Home > Finance > Winning at wagering

Winning at wagering

| By iGB Editorial Team | Reading Time: 5 minutes
In his latest betting investment column, Tom Waterhouse of Waterhouse VC looks at betting syndicates. While most are closed to external investment, he says that there are emerging syndicates that represent intriguing opportunities.
US sports betting

In the first century, Pliny the Elder wrote: “We are so much at the mercy of chance that chance is our god.” 

Before the Renaissance, chance was associated with religion and fate rather than being a well studied area of science. During the Renaissance, mathematicians developed the field of probability, the foundation of risk management used by bookmakers and professional bettors.

Source: Pinnacle.

The syndicates

While professional betting is a rarely discussed and underinvested part of the wagering industry, it is hugely important and highly cash generative.

The world’s largest betting syndicates wager billions of dollars each year by exploiting a unique “edge” across sports and horse racing. Based on publicly available information, some of the largest professional bettors are detailed below: 

  • Tony Bloom (Starlizard) – Starlizard bets on many sports, with particular expertise in football/soccer. Bloom is the owner and chairman of Premier League football club, Brighton & Hove Albion and is a majority owner of Belgian First Division A team, Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.
  • Matthew Benham (Smartodds) – Smartodds bets on many sports, while also selling statistical research and sports modelling to other professional bettors. Benham is the owner of English Premier League club, Brentford FC and Denmark’s FC Midtjylland, as well as betting exchange Matchbook.
  • David Walsh and Zeljko Ranogajec – Walsh and Ranogajec developed a betting system focused on horse racing and other sports. Ranogajec resides in the world’s most expensive apartment complex – One Hyde Park, London. Walsh spent $75 million to re-open the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA); he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “distinguished service to the visual arts through the establishment of MONA, and as a supporter of cultural, charitable, sporting and education groups”.
  • Billy Walters – Walters is widely regarded as among the most successful sports bettors in Las Vegas. Walters had just one losing year over a period of 39 years. He is a well-known philanthropist and has donated to Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas nonprofit for people with intellectual disabilities.
  • Alan Woods – Woods focused on blackjack and horse racing and also worked with Ranogajec for a period. With Bill Benter, he pioneered quantitative analysis in betting on horse racing in Hong Kong.
  • Bill Benter – With a degree in physics, Benter started off as a professional blackjack player in Las Vegas before meeting Alan Woods and building a large Hong Kong horse racing betting operation. He is known for his philanthropic activities and contributions to several political and charitable groups.

Most professional betting syndicates are relatively mature and are closed to external investment. Due to the natural compounding of betting capital, the only opportunity to invest in betting syndicates is generally towards their beginning.​ 

However, there are several emerging syndicates across both sports and horse racing.

One such racing-focused syndicate is led by Dominic Catsaras and another syndicate focused on
tennis is led by Tom Dry.

Game, set, match

Tom Dry has been professionally betting on tennis since January 2020. He has prior experience working for Tony Bloom (Starlizard), both as a football analyst and as a data scientist. Through his experience working for Bloom, Dry developed both the analytical and operational skills required to build a professional betting business.

Dry grew up in Portsmouth, UK and is 28 years old. As a child, he played, studied and followed almost every sport: football, cricket, tennis, athletics, F1, snooker, darts, etc. 

This obsessive, historical and first-hand knowledge of sport has given him a rare understanding of the “deep nature” of different sports, which has subsequently proven to be highly lucrative.

Tom Dry. Source: European Gaming.

Dry is a completely self-taught coder and statistician. While at Starlizard, he built a snooker model in his spare time. He sourced and modelled ever more predictive proprietary data, culminating in a computer vision model which could extract the coordinates of the balls on the table and evaluate the difficulty of the position for the player.

His major focus at the moment is tennis, where he has developed a highly profitable model. 

In the grand slams and latter stages of the biggest tennis tournaments, where there is the greatest liquidity, Dry can bet much larger volume than he does currently, with minimal effect on price/return. 

By finding more high-level betting partners, he will be able to increase volumes across the board, from grand slams down to challengers. 

Since inception in August 2019, Waterhouse VC has achieved a gross total return of 1,847% as at 30 November 2022, assuming the reinvestment of all distributions.


Please note the above information in relation to Starlizard, Smartodds, David Walsh, Zeljko Ranogajec, Billy Walters, Alan Woods, Bill Benter, Dominic Catsaras and Thomas Dry, is based on publicly available information in relation to the company and should not be considered nor construed as financial product advice. Waterhouse VC has a potential option deal and has recently signed an agreement with Thomas Dry’s betting syndicate. The information provided about Thomas Dry’s betting syndicate is sourced from European Gaming and Thomas Dry. The information provided in this document is general information only and does not constitute investment or other advice. Readers should consult and rely on professional investment advice specific to their individual circumstances.

General Information Only

This material is for general information only and is not an offer for the purchase or sale of any financial product or service. The material has been prepared for investors who qualify as wholesale clients under sections 761G of the Corporations Act or to any other person who is not required to be given a regulated disclosure document under the Corporations Act. The material is not intended to provide you with financial or tax advice and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Although we believe that the material is correct, no warranty of accuracy, reliability or completeness is given, except for liability under statute which cannot be excluded. Please note that past performance may not be indicative of future performance and that no guarantee of performance, the return of capital or a particular rate of return is given by Sandford Capital, Waterhouse VC or any other person. To the maximum extent possible, Sandford Capital, Waterhouse VC or any other person do not accept any liability for any statement in this material.

Financial Regulatory Oversight and Administration

Waterhouse VC is an Australian Unit Trust denominated in AUD and available to wholesale institutional investors worldwide with a minimum of AUD 1,000,000 or USD / EUR / GBP / JPY / CHF equivalent. This material has been prepared by Waterhouse VC Pty Ltd (ABN 48 635 494 861) (‘Waterhouse VC’, ‘Trustee’, ‘us’ or ‘we’) as the Trustee of the Waterhouse VC Fund (the ‘Fund’). The Trustee is a corporate authorised representative (CAR 1296688) of Sandford Capital Pty Limited (ABN 82 600 590 887) (AFSL 461981) (Sandford Capital) and appoints Sandford Capital as its AFS licensed intermediary under s911A(2)(b) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to arrange for the offer to issue, vary or dispose of units in the Fund.


Past performance of Waterhouse VC is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Waterhouse VC Pty Ltd does not guarantee the performance of any strategy or the return of an investor’s capital or any specific rate of return. No allowance has been made for taxation, where applicable. We encourage you to think of investing as a long-term pursuit.


Copyright © Waterhouse VC Pty Ltd ACN 635 494 861. No part of this message, or its content, may be reproduced in any form without the prior consent of Waterhouse VC.

Governing Law

These Terms and Conditions of use are governed by and are to be construed in accordance with the laws of New South Wales. By accepting these Terms and Conditions of use, you agree to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of New South Wales, Australia in respect of any proceedings concerning these Terms and Conditions of use.

Subscribe to the iGaming newsletter