A Brief History:
Back in 1993 I met Dane Turner and Sheila Greico in Orlando Florida. He was working on his Racing Collectibles magazine when we were introduced. Needing a way to track the 5,000 plus manual entries in his “RACE 93” contest, I offered my services as a programmer and technician. His was one of the first Fantasy Racing contests ever done on a truly national level.
We were first approached by a casino, in 1996, whose player’s club in Buloxi ran an “NFL Pick the Pros” contest. Since betting on sports was illegal everywhere but in Nevada, they had come up with a giveaway promotion to sign up “Frequent Players“. As everyone knows, if you can get them through the door, well, that’s half the battle. As it turns out they had hundreds of players a week coming in to enter their promotion just to “Pick the Winners” and win prizes. They also offered a seasonal contest at a chance to win bigger money. As with any large project, tracking thousands of players over the NFL or Nascar season got to be a tremendous chore. Players were filling out forms, circling numbers, and dropping them off at the desk. Since the staff was working full time as it was, they had to be paid overtime to stay and score each sheet turned in. Not only did it take a lot of time and money but accuracy became a factor as well. Players could only play once per week and tracking their season scores became a real nightmare. As a response to this request, I built the first ‘SportGame Data Unit’ utilizing a ticket (bubble card) reader, a printer, and a computer. Sheila and Dane then formed SportGame, Inc. and went on the road to promote it.
Mr Turner sold the idea to over 150 player’s clubs over the years… and I tracked every single player. If we were McDonalds we could probably advertise … “Over 25 million Players Scored” In addition, Dane also orchestrated one of the first $1,000,000 prize packages for anyone picking a preset number of wins for any of the NFL Contests. From desktop computers with telephone modems to touch screens with wireless internet service I am proud to say that this data capturing system is still being used today.
With the retirement of this Dynamic Duo and the closing of SportGame Inc in 2013, I am continuing on in the casino industry. I only hope I can do it with as much vim and vigor as my senior colleagues. It has been a dream beyond anything I could have imagined and I owe it all to them.
Managing Member GenTol LLC
Former Director of Operations of SportGame, Inc.