Charles Barkley has been upfront about the fact that during his lifetime he lost between $10 and $30 million gambling on sports.
Some yet-to-be-named NFL player lost $8 million gambling on games last season.
These are staggering numbers. But in the sports media world there has always been a low-key understanding that professional golfer Phil Mickelson's gambling habits put everyone to shame. No one has ever understood the full extent or the 100% accurate history of Phil's sports betting. But some very interesting allegations have slowly dripped out over the years.
For example, a year ago a sports writer named Alan Shipnuck released an excerpt from his book, "Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf's Most Colorful Superstar," which claimed that Phil lost $40 million gambling in a four year period between 2010 and 2014.
Today a new allegation about Mickelson's gambling dropped. Once again it comes from a book excerpt. But this book is written by arguably the most credible Mickelson gambling source on the planet. Someone who had a front row seat to Phil Mickelson's betting history for nearly a decade. Someone who went to jail and lost tens of millions of dollars directly because of Phil Mickelson and his gambling.
Billy Walters is commonly referred to as the most successful sports bettor in the world, perhaps of all time. Over a 30-year period, Billy generated hundreds of millions of dollars betting on sports. By his own admission, at his peak he was making "between $50 million and $60 million on a good year."
Billy used those winnings, and his general business acumen, to build a net worth that has been estimated at as low as $200 million and as high as $500 million. He owns several golf courses, multiple car dealerships and car rental agencies.
Unfortunately Billy found himself in a bit of trouble a few years ago, and it had nothing to do with gambling. In April 2017 he was found guilty of insider trading. He allegedly made over $40 million using inside information on the stock of a company called Dean Foods. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay a $10 million fine. He entered prison in February 2017 and was released in the middle of 2020, two years early thanks to COVID and overcrowding.
In his soon-to-be-released book, "Gambler: Secrets from a Life at Risk," Billy places the blame on his legal troubles and subsequent prison term squarely on one man: Phil Mickelson. His former best friend. Phil had to repay $1 million he reportedly earned using inside info passed by Billy.
"Frankly, given Phil's annual income and net worth at the time, I had no problems with his betting. And still don't. He's a big-time gambler, and big-time gamblers make big bets. It's his money to spend how he wants."
"I never told him I had inside information about stocks and he knows it. All Phil had to do was publicly say it. He refused. The outcome cost me my freedom, tens of millions of dollars and a heartbreak I still struggle with daily. While I was in prison, my daughter committed suicide – I still believe I could have saved her if I'd been on the outside."
Aside from placing blame, Billy has used the pages of his book to shed some much-needed light on Phil Mickelson's betting history, once and for all.
Here's the big revelation:
According to Billy Walters, over a 30 year span, Phil Mickelson has made over $1 billion worth of sports wagers and has lost $100 MILLION.
According to Billy, Phil attempted to bet $400,000 on the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup, a tournament in which he was participating.
Citing two reliable sources, Billy claims that Phil made the following wagers between 2010 and 2014 alone:
- Betting $110,000 to win $100,000 on 1,115 occasions, and betting $220,000 to win $200,000 on 858 occasions. That's $311 million worth of bets.
- In 2011, Mickelson placed 3,154 bets for the year, and on a single day (June 22) he placed 43 bets on Major League Baseball games that resulted in $143,500 in losses.
- He placed 7,065 bets on football, basketball and baseball."
"Based on our relationship and what I've since learned from others, Phil's gambling losses approached not $40 million as has been previously reported, but much closer to $100 million. In all, he wagered a total of more than $1 billion during the past three decades."