Chris Andrews

My first job in Las Vegas was at the legendary Stardust in 1979. As a recent college graduate from Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh, I had a thirst to begin my career in the race and sports book industry that I had loved from afar. I worked three days a week in the sports book and three days a week in the race book to learn all I could about the business and the Las Vegas way of doing things. I had a pretty good head start growing up in the same household as one of Las Vegas’s most celebrated handicappers, Pittsburgh Jack Franzi.


Learning under my Uncle Jack, I did know many of the angles from the bettors standpoint, but transferring that to the skills necessary to be successful running a race and sports book was going to take some schooling. The Stardust was a great first step to acquiring those specific qualifications.


After a year at the Stardust, I went to Michael Gaughan’s Barbary Coast. My experience at the Barbary was like a Master’s program at the finest bookmaking university in the world. Uncle Jack was there as a consultant, and I worked directly under another Hall Of Fame member in Jimmy Vaccaro. The business was drastically different in those days. Tickets were handwritten. Keeping track of the action, grading the tickets, figuring out the win/loss was all done personally by the staff. In a procedure that would never be allowed today, as the swing shift supervisor I did all those functions every night. It probably wasn’t kosher even back then, but nonetheless it fell on me and I learned what it would take others years to master.


Michael himself recommended me to Warren Nelson, a primary partner at the Club Cal Neva in Reno. Warren had known Michael from the time he was a teenager, being close friends with Michael’s father, another legend, Jackie Gaughan. Warren, seeing that sports betting was about to explode, was looking for a young (I was 25 years old at the time) prospect to build his sports book into major player in the market. When I arrived at Cal Neva, the entire race and sports book was in a 1500 square foot room. It consisted of three windows in the race book, two in the sports book and a cashier’s window. I also had an ace in the hole, Hall Of Fame member Yolanda Acuna, who was a holdover from the prior regime, who helped me get my feet on the ground. By the time I left 23 years later, we had grown the business to 28 satellite locations throughout the state of Nevada and having one of the largest footprints in the industry. While at the Club Cal Neva, I had become one of the stockholders and a licensee in the corporation.


In 2003 I was hired by the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. Eighteen months later the company was sold and I moved on.


I was then hired by another Hall Of Famer, Vic Salerno, as Vice President of American Wagering’s Northern Nevada operation. I spent three years in that position until I was recruited by some Wall Street veterans to join their fledgling hedge fund and wealth management entity as a partner, just in time for The Great Recession.


Three years later I got back into the sports betting industry, this time starting my own company, Against The Number. It took a few years to begin turning a profit when I got a call from Michael Gaughan with an offer I couldn’t refuse. He wanted me to run his sports book at the South

Point Hotel Casino and Spa. I sold ATN and have been at the South Point since then (2016) and very happy once again working for one of the giants of the casino industry, keeping my fingers crossed that this is the last stop in my bookmaking career.


Along with my various management positions I have also hosted a radio show, was a guest on various other radio shows and podcasts and a regular contributor on VSiN. I have also had two books published Then One Day…My 40 Years Of Bookmaking in Nevada and Then One Year…History’s Craziest Year As Seen By A Las Vegas Bookmaker.