Sports Betting HOF: Jay Kornegay and the Westgate SuperBook

Jay Kornegay

Jay Kornegay began his journey in the sports betting industry more than 25 years ago. He’s been integral to the establishment of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks across Nevada to building Westgate’s SuperBook into one of the premier betting destinations for both retail and online wagering.

Kornegay’s ability to navigate a dynamic sports betting industry throughout all of its changes while maintaining SuperBook’s status as one of the top places in the world to bet has earned him a coveted spot in the 2024 Sports Betting Hall of Fame.

The Colorado native was drawn to the sports betting industry following a trip to Las Vegas with college friends where he realized he could combine his passion for baseball and his newfound interest in sportsbooks into a career.

Kornegay was integral to the growth of Nevada’s gaming market with the establishment of the Imperial Palace sportsbook in 1989 before joining one of sports betting’s marquee bookmakers and brick-and-mortar facilities. 

Kornegay joined SuperBook in 2004 while under the operation of Las Vegas Hilton before the hotel and sportsbook underwent several ownership changes. In 2015, the property and SuperBook were acquired by Westgate in a deal valued at approximately $160 million. 

Since then, Kornegay has seen SuperBook solidify its footprint as not only one of Nevada’s top sportsbooks but an operator serving several jurisdictions across the country amid the expansion of online gaming following the overturning of PASPA nearly six years ago. 

“I never thought I’d see the day that SuperBook would be taking wagers in Tennessee, Ohio, and Maryland,” Kornegay tells SBC Americas. “That’s something that I get to take a step back from every once in a while and go ‘wow, this is really happening.’” 

Nevada’s storied gaming industry has also benefited from an influx of technological advancements, which have steadily trickled their way into a market that is known for its premier retail wagering experiences with more than 170 sportsbooks across the state. 

“Even though Las Vegas is one of the largest sports gaming markets, and the only one early on for the most part, the technology just never came to Nevada,’ continues Kornegay. “It was out there available overseas in Europe and Australia, it was just pricey for operators.”

SuperBook is one of the top retail sportsbooks in the world with over 350 seats across its more than 30,000-square-foot facility. Its large 4K Video wall keeps bettors engaged while offering user-friendly odds for customers who are both novice and experienced bettors. 

Operators, including SuperBook, are investing in additional technology to bolster their businesses and provide new ways to remain competitive in an expanding industry. 

“There are now different ways of doing things,” he says. “You have to take a step back and embrace it, learn about it, and see what you can do.” 

The new technology in Nevada, particularly in online operations, has provided seamless expansion capabilities while delivering marketing to patrons in other regulated markets. 

Implementing new technology and expanding into new markets has also come with growing pains even for SuperBook as operators compete in an arms race to acquire new customers.

“It’s also been very challenging because we are up against competitors that are spending a lot of resources toward their platforms and marketing their product,” notes Kornegay.

SuperBook’s online sportsbook provides bettors with wagering in the palm of their hand in nine states: Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and Nevada. It is also planning launches in Indiana and Louisiana

The operator offers a variety of betting markets, including the NFL, FIFA, UFC, MLB, NBA, and the NHL. SuperBook also provides users with dynamic odds boosts and parlay options. It is also planning to invest more in women’s sports as popularity and ratings continue their meteoric rise. SuperBook is always prepared for a round-the-clock modern sports schedule. 

“The sports schedule is challenging to operate,” says Kornegay. “But we book more games and offer more wagers at SuperBook on the regular schedule, along with adding more international sports.”  

The Colorado Rockies fan has helped build SuperBook into a world-renowned gaming brand as competition in the sports betting industry increases with the emergence of new operators and the continued expansion of well-established sportsbooks. Despite recent changes in the industry, SuperBook continues to resonate with sports bettors whether old or new. 

“The competition is very stiff but we’re up to the challenge with our experience, brand, and offerings, which are different from most others,” says Kornegay. “We’ll be just fine.” 

His optimism for SuperBook’s ability to navigate online and retail sports betting comes as more people are exposed to the industry creating more interest in Las Vegas gaming and unique wagering experiences amid previous cannibalization concerns by city casinos. 

“A lot of players want to come to Las Vegas sportsbooks,” he adds. “We had a nice spike in business soon after the introduction [of the post-PASPA era] because there weren’t that many Las Vegas-style venues across the country.”

Kornegay’s role at SuperBook has also provided him with rewarding experiences as the industry veteran has gone from a curious sports bettor to a mentor helping others navigate gaming. His work at SuperBook is creating new opportunities for the next generation of industry leaders while providing them with the knowledge and confidence to be successful. 

“The opportunity to mentor and guide some of the talented young members of our team has been really satisfying. I remember those early days of getting into the business and just trying to be a sponge,” says Kornegay. “I see the same thing in their eyes and to see the progress over the last couple of years with SuperBook has been the highlight of my career.”

Kornegay joins an impressive class of Hall of Fame inductees, who include FanDuel President Christian Genetski, Circa Sports Director of Product and industry expert Richie Baccellieri, Continent8 Technologies founder and CEO Mike Tobin, former Nevada State Athletic Commission EVP|CMO and Commissioner Staci Alonso, and the late John English.

The group will be honored on May 8 at Red Bull Arena as part of SBC Summit North America. It takes place from May 7 – 9, 2024, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center.