Darren Rovell’s “Suspicious” Sports Gambling Behavior Sets Off Alarms

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

The Daily Beast is calling out a a former ESPN reporter.

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They make the claim that gambling aficionados on Twitter posted evidence Darren Rovell edited his bets after they’d been placed.  Rovell is now a contributor for The Action Network, a news media outlet focused on the sports gambling landscape.

From the Daily Beast:

Though he’d been challenged about the size of the bets as far back as six months ago and told they distorted the overall picture of his gambling skills, Rovell had mostly shrugged off the criticism. But as the clamor grew on Monday, Rovell drastically reduced the amounts he’d wagered. Now, he insisted he’d made a mistake in January, pinning the issue on his lack of gambling knowledge at the time. Still, Rovell denied that he had been intentionally trying to buff up his betting résumé or had done anything wrong, even if his explanations don’t entirely add up.

A managing director of the Action Network did confirm he had noticed “several other featured bettors” placing outsized bets in order to juice total winnings and create a false impression of their skills.

Rovell is clearly not a "featured bettor" and the Daily Beast points out that he has enjoyed some success in the past.

They single out recent proclamations, later disputed by screen shots.

Sunday night, Rovell was boasting about his recent spate of gambling success. He tweeted out a screenshot of his winning percentage on all wagers from the year to date, which now stood at approximately 54 percent. Then he encouraged his over two million followers to partake in all the gambling advice and information available on the Action Network’s app.

In response to this victory lap, @gamblingRonB posted a tweet early Monday morning with screenshots of both inordinately-sized January bets, pointing out that were it not for the 136.36-unit win, Rovell would not be in the black, college basketball-wise. (Rovell has known about this since the day after the bet was placed, six months ago.)

Later that day, another Twitter screenshot revealed that at some point, someone had gone back into the Action Network’s system and changed the amounts wagered after the fact, from a little over 136 units down to one. The reconfigured total now left Rovell with an identical winning percentage, but because he now claims the intent was to wager far less, he was up by fewer total units. 

By the afternoon, and after he was pressed by a New York Times reporter, Rovell had copped to the deed. There was no intent to deceive anyone, Rovell insisted, and the idea that he’d tried to get away with some sort of ruse was “hilarious.” The 136-unit winning bet from June was placed because he simply didn’t understand the difference between units and actual dollars.

In Rovell's defense, he has recently demonstrated a lack of understanding as to how bookmaking operations run.  Proof of this: Rovell tweeting out that “86% of the money On spread at PointsBetUSA was on the Raptors” for Game 3, but they were saved by the “fact that moneyline bets were relatively even”.  Obviously, the moneyline action being even did help prevent further damage, but certainly that didn't help to cut into the damage already caused with such a lopsided spread.

Chad Millman, the Action Network’s chief of content, has defended Rovell and insisted to the Daily Beast Rovell wishes to provide full transparency. 

“He has a personal page,” Millman explained, which currently is only followed by 236 Action Network subscribers. “And, you know, he wanted to participate in what we do in the product. And when he first joined Action, he put in bets that conflated dollars and units.

“That’s why we don’t make him a featured expert,” Millman continued. “He’s a guy we hired to cover news and information, to break stories, to tell stories. We do not ask him to say, ‘Who do you like in this game’ and then put that on our website.”

Rovell's strengths come from years of reporting on the sports business side of the spectrum (prior to his stint at ESPN, he worked for CNBC).  His expertise was not always gambling-centric.  Rovell has also built a powerful brand name for himself over the years, something he proudly touts.

“They’re buying me as a brand,” Rovell proclaimed to the Washington Post shortly after his hiring by the Action Network.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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