All the knowledge Jay Rood has acquired over the decades of working behind the counter of a sportsbook appears to be paying off.
Rood, who was at the MGM Grand for 25 years and is currently the lead person of Bet.Works’ risk management team, is in the hunt in Gaming Today’s Bookies Battle contest. With just three weeks remaining, Rood has an impressive 114-94 record and is tied for third place, just three games out of the top spot.
“I try not to overthink it,” Rood said of his formula for success in a contest where you’re picking games for an entire week’s schedule several days before the first game kicks off. “I take every underdog except for one or two favorites. Who you throw in the parity in the NFL, you have to look at the ‘dog a lot of times.”
A New Mexico native, Rood has enjoyed the move to Bet.Works, which is located in Henderson. He joined the company in June and it’s a different environment from what he was used to at MGM.
For starters, he doesn’t deal with individual customers. Bet.Works is a business-to-business operation so Rood’s contact is more on a management level the with individual gamblers.
“It’s been going really well,” he said of his job as chief risk officer. “It’s a lot more fun, getting back to grassroots trading. It’s more of a business operation. I get to sit down with clients in New Jersey and Iowa and it’s very different from what I was used to.”
There is a link to Rood’s past in his new job. Bet.Works founder and CEO David Wang was the former vice president of online gaming for MGM Resorts.
“Sports betting is a fun, recreational product,” Rood said. “It’s really about entertainment.”
He sees the proliferation of legalized sports betting across the country as a good thing, both for gamblers and the sports leagues they bet on.
“The leagues are trying to engage their customers and this is a way for them to get more intimate when attending a sporting event,” Rood said. “Everyone’s looking for more revenue.”
Rood, who admits it’s an exciting time to be in the sports betting industry. With more states coming onboard, with the leagues approving and partnering with companies that deal in sports betting, what seemed unlikely and near impossible only a few years ago now has unlimited possibilities.
Add in the increased use of analytical data and other information sources and the industry has emerged as a true 21st-century business. Yet, it still comes down to making smart decisions and knowing what you’re doing.
Rood remembers the advice he got working for Gene Kivi at Caesars Tahoe early in his career that still holds true today.
“He was really smart,” Rood said of Kivi. “He wasn’t afraid to gamble and he taught me how to gamble with people. It was always about being prepared. He said ‘Sometimes you’ll lose, but often, you’ll win.’
“He also taught me to keep your emotions in check. Don’t get too high when you win or too low when you lose.”
Rood had been on the management side of the counter for countless NFL Sundays, March Madness college basketball runs and world championship fights and Mixed Martial Arts cards. He was at the MGM the night a riot broke out in the casino after the infamous Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield “Ear Bite Fight” in 1997 and he has taken six- and seven-figure bets on various sporting events.
Now, he helps others deal with those tasks.
“We’re bringing something new to our clients but we’re not re-inventing the wheel,” he said of his current risk management duties with Bet.Works.
As for the Bookies Battle contest, Rood has competed before and did well. He’s not sure if he can win it all this year, but he has a little competition within the contest with Randy Madayag of the Mirage and Carl Johnson of Beau Rivage in Mississippi.
“They’re good friends of mine and we have a friendly wager going between ourselves,” said rood, who did not divulge the nature of the bet. But chances are the winner will be eating pretty good. And by the looks of things, Rood’s going to collect on that bet.