With Five Inductees Announced, Who Else Should Be in the Sports Gambling Hall of Fame?

  • The Sports Gambling Hall of Fame will induct its first ten members
  • The ceremony is set for August 11 at Circa Las Vegas during Bet Bash
  • Five inductees have been confirmed, five more are still to be chosen
Closeup of pen on betting odds sheet
Five of the ten members of the first class of the Sports Gambling Hall of Fame have been named. Let’s look at some names that could make up the other five. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A new Hall of Fame

On August 11, the first ten members of the Sports Gambling Hall of Fame will be inducted at Circa Las Vegas. The ceremony is set to be the “capstone event” of Bet Bash, a networking event for the professional sports betting industry.

Not to be confused with the Sports Betting Hall of Fame run by Sports Betting Legal (SBL), the Sports Gambling Hall of Fame has a wide remit. Each year, up to five living gamblers will be admitted to the Hall of Fame, along with up to five in memoriam.

So far, five of this year’s inductees have been selected, which raised the question of who else should join them.

Rules for nominees

The idea of the Sports Gambling Hall of Fame is, according to the Hall’s own guidelines, “to recognize and honor those individuals who have notably transformed the sports gambling industry.”

These can be bettors, bookmakers, oddsmakers, and “other individuals” that meet the standard of having had a “material impact” on the world of sports betting.

up to five living gamblers will be admitted to the Hall of Fame, along with up to five in memoriam

Living nominees must not have committed a gambling-related crime in the last ten years or be in the Nevada Black Book (a central list of people banned from all Nevada casinos). Bookmaker nominees also must not have operated in unregulated markets in the last ten years.

Beyond that, more or less, anything goes. For example, one of the in memoriam nominees this year is mobster Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, best known in pop culture circles as the basis for Robert DeNiro’s character in the film Casino.

2023 inductees to the Sports Gambling Hall of Fame

  • Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal: (in memoriam) professional sports bettor, casino executive, and associate of the Chicago Outfit.
  • Bob Martin: (in memoriam) a respected Vegas oddsmaker for decades.
  • Jackie Gaughan: (in memoriam) casino owner and the first person to put a (legal) sports book inside a Nevada casino.
  • William T. “Billy” Walters: (living): with a 30-year winning streak, he is known as one of the most successful sports gamblers of all time. His time in prison for insider trading wasn’t gambling related, so he can get on the list without shuffling off his mortal coil first.
  • Michael Roxy Roxborough: (living) noted oddsmaker who is credited with bringing computer models into the oddsmaking business.

Who else should join the list?

There are still three slots going for the quick and two for the dead. Who should fill them?

Well, since crime doesn’t exclude you from this hallowed hall, Bugsy Seigel seems like a plausible candidate.

The rules don’t say that the individual has to have “transformed the industry” in a positive way, so Arnold Rothstein—known as the “The Brain” and for being the brain behind the 1919 World Series scandal—could make the cut.

Some other highly successful professional sports bettors could make the cut. People like Tony “The Lizard” Bloom, Bill Benter, and Haraloubos Voulgaris might make their way in this year.

However, given the industry focus and Nevada-chauvinism shown so far, it seems likely that the remaining slots will fill up slowly with Las Vegas bookies, execs, and industry innovators.

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