Call it a sting or whatever but this episode is a Las Vegas classic.
In the mid-80’s Don Bessett had what at the time was an ingenious idea. The Stardust Line was in demand throughout the country by bookmakers and bettors alike.
Computers were on the cusp of an impending tech revolution. Bessett was ahead of his time. He invested in computer software to transmit the Stardust odds to anyone who had a computer on the other end.
Bessett rented an upstairs office in a small strip mall across from the Stardust. He had a runner, Jimmy Sirodi, sit in the sports book and call him with our line moves. Bessett put those valuable moves into his system by hand and out they went to his limited customers.
Sirodi was getting on our nerves so I told him, “If you’re going to use our odds like this then at least make a $10 parlay.” He left and Bessett came across the street in a panic. He told me he would be out of business without the Stardust odds. He had built his clientele up to 35 users.
He took me across the street to proudly show his layout. Impressive idea. I told him he can have access to anything we have. Just tell me what I can do to help him. Scufflers were my soft spot.
Bessett never saw or knew he created a world wide enterprise. He died from cancer but before he left us he sold to Al Corbo, who was from Philadelphia and well respected in the business. Al called his new business Don Best after Don Bessett. Al moved to bigger digs on Spring Mountain Road close to Jasper’s J&J Sports Service. Jasper Speciale, my first boss in Vegas, had a phone in/out odds service as were all the odds dissemination business then.
With Al’s business smarts and contacts Don Best was destined to be the world leader it is today. Sadly, like Don Bessett before him, Al never lived to see it. He too passed from cancer. Al’s wife and three sons took over. Dana the oldest son, a lawyer, was president/CEO.
In the following years I had left the Stardust and was working for Jerry Irwin, a huge bettor who also had a phone odds service. Jerry sold to Don Best and that’s where the story takes a turn. I was good on the phones since I talked the BM’s language on the other end. I could run the biggest books in town in my sleep but Don Best was all computers and my 10 thumbs just couldn’t keep up.
I was expendable and Dana fired me under the guise of downsizing. I told him his dad had told me he didn’t need me but he’d find something for me anyway. Dana, a new breed and not one of us, was unimpressed. Bye, on bad terms.
I was highly upset and my son Vincent was even more angry. I decided I’d make Dana sweat by pretending I was going to compete with Don Best. I “founded” Scott Best, had a business model, business cards and gave a head fake of a new business. Dana bought it. He sued Vincent and me in District Court for breach of the non-compete form I had signed.
Although Dana was a lawyer and he was represented by prominent counsel they apparently didn’t perform extensive due diligence. If they had they would have found my “business plan” for Scott Best and saved us all time and money.
My business card for scottbest.com was a picture of a farmer munching hay saying “you betcha,” a light bulb with dollar sign filament and a company logo “where farmers bet.” The business model they failed to uncover goes like this.
Paraphrasing now: I have a site ready to launch designed to get 2 million people to send me $1 or maybe 8 million to send $.25. With the money I raise I’m going to put a farm in Iowa. The government pays subsidies to farmers to NOT plant crops. I’m not going to plant corn the first year.
I figure to start out small, maybe not plant 40-50 acres and build up to hundreds of acres. If things go good I may even not plant hay or oats. I’ll have to talk to the locals to see the best crops not to plant. Anyway, that’s the long range goal of Scott Best.
The judge threw their case out.
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].