A prominent Colorado sports bettor recently went public with his frustration over the unethical treatment he claims he received at one of the state’s retail sportsbooks.
That incident now has the attention of the Colorado Division of Gaming.
The state agency said Friday it is investigating James Salinas’ claims that the Ameristar Casino’s Barstool Sportsbook in Black Hawk changed its stated/posted betting limits and odds at the counter while he was attempting to place two NFL Draft bets earlier this month.
The Division of Gaming declined additional comment Friday.
Dispute gained attention with April 23 tweet
Salinas, a Colorado resident and current co-host of VSiN’s Pro Football Blitz, discussed his side of the events in a near-four minute show video clip tweeted out by VSiN on April 23.
— VSiN (@VSiNLive) April 23, 2022
VSiN is the Las Vegas-based Vegas Stats and Information Network founded in 2017 by veteran sportscaster Brent Musburger.
The 2015 Westgate Las Vegas Super Contest winner, Salinas recently served as the city of Denver’s Director of Recreation. He also has worked with the Denver Nuggets’ youth gang prevention program and as a reporter/editor at the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News, according to his VSiN bio.
Barstool Sportsbook’s odds initially to Salinas’ liking
In the Twitter video clip, Salinas explains he was shopping sportsbooks, seeking Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux draft odds. Specifically, Salinas sought bets on Thibodeaux being selected among the top five picks and also going No. 2 overall.
Salinas said he found such odds on three unspecified Colorado online sportsbook apps. He says he bet a “dime” ($1,000) on each.
In addition, Salinas wanted to check out the Thibodeaux odds at retail sportsbooks “up the hill” in Black Hawk. He made the 30-minute drive from his home to do so.
He says he found odds at two sportsbooks, one being the Barstool Sportsbook in the Ameristar.
“I asked the folks at the counter, what are your limits on the draft?” Salinas says in the video. “A big barrel-chested guy said said ‘we’ll take whatever you bet, what are you going to fire?’”
Salinas says he requested a $3,000 bet on Thibodeaux to go in the draft’s top five at the listed +100 odds. He also said he went with a $1,000 bet at +350 odds on Thibodeaux to go second overall.
“’Sure, we’ll take that,’ they said,” Salinas explains.
“They’re counting out the money. They put the ticket out there,” Salinas continues in the clip. “They don’t hand me the ticket yet. Before they hand me the ticket, they say, ‘oh, we’re going to need your ID.’ Fine. All right. I’m an old guy. I’m sure this isn’t about being 21 or not, but ‘I’ll let you look at my ID.’ Strictly a formality, they say. They said ‘we’re going to run through the process, and we’ll able to make the transaction and you’ll go on your way.’”
Change of terms results in change of plans
Salinas says the Barstool sportsbook ticket writer then came back after a “few minutes” and informed him they were going to “limit the size” of his bets.
Instead of $3,000 on the Thibodeaux top-five wager, Salinas said Barstool bumped it down to $1,000 maximum. And on the $1,000 Thibodeaux-No. 2 overall bet, Barstool capped it at $500.
“That’s OK I said, let’s do that,” Salinas recalls in the video.
Then, however, Salinas says the Barstool employee informed him that “the lines” on the wagers had changed as well.
So instead of +100 odds on the Thibodeaux top-five bet, Salinas says he was informed the price was now -129. And the +350 Thibodeaux-No. 2 overall wager had dropped to +250, according to the Barstool employee.
“They asked, ‘what would you like to do, sir?’” Salinas says.
“I said, ‘you can give me my money back and I’ll hit the road. You guys can give the Mickey Mouse ears to somebody else to go with your little ham-and-egger outfit here.’”
And with that, Salinas says he left the sportsbook and headed home, not winding up with any retail tickets purchased in Black Hawk.
Thibodeaux, by the way, wound up being selected fifth overall Thursday night by the New York Giants.
Michigan defensive end Aidian Hutchison went second overall to the Detroit Lions.
Barstool declines to comment
A Barstool Sportsbook manager, reached by phone at the Ameristar on Friday afternoon, said Barstool is “aware of the situation” regarding the tweet and Salinas’ claims.
He added they plan to “fully” cooperate with the Colorado Division of Gaming investigation.
“As far as comments at this time, we’ll go with ‘no comment’ for right now,” the manager said.
While the Colorado Barstool personnel has yet to comment, Barstool founder and owner Dave Portnoy has responded. And it’s exactly how you would think a Portnoy response would unfold.