The original Computer group consisted of three partners, gambler extraordinaire Billy Walters, originally from Kentucky; Michael Kent, a young computer whizz from Pittsburgh, and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Ivan Mindlin from New York.
Together they built the most powerful and most successful betting conglomerate in sports betting history, employing hundreds around the country while winning who knows how many millions.
Of course when millions are involved so is treachery and they had a nasty breakup.
I was close to Dr. Mindlin. He was once the surgeon for the NY Giants but the 70s found him in Las Vegas deep in debt from betting but soon to get out with millions to spare. We became friends in Churchill Downs sportsbook, although on different sides of the counter.
One day I’m at my writer’s station and I’m feeling a sensation in my left thigh. It’s been there for awhile and I casually mention it to Dr. Mindlin.
He says to let him in behind the counter into the back office. I do and he says drop your trousers. He feels the area and says, “I’ll meet you at Sunrise Hospital, I’m taking it out.”
Whoa, wait a minute. Can I talk it over with my wife? Can it wait a bit?
It’s 1974, I’m 32 years old and invincible but now I’m concerned; worried is also accurate.
We agree on the next day.
I’m now in my hospital bed and in comes Doc, happy as hell, and draws a target on my leg where he’s going to operate, and does so later in the day.
I come out of the anesthetic and look at the long, stitched up zig zag cut on my thigh and now I’m not so invincible. My wife doesn’t know anything.
Next day he shows up and the first thing he says is, “You have any scores? Wait a minute I forgot my schedule.”
I thought it was my medical chart he forgot, but it was his JK baseball schedule.
“Doc, what is it? Tumor, cancer, what’s going on?”
Here’s a renowned ex-NY Giants surgeon and he’s playing with his pen. He had a neat trick (to him) putting it in a hole in the bed post and a spring tosses it back. I had no scores for him so we talk operation.
It was a calcium deposit, a muscle turned to calcium from an injury, we assume. I don’t know what he did but I was never charged a cent, not even for the hospital.
Later in the 80’s I was at the Stardust and someone says there’s a guy outside in a Caddy and he wants to see you.
Doc couldn’t come into the sportsbook because by now he was on the outs with the Gaming Control Board and they 86’d him from all casinos. I go outside and it’s Doc. He has a bag of cecils ($100 bills) and he wants me to open a phone account for him. I’m fired if I do, so I don’t.
A year or so later we meet up again at Sunrise Hospital. My 6-year-old son Vincent was goofing off in the bathroom and fell against the toilet, knocking his front teeth out. I grab him and his teeth and head for the hospital.
It’s 7 a.m. Sunday morning and we’ve been sitting helpless for a couple hours in the emergency room. In walks Doc, he spots us and asks what we’re doing here. He calls a dentist friend of his and we meet the dentist at his office, still early Sunday morning. He could put the teeth back in but he says Vincent’s second teeth will be coming in soon so forget it.
Where’s Doc now? There’s a Dr. Ivan Mindlin in New Zealand who has race horses. I don’t know if it’s him but I do know his wife is deceased and he also lost a son. Good memories and bad as well.
Take care, Scotty.
Scotty Schettler began his Las Vegas journey in 1968. By the time he quit the race and sports book business he had booked over $1.5 billion for different employers. He says he knows where most of the cans are buried. His book, is available on amazon.com. Contact Scotty at [email protected]