While you are watching Sunday’s Super Bowl, Freddy Harris will be in sunny
San Jose, Costa Rica, counting up the gold rolling in from U.S. gamblers.
It’s his biggest payday of the year. Harris is pegging it at $5 million.
The New York-born (and bred) Harris also pegs himself as “a large gambler” as the
chief oddsmaker and general manager of YouWager.com. His site is one of roughly 500 online gambling sites in the world — all headquartered offshore and beyond the reach of laws in the United
States where sports wagering is illegal outside of Nevada.
“There’s a $100 billion bet every year and only one percent of that is bet in Las Vegas,” Harris told internetnews.com. “Where do you think the rest is being wagered?”
According to Harris, YouWager rakes in about $500 million a year in sports
bets, mostly from U.S. bettors. YouWager also offers an online casino and
poker room. The site has 27,000 registered users.
Harris sets the odds (known in the business as “props,” short for
propositions) for just about everything that moves in sports, professional,
collegiate or otherwise: football, basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, horse
racing, hockey and soccer.
Not interested in sports? Freddy’s got other props: will Bird Flu will
infect humans in the United States before April 6? Will U.S. BlackBerry
service be shut off in the next 90 days? Will Nick Lachey receive half of
Jessica Simpson’s $40 million?
But nothing beats the Super Bowl, America’s annual orgy of football,
advertising and, of course, betting.
“Americans love to bet,” Harris said.
And has Freddy got some Super Bowl props for you. In fact, he claims, he has
100 different ways to bet the big game from who wins the coin toss to
whether the total points scored in the game will exceed the distance of the
longest field goal.
Will a player be ejected from Super Bowl XL? Will the shortest touchdown
scored in the game be over or under 1.5 yards? Will Big Ben Roethlisberger’s
first pass of the game be complete, incomplete or an interception? Will both
teams have the lead in the first half?
Freddy’s got the odds on all those and plenty more exotic gambling plays.
Still too mundane for gambling tastes? Youwager offers play-by-play wagering
(PxP) for the “player that needs more action.” In PxP play, online bettors
wager on the type and outcome of every single snap of the game.
“It’s not a regular NFL Sunday and people want a lot of action,” Harris
Harris moved from New York to Costa Rica, which he describe as “undeveloped
but not a Third World country,” 11 years ago, just about the time U.S.
authorities were cracking down on sports wagering sites located within its
The Department of Justice contends existing laws make all Internet gambling
illegal for Americans. The 1961 Wire Wager Act specifically prohibits the
use of telephone lines for the purpose of placing a sporting bet. Since the
Internet uses telephone lines, courts have ruled the Wire Act also covers
Web sports wagering.
Harris insists he and YouWager are doing nothing illegal, noting the site is
properly licensed in Costa Rica.
“We advertise in the U.S., but the site sign-up is here. All money is sent
through locations outside the U.S.,” he said. “We don’t collect in the
United States. We don’t believe we are breaking any U.S. laws.”
Odds are, Freddy’s got some props on that too.