By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum
He was once the bookie-crushing Will “The Winner” Rogers, a handicapper so potent that he guaranteed 80 percent winners.
He’s now Chip Rogers, majority leader of the Georgia Senate and an ultra-conservative Republican.
The remarkable story was broken by David Michaels, a recent graduate of Emory University and an intern with Atlanta Unfiltered. It’s fantastic and includes video footage of Rogers’ tout performance and interviews with his former business associates, guys with names like Mike “The Animal” Mumbauer.
John Edens, one of Rogers’ past associates and a veteran of the pick-selling side of things, even admitted in the story that, “that successful tout services, including his own, frequently relied on bogus marketing claims, with handicappers often exaggerating their success rates. In sworn depositions, he testified that Leta and similar services profited at the expense of “compulsive gamblers.”
According to the report, Rogers spent more than a decade working in the sports betting industry. He was marketed as one of the world’s premier handicappers, a seasoned pro of more than a decade. The NCAA included him on its gambling blacklist. He appeared on tout shows as late as 2001.
One Las Vegas professional gambler described Rogers as a “boiler-room specialist.”
“My job was limited to television and voicework, which was the nature of my business,” Rogers wrote in an email to Atlanta Unfiltered. “I did not pick games, I was given a script.”
In 2002, Chip Rogers opened his first campaign account and was elected to the Georgia General Assembly of the House or Representatives. In 2004, he was elected to the Georgia Senate — and in 2009 a man–who spent a decade preying on naïve consumers by pretending to be something he wasn’t–was unanimously chosen as the Senate Majority Leader of Georgia.
Anyone interested in a movie script or book? I’m available.