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Legendary Bookmaker Salerno Applies For Gaming License For U.S. Fantasy

Vic Salerno has achieved plenty of firsts over his bookmaking career.  

Let’s see, there was the first computerized bookmaking system. The first mobile sports betting app and the first kiosk.

Now, Vic Salerno is first again. This time, he’s the first to apply for a Nevada gaming license to allow his Las Vegas-based company to accept daily fantasy sports bets statewide.

His company will be the first to offer betting on fantasy sports contests through traditional race and sports books at casinos. Salerno said U.S. Fantasy will also offer an app and online service.

His company will also work with other states that have approved similar laws. Salerno said U.S. Fantasy was a simple concept and operates off a platform similar to pari-mutuel wagering.

Salerno told KNPR's State of Nevada his goal is to have U.S. Fantasy up and running by summer 2016.


Why start a sports betting company at this stage in your career?

"I think it is the right time to start it. Fantasy has been out there for at least eight years... It's really come a long way and the computerization of it has made it a lot easier"

What is U.S. Fantasy?

"USF is based on a platform very similar to horse pari-mutuel wagering like when you go to the track. We use the same system as they use now."

Support comes from

"It's not like Tom Brady versus the Jets. When you go to a race track and you have horses say you have 12 horses in the first race. What we're doing is substituting players or quarterbacks for example for the horses. So, for the first race, could be we list Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, etc and what the proposition is: which quarterback will throw for the most total yards on this coming Sunday's games."

Where are you in the process of creating this new type of fantasy sports?

"The gaming board is in the process now of assigning a supervisor to oversee my case. The interesting part is that the regulation has always been there, or has been there since 1993. Now, 22 years ago, our company had a license for pari-mutuel sports. We tried it back then. You said I've been successful but that was one of the losers I had. It cost us a lot of money."

Will all sports, leagues and games be available?

"Yes, you can do it the same way in soccer. In fact, all sports really lend themselves on a daily basis probably better than football. Football is only played on weekends really."

How does it work?

"Either you as a customer or a ticket writer. When you go up to them you say, 'I want Santa Anita, the fourth race, the two horse.' On the screen, you see Santa Anita as one of the tracks or you'ld see Saratoga. So you would just push where it said it said 'sport track' and you would go to the fourth race, the two horse, who could be Tom Brady, and then they place their wagers all identical. That's the beauty of our idea. The casinos aren't going to have to add any equipment because the infrastructure is already there."

Is daily fantasy sports a way to have the discussion about making sports betting legal around the country?

"I've been in the business now 38 years and I've been saying yes it's going to happen in the next five to 10 years all that time. We're a lot closer now, obviously, when the NBA commissioner has said that the NBA should embrace it, which is 100 percent turn around from the last commissioner. I believe it's there. I think the legislatures are now going to study it and look at it from a complete different way."



Vic Salerno, co-founder of U.S. Fantasy, and chairman of the board of William Hill US.

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