Weekly News – Phil Mickelson Gambling Losses
This week, we've got a story on why responsibly gambling is of utmost importance. Reports are in that famed pro golfer Phil Mickelson is spending his riches on a wild assortment of things, including buying a T-rex skull for a birthday gift and sinking over $40 million dollars into losing bets from 2010-2014, according to a biographer.
We're certainly not in the head space to talk about Mickelson's recent history with the Saudis, which is a completely different article entirely; instead, let's take a closer look at this golf pro's expenditures in the world of gambling.
Billy the Bookmaker Comes to Town
Bookie-to-the-stars Billy Walters was the man to meet if you had an appetite for big risks, and Mickelson was eager to chase the kitty that Billy had amassed from taking under-the-table bets from millionaires; Mickelson himself reportedly bet $20,000 on the 2001 Super Bowl. That's right: that $40 million in 4 years figure barely scratches the surface of the amount Phil Mickelson has wagered in his lifetime, a figure we may never know.
Here comes the switcheroo: Walters had food magnate Tom Davis, board member of Dean Foods entangled in his web. Davis had borrowed hundreds of thousands of dollars from Walters to offset his own debts (and was released from prison in 2019. You get the idea). If you've ever drank milk in the US, or eaten a product with milk in it, there's a good chance it was a Dean Foods brand.
A love triangle developed when ever popular man-about-town Billy Walters found himself in his own financial snafu, and decided upon a scheme: with the help of golfer and indebted bettor Mickelson as well as his powerful dairy executive Tom Davis, Walters could get the former to buy up a bunch of stock in Dean Foods and sell it off when Davis gave the go-ahead. That's called insider trading, folks, and the SEC really, really doesn't like it when people do it.
There Are So Many Amendments in the Constitution: I Can Only Choose One
When it came to trial, Mickelson was able to plead the fifth, with his lawyers successfully arguing that the golfer is too high-profile to be involved in a scheme like this; the $931 million he made in profits from selling Dean Foods stock may has well have been dumb luck. Tom Davis and Billy Walters were not so lucky, with Davis serving two years and Walters three before his sentence was commuted by then-President Donald Trump.
It seems like Mickelson's troubles didn't end there, as the golf star has recently found himself in hot water for his connection to a Saudi golf league, which of course brought his sordid relationship with betting back into the spotlight. Additionally, having qualified for the 2022 PGA Tour (but not confirming that he'll play), Lefty's name is back in the spotlight, and unfortunately for him, it's associated with a lot of bad press.
Responsible gambling is serious business, which is why every legal sportsbook and iGaming site promoted by VegasInsider has clear guidelines for problem gambling and gives their users a ton of options for cooling off or limiting their spending. Mr. Mickelson certainly didn't avail himself of any of these safeguards, or he might not have found himself chasing losses equivalent to the yearly GDP of Tuvalu; but you should. Take a look at our responsible gambling resources for more.
Written by Chris Altman, our US sports betting industry expert.
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