Credit: Bloomberg Businessweek

The gambler who cracked the horse-racing code

Veteran gamblers know you can’t beat the horses. There are too many variables and too many possible outcomes. Front-runners break a leg. Jockeys fall. Champion thoroughbreds decide, for no apparent reason, that they’re simply not in the mood. The American sportswriter Roger Kahn once called the sport “animated roulette.” Play for long enough, and failure isn’t just likely but inevitable—so the wisdom goes. “If you bet on horses, you will lose,” says Warwick Bartlett, who runs Global Betting & Gaming Consultants and has spent years studying the industry.

What if that wasn’t true? What if there was one person who masterminded a system that guaranteed a profit? One person who’d made almost a billion dollars, and who’d never told his story—until now?

Bill Benter did the impossible: He wrote an algorithm that couldn’t lose at the track. Close to a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time.
By Kit Chellel in Bloomberg Businessweek.