Biographical information on Billy Walters
NAME: William “Billy” WALTERS
AGE, BIRTHPLACE: 67; Munfordville, Kentucky
CAREER: Legendary gambler. Lost paper route money betting that the New York Yankees would win the 1955 World Series, according to a profile on the gambling website 777.com. Started hustling pool, then golf — beating some of the richest people in Las Vegas. Pioneered use of computers in sports betting in the mid-1980s with a group of bettors dubbed The Computer Group. One of few bettors who can move point spreads if other gamblers know what side he is on. His story is told (using the pseudonym “Big Daddy” Matthews) in Michael Konik’s 2006 book “The Smart Money.”
FEATS: Told TV news magazine “60 Minutes” in 2011 that he has never had a losing year gambling. Once made a 40-foot (12-meter) putt worth $400,000. Teamed up with touring pro Fredrik Jacobson to win the 2008 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by 10 strokes playing with an 11 handicap. Once lost $2 million on a single bet, according to Golf Digest.
COMPETITIVE EDGE: In pre-Internet days, he would have newspapers flown into Las Vegas from all around the country so he could get the latest news on sports teams and injuries. “Back in those days, being able to read papers from small towns that colleges were located in was a competitive advantage,” he told the gambling website Covers.
CONTROVERSY: Walters and other Computer Group members were indicted for running what prosecutors called an illegal bookmaking operation but were acquitted in 1987. Indicted on money laundering charges in 1998, but charges were dismissed and $2.8 million confiscated from his safe deposit box returned.
BUSINESSES: Owns car dealerships and golf courses, including the Bali Hai golf course on the Las Vegas Strip.