Billy Walters Tells ESPN: Phil Mickelson Sent Me to Prison!

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:

Sports betting icon Billy Walters threw pro golfer Phil Mickelson under a bus Thursday night on national television, but only because, Walters said, Mickelson threw him under one first.


Walters appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter to promote his new book, an autobiography titled “Gambler: Secrets From A Life At Risk.”

During an 11-minute interview, anchor Scott van Pelt asked Walters about his relationship with Mickelson, a topic that has garnered national headlines since the controversial book came out a few weeks ago.

Asked whether gamblers had a code, a set of rules they follow, Walters agreed they did.

Van Pelt then asked if Mickelson broke that code and Walters replied: “Actually, he didn’t really do anything in the gambling world other than he went and bet on some games when he wasn’t supposed to. He violated that code.

“But outside of that, as far as anything he and I did together in our gambling partnership, I never had an issue with Phil.

“Phil’s only involved in two chapters of 28 of my book. He’s a very well-known guy, but he’s a very small portion of my book.

“But the bottom line is the reason that he’s in my book is because I felt he and I had developed a relationship. I felt we were friends.

“That was a point in my life when I needed for him to be a standup guy and come forward and just tell the truth in regards to an insider trading allegation that was against me.

“The bottom line is he had already met with the FBI on two occasions to tell them in no uncertain terms I never gave him any inside information.

“And when I went to court I needed him to come forward and just tell the truth, nothing more, nothing less. And that didn’t happen.

“As a result, I went to prison. I believe if he had come forward, I never would’ve gone to prison. And while I was in prison, unfortunately, my daughter committed suicide.

“It was a very negative experience in many ways. I had to explain in the book what the relationship was.”

Walters also touched on a a number of other topics, including the so-called “Computer Group,” an early group of sports bettors which included Walters and used computer software to isolate winning wagers; his worst beat ever, a first-half bet on the 1990 Super Bowl; and how the plethora of sports statistics on the Internet has changed sports wagering.

The book is published by Simon and Schuster. Gambling 911 plans to read the book and provide a review in the near future.

By Tom Somach

Gambling 911 Chief Correspondent

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