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Sports Betting Titan English Dies

Sports Betting Titan English Dies

Sports betting legend John English died last month after a brief illness. English, a fixture at a multitude of domestic and international gaming conferences, had a lasting impact on the sports betting and greater casino industries.

English came to Nevada as a teenager from Buffalo, New York. At the time, Nevada was the only jurisdiction in the United States where sports betting was legal. As an avid sports fan and sports bettor, he took a hobby and turned it into an avocation. His passion for the game evolved and he sought to develop products and services that would not only enhance the sports betting experience but revolutionize the industry through innovation and technology.

One of English’s most innovative ideas was the development of one of Nevada’s first sports betting kiosks. This occurred in an era when Wi-Fi, and even wired internet, were still in their infancy, and internet communications still required a dial-up connection. He envisioned a system where a sports bettor could communicate with a betting terminal via a dial-up connection to a betting machine. He eventually presented a more robust concept and ultimately received approval for SBX, a stand-alone sports betting kiosk.

English joined American Wagering Incorporated (AWI) in 2009. AWI operated approximately 130 Leroy’s Sports Books across the state of Nevada. English envisioned how technology could bring the sports betting experience closer to the consumer.

At AWI, English started work on developing Nevada’s first mobile sports betting app.While there, he also served an integral role in the sale of AWI and the Leroy’s Sports Book brand to William Hill, the British bookmaker.

English’s expertise extended beyond sports betting. In fact, one of his most innovative ideas involved melding the concepts of lottery with electronic gaming. For example, he developed the Million Dollar Ticket. While lotteries were illegal in Nevada, there was an exception for a lottery-style bonus if it were made available through machine wagering. The Million Dollar Ticket brought life-altering jackpot bonuses to slot and video poker machines in Nevada taverns.

Once the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, other states introduced mobile and kiosk sports betting, and English’s concepts became ubiquitous in the products that Americans use today when making a sports bet.

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