Trump Commutes Legendary Sports Bettor Billy Walters Sentence

Written By Marc Meltzer on January 20, 2021

Outgoing President Donald Trump commuted legendary Las Vegas sports bettor Billy Walters shortly before leaving his office for the last time. Walters joins ‘Lil Wayne and more than 140 others who were given pardons or commutations.

Billy Walters insider trading case

After retiring from sports betting, Walters moved to the stock exchange to make a living. In 2017, Walters was convicted in connection to an insider (stock) trading case by a federal jury.

The former professional sports bettor was found guilty on all 10 charges he faced as part of a $40 million insider trading scheme from at least 2008 through 2014.

The charges against Walter gained national attention in part because of the involvement of professional golfer Phil Mickelson. Lefty, as Mickelson is known, was not implicated in the insider trading scheme.

Mickelson allegedly took an insider tip from Walters on Dean Foods. The professional golfer reportedly profited $931,000 after selling the stocks. The allegations continue that Mickelson then used that money to pay Walters back for gambling debts.

Billy Walters released from prison early

Billy Walters was released from prison in May 2020 after serving just 2.5 years in prison. He was to finish serving the last years of his sentence at home in Carlsbad, CA. The at-home portion of Walters’ sentence is now over.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, former Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons, former Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley, former Clark County Sheriff William Young all supported the commutation of Walters’ sentence.

On Tuesday, Walters expressed gratitude to President Donald Trump for granting him clemency and regaining his freedom:

“I am thankful to the President and extremely grateful for the longstanding support of friends and family, especially my wife, Susan.”

“I have tried to lead a life marked by concern for others and I hope those qualities, along with the government misconduct that led to my wrongful conviction, convinced the White House to grant me clemency. I also hope this sends a strong message to law enforcement to refrain from illegal misconduct in pursuing their targets. I look forward to vindication as I pursue my civil damages case in federal court.”

The commutation of his sentence doesn’t wipe the slate clean for Walters. This case will remain on his record.

Billy Walters: Legendary sports bettor

Walters had a humble upbringing growing up in rural Kentucky. He left his home state in the 1980s after a misdemeanor gambling conviction.

Walters would become the most well-known sports bettors after moving to Las Vegas. He connected with a group that would use computer algorithms for sports betting. This was a groundbreaking technique for the era that lead to riches.

During a 60 Minutes interview in 2011, Walters claimed to never have a losing year betting on sports. He also said that he could earn as much as $50 million during a good year of sports betting.

Walters officially retired from professional gambling in 2016.

Over the years, Walters became a devoted philanthropist. His efforts helped to raise more than $50 million for Opportunity Village. This is a Las Vegas nonprofit that provides employment, vocational training, and recreation services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Photo by AP / John Locher
Marc Meltzer Avatar
Written by
Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

View all posts by Marc Meltzer
Privacy Policy