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Female Handicapper Making Her Way In Male Dominated Las Vegas Sports Books

What do you think a traditional Las Vegas bookie or sports better looks like?

He’s maybe a 60-year-old man smoking a cigar or cigarette. Or maybe, he’s that bald, middle-aged man in the sports book nervously sipping a cup of coffee, hoping he’s got the winner in the eighth race at Santa Anita.

But that is definitely not Kelly Stewart.

Kelly Stewart is one of the few successful female handicappers in Las Vegas.

She moved to Las Vegas in 2007 after graduating from Kansas State. To supplement her sports betting, Stewart started as a waitress at Hyde at Bellagio but quickly learned she could pick winners because of her knowledge and love of sports.

One of her friends was a bookie, and while watching games with him she began to learn the trade.

She credits her success to watching trends about how and when a team is winning.

"I like to find trends. They are my favorite thing to find," Stewart said.

She gave the example of Alabama's football team dominating the first half of every game a few year's ago, but trailing off by the second half. While in Wisconsin, the football team didn't get started until the second half. 

She told KNPR's State of Nevada she likes to bet on just about every game. 

“I can’t watch many games with out feeling the need to bet on it,” Stewart said, "I’m addicted to winning. It’s the 'being right' kind of thing."

As far as being a woman in a field dominated by men, she said she hasn't received much opposition only through social media. She said most of the people in the bookie world have been very accepting.

She also said as legalized sports betting continues to expand there will be more female handicappers from around the country.


Kelly Stewart, bookmaker and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist

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