Before the repeal of PAPSA, the entire American sports betting industry could be summed up in one word: Vegas.
Since 1997, VegasInsider has embodied the quintessential bettor. In the 90s, that was the Vegas wise guy who knew every line and who every sportsbook manager knew by name. Now, it remains a credible source of sports betting information but the image of the Vegas Insider is now someone price shopping on apps and scrolling Twitter for the latest news from the NFL preseason.
In the nascent market of US betting, VegasInsider is an institution, but it is certainly not a museum. Chris David, the SVP of Marketing and Operations for VegasInsider recognizes the need to grow and innovate, but he is also deeply connected to the history of the site. Hired in 2001 as a producer, David has worked and grown along with VegasInsider.
VegasInsider remains committed to sports betting information
The site’s old mission statement was to be the worldwide leader in sports betting information. David conceded the vision has changed a bit, but providing information and education remains core to how VegasInsider operates.
“I think that’s changed a little bit for us now we focus more on the odds and the information from a content perspective. I want to inform and entertain, you know, a little bit of both,” David explained.
Enter Tom Carroll. He joined the VegasInsider team full-time this year and now serves as the site’s Media Manager. In his role, Carroll creates a blend of infotainment through a variety of podcasts and videos.
“You can’t just read numbers at someone aimlessly, because they’re gonna get lost unless they went to MIT. And you can’t just go out here and make a bunch of jokes, because that’s not why people are coming to us,” he said. “They want to make money, betting on sports. So if you can marry those two, and you can get people to stick around and build a community, like a lot of sports media brands on the traditional side have been able to do, if we can harness that and do it in the sports gambling space, I think it’s such a green area in sports media, even still, only a few years into this thing that we can get some real real estate.”
New VegasInsider shows balance info and entertainment
This football season, Carroll and his team are rolling out two new programs, one airing daily at 11am ET and another that caters to pregame crowd at 6pm.
The former, Chasing That Paper, is hosted by Joe Osborne with rotating guest hosts like Iain MacMillan from BetSided, Stephanie Smalls from Champions Round, and Devin Walker from MTV’s The Challenge. The show will take an actionable but irreverent look at the world of betting with the entertainment aspect in the foreground.
The evening program, Down to the Wire, is a more betting-forward affair hosted by Kevin Rogers. As bettors lock in their choices in the minutes before tip-off or kickoff, the show will help them with the latest info and offer insights from the stable of VegasInsider experts.
Patrick Everson joining VegasInsider as Senior Reporter
One of those experts will be Patrick Everson, who just joined the team. Everson brings a strong social media following and a reputation for being on top of what is happening at every book in Las Vegas.
“Now we actually have a Vegas Insider. He’s going to bring authenticity to Vegas, and I can’t wait,” David said. “No one does the content that he does. He’s on the ground getting access action reports, big bets from Las Vegas, like six-figure seven-figure bets, producing content live from sportsbooks. We think that is unique.”
The name may say Insider, but both Carroll and David are adamant that what sports betting needs more of is acceptance. Bringing people in who are interested and bet on their own terms is an important part of the site’s approach.
“We want to be the people that you can come into the bar, have a beer with you. You could offer up your opinion and we’re gonna listen to it. And whether we agree or disagree, we’re gonna wish you luck,” David said. “That’s the thing about sports betting I like–you develop your own tools, whatever works for you. The worst thing is, some people are ruthless, and some do people not understand it’s all of us versus the sportsbook?”
A sports betting community with no outsiders
Instead of lecturing 22-leg parlay winners on why those bets are negative EV, David and his team are there to celebrate winners regardless of how they managed to win. That doesn’t just go for bettors, either. The arms-open approach is one David takes with collaboration too, which is unusual in the often cutthroat affiliate space.
“What I think we do that differentiates ourselves from the competition similar to ours is we bring on everybody, anybody, even people from our competition. You know, ESPN won’t have anybody else on there from other sites or other products or anything like that, but we welcome it. We understand that it’s a large pie. Gambling is huge, and it’s growing. And if we feel you’re an expert and you can help our show, and then we can introduce your users to our users and etc, then have at it! Welcome in. And Tom’s done a great job with that.”
VegasInsider made a name as an odds aggregator, which is still a core component of the site. What is changing is the audience. The content is not only for someone who places one bet a week. It is not for the “weekend warriors” either, as David calls them. VegasInsider proudly goes after the bettors who seek action every day. While that may not sound like the most inclusive approach, the team is confident the population of regular, avid bettors is big and only growing bigger.
“That’s the thing that’s most important for us as a company to recognize. As this becomes more and more legal across the country, more and more sports fans are going to be introduced to this in a real way. And they’re going to want to know, hey, how do I get in the mix on this? I watch the NBA every night, I watch baseball, I watch the NFL, I can make money watching these games,” Carroll said. “And all I have to do is follow your advice. Of course, you know, you’re not going to hit every single bet. And once people are introduced to sports betting, they’ll figure that out very soon, right? No one is an expert at this right away but sports are such a part of the fabric of this country and as sports gambling becomes more legal, we can become a part of that fabric, which is exciting.”
VegasInsider persists as a recognizable brand precisely because it isn’t intent on preaching from on high or gatekeeping sports betting from those who don’t do it the “right way”. The site hopes that by ensuring sports betting is a place with no outsiders, it can maintain its role as a major information hub for old and new bettors alike.