The founder of the Internet's first sports betting portal is in a Connecticut hospital recovering from a heart attack, Gambling911.com has learned exclusively.
Brian Georgia, founder of Bettor's World (www.bettorsworld.com), told Gambling911.com in a telephone interview today that he is "out of the woods" and is expected to make a full recovery, after suffering a heart attack last month.
"The worst is behind me," Georgia said. "I feel fine. I'm going to be okay."
Nevertheless, he remains a patient at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut, USA, where he has been since just before Easter, when he suffered the heart attack.
Georgia's heart attack was compounded by the fact that he has multiple sclerosis, a degenerative nerve disease which has no cure.
His voice sounded strong and hearty and he seemed in good spirits during a 10-minute telephone interview from his hospital room.
He said he did not know when he would be getting out of the hospital.
History will record that Georgia was a significant Internet pioneer.
He invented the prototype for an Internet sports betting portal when he created Bettor's World in the mid 1990s.
It was the first site of its type on the 'Net and established a format which has been widely copied since.
The formula was simple: Create a website where sports bettors could go to get and exchange information about sport wagering.
The prototype seems obvious now, but it wasn't when there wasn't anything else to copy from.
Bettor's World had news articles about sports and sports betting, it had sports handicapping tips and picks and, most importantly, it had a posting forum where bettors could converse in real time.
It also was a portal, or a central clearinghouse of sorts, where sports bettors could go to find places to bet on sports online.
The site featured banner advertisements for various offshore sportsbooks, and people could click the ads and instantly be taken to websites where online sports wagers could be made.
Sports betting portals with sportsbook ads are ubiquitous now, but Georgia was the first to do it.
A while after creating Bettor's World, Georgia merged the site with another, similar site called Bookie's Hell, which was run by fellow Connecticut resident Jeff Brown.
The merged site, which retained the Bettor's World name and web address, was run jointly by Georgia and Brown.
The site flourished for several years as the most popular website of its type on the Internet, until increased competition from new sites such as The Prescription (www.therx.com), Major Wager (www.majorwager.com) and Eye on Gambling (www.eog.com) leveled the playing field by taking advertisers and forum posters from Bettor's World and diminishing the importance of Georgia's and Brown's site.
About eight years ago, Georgia sold his interest in Bettor's World to Brown, who still runs the site by himself to this day.
Georgia has remained out of the sports betting portal biz since, but told Gambling911.com he'd like to return to the business some day.
"I miss it," he said. "I would like to get back in the business eventually, start a new site.
"Obviously, though, it's not something I'm really thinking about right now."
News of Georgia's heart attack comes just days after TheRx.com and EOG.com founder Kenneth Weitzner and his wife were discovered dead in what is being called a double suicide.
By Tom Somach
Gambling911.com Staff Writer