Wednesday was a terrible day for sports betting.
Mike Colbert, race and sportsbook director at Cantor Gaming, was arrested and faces enterprise corruption, money laundering and conspiracy charges. There will be a press conference today at 11 a.m. ET in New York, and there is no shortage of speculation and theories about what has happened, why it happened, and what will happen in the days, weeks and months to come.
Frankly, few people in the industry are surprised that Cantor’s operation, and Colbert in particular, were under suspicion. There was too much confidence, too much arrogance, and in the end, maybe too much greed.
Colbert is innocent until proven guilty, of course, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting the matter does not involve Cantor Gaming. But how can it not? Colbert has spent the last three years working at Cantor’s flagship location, The M Resort (pictured above), a place that takes the biggest bets in town and houses some of the sharpest gamblers in the world.
Those of us who monitor the industry and keep tabs on it will continue to do so to see how this case shakes out. But many, many more will not. Instead, they’ll only read the headlines.
- “Cantor Gaming sports book director arrested, faces eight charges”
- “Wall Street Sports-Betting Boss Was Arrested In Las Vegas”
- “Sportsbook manager, 7 others, busted”
They’ll see the name. Mike Colbert. “Hey, I recognize that name. He is referenced constantly by media sources in the industry and I’ve heard his name numerous times—on ESPN, radio shows and in various newspapers.”
They’ll see the company. Cantor Gaming. “Hey, I recognize that name. They sponsor a sports betting show in Las Vegas, they had a representative at the MIT Conference, and they take some of the biggest bets in the world.”
They’ll see the location. Las Vegas. “Hey, I thought the sportsbook operations in that town were regulated, honest and above board; that the shadiness was confined to the underground bookies in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago.”
These people will draw conclusions. “Sports betting is corrupt—everywhere,” they might say.
As New Jersey fights to legalize sports betting in its state, and as others throughout the country put together plans to do the same, these types of stories won’t help drum up additional support.
Instead, they’ll only help feed the negative stereotypes that have been hurting the industry since the beginning of time.