bookmakers. Then there’s another meet-up at Mega Bar at Circa and a poker seminar, and the festivities culminate with a Championship Game Watch Party at Circa Sportsbook.

We’ll have more later from this fantastic industry event.

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Michael Perry

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