The gambler’s high is like a rush; he feels invulnerable. That high lasts, though, only until the next big loss. Such is the story of Steve Budin, who created the first online sports betting company. Under the tutelage of his father, a legendary, old-school Miami bookmaker, and with the help of a cocaine-addicted polygamist, Budin revolutionized the shadowy business of spreads by taking them global.
But he also stuck to some tried and true methods, like plying clients with trips to Vegas, hookers, and hardcore drugs. In the end, Budin raked in hundreds of millions of dollars and stood on the verge of a deal worth billions more. He took bookmaking into an automated, virtual worldwide casino that anyone could access, anywhere and at any time. For anyone fascinated by the “wild West” that is internet gambling, here is a rare peek into that exciting, dangerous world.