We all have someone to thank for setting us on the career path we are on today. For Socrates Cherry III, that person is his mother. She put his application in at the Aliante Casino for an open ticket writer position, and he ended up landing the job.
That was in 2007. Fast-forward to 2022, and he is the Manager of Race & Sports at the Aliante Casino in Las Vegas.
He’s also the winner of the third quarter of the 2022 Bookie Battle, and we caught up with him recently to talk about how he got his start in the business and so much more.
Gaming Today: How long did it take to work your way up from ticket writer to where you are now?
Cherry III: I was the assistant manager for the last six or seven years; I got promoted to Manager of Race & Sports in September.
A Day In The Life…
Gaming Today: What’s a typical workday like for you?
Cherry III: We’re still not quite back to pre-COVID staffing levels. So I have to multitask a lot; I have to do a little supervisory along with my manager duties. But hopefully, in the New Year, with a new budget, everything will be better for us.
Gaming Today: What is that process like when you guys are setting the odds for a game?
Cherry III: These days, we pretty much go with whatever everybody else is going with. Then the boss will decide one way or another where he wants to alter things.
When I started in the early 2000s, we might be two points off from the guy across the street. But with everything online and on computers these days, we pretty much set the same thing as everyone else; it just depends on where you want to take your action.
Gaming Today: With the online side of the industry exploding in recent years, how has that impacted your job?
Cherry III: It’s kept me very, very busy. Everyone loves sports. I get anywhere from 10-15 people signing up a day. I’m getting more handle on mobile than over-the-counter these days.
Gaming Today: In your opinion, what is the most challenging sport to set odds for?
Cherry III: In my earlier years, I considered baseball and hockey to be pretty difficult. But now it’s starting to turn; it’s been a tough year in football for us. These days, football is getting tougher. It hasn’t been a typical year for us when it comes to football.
Gaming Today: In terms of the handle or…
Cherry III: No, the winning percentage; the public’s been doing a halfway decent job this season. Nothing too dramatic, but halfway decent.
COVID and Sports Betting
Gaming Today: COVID has significantly impacted everyday life in the last few years. As someone that works in the heart of the sports betting industry in Vegas, how did it affect you and your job?
Cherry III: They cut us back a lot, and we had to let a couple of supervisors go. We are just now getting everything almost back to normal.
Our casino shut down for two months. When we came back, our staff got cut down to four people. Pre-COVID, we had me, a manager, an assistant manager, and three supervisors. When we returned, they only let us get the manager, the assistant manager, and one supervisor.
It was tough. But we got through it.
Gaming Today: If you were to speak at a Career Day, what advice would you give to someone looking to enter the sports betting industry?
Cherry III: My advice would be to make sure it’s something you want to do. It’s serious business here. You have to be committed to the job. I would tell them to make sure it is something they want to do and to take it one step at a time.
Gaming Today: What’s the biggest misconception people have of the sports betting industry?
Cherry III: That’s a tough one. Biggest misconception. It’s so funny. Many people really believe betting on sports is easy. It takes work. You have to do your homework.
Gaming Today: What’s the biggest bet you’ve written this year or throughout your career?
Cherry III: I once had a guy come in and put $700,000 on Manny Pacquaio to win $100,000– and he won. But my boss said it was worth the risk.
I was the supervisor that took the bet. He came up with a Caesars Palace bag with $700,000 in hundred-dollar bills. He said he wanted to make a bet. I assumed he meant $7,000, and he said, “No, I want to bet $700,000 to win $100,000. I said, “Wow, let me make a call.”
Gaming Today: Do you bet?
Cherry III: Yeah, I play a little bit. I play all sports for the most part, but only a little. Through the years, I’ve been through a lot with betting, and it can get you in trouble if you let it. But I enjoy it. I’ll put in a little parlay on Sundays; I play for recreation for the most part. I’m not going to bet thousands and thousands. The wife wouldn’t like that.
Gaming Today: That’s for sure. So, how about some predictions? Who do you have winning the Super Bowl this year?
Cherry III: As much as I hate to say it, those Eagles look pretty good.
Gaming Today: How the NBA?
Cherry III: I’m a Chicago Bull. Pray for me (laughs).
Gaming Today: Could they get into the playoffs this year?
Cherry III: No, I don’t think they can this year, but those Boston Celtics look good (editor’s note: this interview took place about two weeks ago).
Gaming Today: With all the recent activity in the MLB offseason, how about a 2023 World Series pick?
Cherry III: I like the moves that the Giants are making and the moves the Phillies are making as well. The Houston Astros are the Houston Astros; they haven’t given us any reason to think they’re slowing down. Then, there’s the Dodgers, too.
Gaming Today: How about the college football championship?
Cherry III: I don’t think anyone is going to beat Georgia. Now Michigan has played good football, but I don’t think anyone can beat Georgia.
More Bookmaker Spotlight Q&As: Circa’s Jeff Benson | Westgate’s Jeff Sherman | South Point’s Chris Andrews | BetMGM’s Jason Scott | Bally Bet’s Jay Rood | Station’s Jason McCormick | Golden Nugget’s Tony Miller | Baldini’s Robert Kowalski | Westgate’s Casey Degnon | Rivers’ Kyle Wainscott