Bookmaking has carried Chad “Rex” Beyers from his home state of Indiana to far-flung places like Gibraltar, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and England.
Beyers studied journalism at Ball State with the hope of becoming a sports broadcaster like Brent Musburger, the legendary NFL voice who is now the face of VSIN’s operations in Las Vegas.
His career carried him in a different direction, and Beyers has enjoyed stints at SportRadar, Caesars, SouthPoint, Westgate SuperBook, and many more during his journey. He’s a rarity in the industry after starting his career with an offshore book in Costa Rica and subsequently working for European, American, and Australian companies.
“I’ve seen it all,” Beyers said.
Beyers is currently based in Las Vegas as the US Head of Wagering at Australia-based PlayUp, whose US operation does business in New Jersey and Colorado. He recently captured top honors in the fourth-quarter mini-contest of Bookies Battle 2022.
For the season-long contest, Beyers finished T-3 with an overall record of 145-109 (57% winning percentage). He’s now among 12 contestants competing in the playoff portion of the event, which pays $2,000 to the winner.
“It’s like horse racing,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve gotta pull out the whip and get yourself to the wire. Qualify for the playoffs and anything can happen now, right?”
Gaming Today caught up with Beyers to get his take on industry trends, including limits, high volume-low hold bookmaking, and the widespread expansion of legalized sports betting across the US.
Bookmaking Based on Global Perspective
Gaming Today: Of all the places your career has taken you, which one provided the most memorable experience?
Rex Beyers: I would say Costa Rica by a pretty wide margin. Because of the fact that most of my career started in Costa Rica, in terms of learning how to book and all the ins and outs of betting, and the fact that I was able to live there for so long. I was there for the better part of 13 years.
Gaming Today: Who’s had the biggest influence when it comes to shaping your career as a bookmaker?
Beyers: I can’t really use the guy’s real name. I’ll just say that it was a guy I bet with and worked for at times moving lines for him. Basically, he was a math whiz. His nickname was Ribs. He’s a New York-based guy, and he’s been around forever. His integrity was second to none.
Gaming Today: What’s the biggest lesson he taught you?
Beyers: If you’re not lazy, you can get a bet whenever you want just by being a penny better than the best available. If everybody is booking a game at 7.5 flat, he knows he can use 7.5 at -108 or -109. He just basically doesn’t book in the middle. If everybody’s got the same price, how are you gonna get a bet that way? I think that’s the most valuable piece of insight I ever got.
What’s in a Name?
Gaming Today: Your real name is Chad. How’d you come to be known as Rex?
Beyers: When you go offshore, you don’t want to use your real name. Rex Chapman was my college basketball idol when I was 11 or 12 and growing up in Southern Indiana. He was doing his stuff at UK and eventually in Charlotte (in the NBA). A white kid who could dunk and shoot threes, I mean, who doesn’t want to be that when you’re that age? That was my guy. Then I went to Ball State for journalism school, and I don’t know if it was a cruel trick or they were doing it on purpose, but there were seven Chads out of 41 people on our dormitory floor. Everybody just said, ‘Call him Rex.’ It stuck through college, and when I went to Costa Rica, it was just an easy transition.
Gaming Today: Any Super Bowl liabilities at PlayUp?
Beyers: Buffalo’s our worst by a lot going in. This was a bet that was made back in October, and the guy took the Bills at +450. For us, that would be a big loss.
Challenges Come with Expansion of US Sports Betting
Gaming Today: What’s surprised you the most when it comes to sports betting’s meteoric rise across the US the past five years?
Beyers: I’m really surprised at the lack of software development in the space. It’s something I feel like is on the way. The European influence on American markets was something I sort of expected, but I didn’t think this far into it there’d be that many of them still around. I really thought the product was so bad, and I saw that working at SportRadar first-hand. The European product is so disappointingly bad for American customers. I’m really surprised that it hasn’t been usurped by more people.
Gaming Today: Does PlayUp take a lot of sharp action?
Beyers: I can’t say we take a lot of sharp action because our software doesn’t allow me to book the limits that I want. So, I’ve had to go in there and do everything antithetical to what I’ve learned. We don’t have enough business to overcome it with the software we have. That’s the biggest hindrance we have in building our business up. It’s the software and not me. Everybody knows that I’m not scared to take the bet, that I want to take the bet, but we’re not capable with our current software situation. We’re still trying to work through it, and I really don’t know how long it’s going to take. We’re not going to throw anybody out, but we can’t take anybody’s limits that I want right now.
Gaming Today: What are your posted limits on the NFL?
Beyers: We don’t have posted limits. You’re a customer, and we’re gonna give you what we can. $4,400 to win $4,000, or something to win $4,000 is about the (highest) we take on the NFL, which I think is more than fair given the situation with our customer base and software.
Gaming Today: It’s safe to say you’re a proponent of the high volume-low hold approach to bookmaking?
Beyers: I am 100%. That will never change. I don’t know how anybody could think otherwise. Why did you hold 2.5% of this (when) one of the competitors is holding 6%? Well, 6% of what? What is 6% of $10 million (compared) to 2.5% of $174 million? Why don’t we write more bets and let the volume take care of itself? It’s important to have (sharp) action to know where the numbers are supposed to be.
Gaming Today: How would you characterize yourself as an oddsmaker and bookmaker?
Beyers: One of the things I take pride in is I’m not just a bookmaker, I’m an oddsmaker. For most of these American sports, I have a clue what the price is, and I keep myself in tune with it all. I talk to people that are smarter than me, which all are important things when trying to come up with a number. But once you take a bet or a couple, your opinion as an oddsmaker is no longer important. The goal is to get to the number as quickly as possible by taking as few bets or (having) as little exposure as possible. If you can take two bets and the third number you move to and somebody bets the other side, that’s great. Now you know where the number’s supposed to be, and you go from there.
Gaming Today: What’s the worst bad beat you’ve ever had, whether it came in front of or behind the counter?
Beyers: Oh, my goodness. Tom Brady’s always involved in these things. Denver-New England somewhere close to Thanksgiving of 2013. I was at the bar, and I had my computer with me. I had my Pinnacle account open. I was live betting Denver every time I could all the way up to like -17. They were up 24-0 at the half. I was crowing. I think I had between $32,000 to $36,000 on Denver. (New England) came back, and (Denver) lost in overtime (34-31). I didn’t hedge anything; hedging’s for gardeners.
Gaming Today: So Brady bit you more than once?
Beyers: The Super Bowl involving (Brady) when Atlanta was up 28-3. That was one of the few times I’ve ever celebrated a game early — and it was real early. But still, in what world does New England come back from that? I never do that, and I should know better. It’s my own fault. I know better, I knew better then, and yet I’ll still do it sometimes.
Gaming Today: Some of your first exposure to betting came at Churchill Downs. What’s your take on having fixed odds in horse racing to help boost interest in the sport here?
Beyers: I don’t know if there are enough people that can possibly sit down there in the chair and trade the prices against the people that are betting them. I don’t know what the liquidity would be either. I’m not sure how the splits would break out between the horsemen who count so much on parimutuel and the tracks that do too, but they could write more volume with fixed. I’d like to think it would work.
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