Gadoon “Spanky” Kyrollos, a sharp bettor based in New Jersey, has a team of analysts that look at all contests and decide which ones are beatable. Kyrollos’ clients get their recommendations and he decides on the bets he will place, but it’s mostly at offshore books that accept his action. Kyrollos also runs a conference on sports betting, this year being held at Circa in Las Vegas August 8-12, where the first inductees into the Sports Gambling Hall of Fame will be announced. He spoke with GGB Publisher Roger Gros from his home in New Jersey in June. To hear a full version of this podcast, visit GGBMagazine.com.
GGB: What is the most lucrative sport to bet on?
Kyrollos: For us it’s college basketball, just because of the sheer number of games. The bookmaker can’t keep up. He has to make a line on every single college basketball game on a college basketball Saturday, anywhere from 100 to 130 games. And then you have a side, a total and a money line on all those games, so there’s a lot of betting options, and the bookmaker has to put up a number on every one of them. As the bettor, my disadvantage is having to lay 11 to 10, but my advantage is I get to choose with my sniper rifle, which is exactly what bet I’m going to place.
How much has sports betting changed for you since it was legalized in the U.S.?
In the regulated markets in the last several years, I’ve been pretty much been kicked out of everywhere, unfortunately. So it really hasn’t changed much for me. Most of my action is still bet primarily offshore. That being said, we still have a couple of U.S. sites we use. It’s just unfortunate that I have to rely on beards or guys that bet in disguise, pretending that they’re betting for themselves, but I’m their partner. There’s no such thing as me as Spanky going to a sportsbook anymore. They’ll show me the door. However, if you have somebody that just looks like a regular guy and they’re betting, that’s a different story. So it’s a cat-and-mouse game that you have to do. It’s a shame that’s the case, but that’s just the current environment as it stands.
Some of the legal bookmakers have changed their lines and their limits for people like you. How do you feel about that?
I’m in New Jersey, and some of the laws in New Jersey say you can’t completely kick out a customer, but by limiting him to a $1.36 bet you’re essentially showing him the door. Unlike all the other games in casinos, there is no minimum or maximum bet at legal sportsbooks—they don’t have those posted. Why? Because they don’t treat every customer the same way, and that’s sad. Circa Sports in Las Vegas is one of the few exceptions to that rule where they actually have posted limits, and they’ll give those limits to everybody.
What was the motivation for you to start Betbash?
The first Betbash took place in Jersey City in 2021, at the tail end of the pandemic. It was kind of an itch I needed to scratch, and something that I wanted to do personally. So I didn’t have any intention of making Betbash profitable business. I just wanted to set up a sports betting conference because nobody else was doing it. This was like a proof of concept, and 220 people showed up from all over the country, (plus) Canada and overseas. Last year’s program was even more successful, and we have high hopes for the 2023 Betbash.
Last year at Betbash, you made the statement that sports betting providers are not your enemy. They can be and often are your friends. How can that be?
Some of my best friends are my bookmakers in the offshore world, and I beat them consistently. But they’re able to utilize my information to make more money. So if they pay me X, but they make X plus Y, why would they be upset? A lot of the legal bookmakers in North America, their goal is to beat each and every single player. They think that’s the idea. We have to beat and make money off every player directly. But they don’t understand that it’s OK for a certain number of players to beat you, to be able to make your line sharper, and then to be able to allow yourself to grow your handle, and write more business. You might hold less, but you’d make more money in the long run.