Legendary Bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro Leaving Rivers Casino
Jake Perper | 3 mins
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Longtime and famous sportsbook oddsmaker Jimmy Vacarro is headed back to Las Vegas after a few months of working in Pittsburgh.
The Trafford, Pennsylvania native helped launch the very first sportsbook in the Pittsburgh area on June 25.
He first confirmed the move to Bookies.com yesterday, while his destination remained unclear.
Jimmy Vaccaro, 73, confirms to @bookies that he no longer works at @WinBigRivers. Told me in a text he has "much respect for [GM] Bill Keena and [VP of Gaming] Andre Barnabei." Return to South Point in Vegas (per PennBets story, which broke it) "not set yet." #Sportsbetting— brant james (@brantjames) July 18, 2019
"Jimmy let us know recently that he's headed back to Vegas. It was great working with him and we wish him all the best," a Rivers Casino spokesperson told WTAE Pittsburgh on Thursday.
This has been a venture that has lasted decades for Vacarro and with his move back out west, this will bring more added power to the booming Las Vegas sports betting landscape.
Vacarro is reportedly headed to South Point Hotel and Casino and Spa in Las Vegas (according to PennBets), but nothing has been finalized .
Vaccaro Back Where it All Started
Vacarro was previously in an advisory role at South Point prior to moving out to Pittsburgh. The owner of South Point, Michael Gaughan, first employed Vacarro back in 1975 as a dealer for the Royal Inn Casino located on the north side of the Strip as a 30-year-old.
As time went on Gaughan grew fond of Vacarro’s natural talents as an oddsmaker and let him be the face of the brand new sportsbook on site.
Following that, he launched a sportsbook at The Mirage in 1989 and then at various hotels including Barbary Coast, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, Golden Nugget Las Vegas and the Atlantis at Paradise Island Resort and Casino.
“I knew about betting sports. I didn’t know how to run a book,” Vacarro said in an interview with VSIN. “We built a little hole in the wall at the Royal Inn. It was a turning point in my life. I’ve been fortunate because I was in the right place at the right time.”
Vacarro is most known for his move in 1990 to be the only oddsmaker in all of Las Vegas to provide odds on the now famous Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas fight.
This venture back to Las Vegas simply makes sense as Vacarro was able to accomplish what he wanted by starting the first sportsbook in Pittsburgh. He’ll pick up where he left off in Las Vegas and be the guy who everyone looks up to as he continues to be a legendary bookmaker.