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"The Rise and Fall of the worlds first Offshore Gambling Empire"


Interested in the offshore industry? How it got it's start? Some of the behind the scenes shenanigans that went on in the early days of this industry? We'll, there was a book recently published that takes you back to those days and takes you along for the ride with one of the original offshore books and it's founders.

The book is called Bets, Drugs and Rock and Roll, as told by Steve Budin, the owner and founder of SDB Global. Let's not confuse the name with SBG Global. SBG Global is the sportsbook most of you are familiar with today. But they are an offshoot of the original, SDB Global.

We feel we're qualified to review this book, and give our opinion of it, because, after all, we were there in the beginning as well and we remember it quite well. Matter of fact, SDB Global was one of the first sportsbooks to advertise with us back in the mid to late 90's.

It's an interesting book. A quick read if you're interested in the subject. Took me one night to read it. The book tells the story of Steve Budin and his beginnings as a street book in Miami with ties to his fathers connections in New York. Steve's father is a well known, former bookmaker from Brooklyn, and that's where the story starts.

The book takes you along for the ride as Steve heads to Panama with the intentions of booking to the locals down there. When that didn't work, they decided to try and accept bets from Americans while in Panama, and well, the rest is history. The operation then moved to Costa Rica where they became one of the biggest, if not the biggest offshore sportsbook at the time.

Then, the walls came tumbling down in 1998 as Criminal complaints were handed down in a wide reaching sweep in which several offshore sportsbooks founders were named, the most famous of which was Jay Cohen who was the only one to come back and fight the chargers.

In the case of Budin and his father, they were the first to come back and face the music. In the end, they cut a deal. Budins father plead guilty to a bookmaking charge and received house arrest while Steve took a deal, paid a huge fine and agreed to close his company.

I only disagreed with one idea in the book. In the book Steve basically takes credit for "inventing" and entire industry single-handedly. He mentions several times of having the weight of the entire industry on his back. Make no mistake about it, Steve and SDB played an important part in the early days of this industry and were probably the biggest sportsbook at the time. But the creation of this industry can't be credited to any one individual. The creation of this industry was the work of many. There were other bookmakers operating from places like the Dominican Republic long before Steve went to Panama. They even advertised in a few sports related papers back in the late 1980's and very early 90's. Steve didn't go to Panama until 1994. If you're really looking for a pioneer, you'd have to consider Gary Bowman. He was booking to Americans from a little apartment in the UK back in 1985.

But hey, the book wouldn't be as exciting without pumping up certain areas of the story. So we forgive Steve for that.

In the end the bottom line is that Steve and company did in fact play an important role in the early days of this industry, and more importantly than anything else, they paid all of their clients on two occasions where they could have taken the easy way out and stiffed. Hats of to Steve and of course his father for that. They are honorable people which is everything in this business.

Where is Steve today? Where else.....selling picks on the internet!

We highly recommend the book. Very entertaining and it gives you a behind the scenes look at a major sportsbook and the staggering amounts of money involved. You can get the book from




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