Controversy as sordid past of $1.6m punter comes to light

Questions have been raised over an American punter's AU$1.65 million win on Tiger Woods's Masters victory.

Woods won the Augusta major for the first time in 14 years, marking his first major tournament win in 11 years.

Wisconsin native James Adducci, 39, was the second big winner out of the event after placing an AU$120,000 bet on Woods earlier this month.

Believe it or not, Adducci said it was also his first ever sports bet.

The company who paid out the win, William Hill US in Las Vegas, called it their “biggest lost ever".

Adducci told Golf Digest that he had planned to place the bet about a month before doing it, and that he cleared it with his wife first before he grabbed a flight to Las Vegas with “everything I had that I could afford to lose".

James Adducci won AU$1.65m betting on Tiger Woods to win the Masters. Pic: Getty

“She said to me, ‘I can’t stop you from doing this, because if he wins, I’ll never forgive myself. She’s a keeper," he told Golf Digest.

Once he got the clear, Adducci flew to Vegas and withdrew the US$85,000 in cash from a bank and put it into a backpack he purchased at a Walmart, jumped into a shared Lyft ride to find a casino that would accept his bet.

After two turned him down, according to Golf Digest, he landed at SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, which is run by William Hill. The rest, of course, is history.

Until today

Adducci, however, apparently has a lengthy criminal past – and William Hill’s refusal to comment on whether he was the subject of a background check has sparked a debate among sports fans.

According to a report from USA Today, Adducci:

  • Pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic abuse four times in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, in 2009, 2014 and 2016.

  • Was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in 2013, 2014 and 2017, however all of those charges were either dismissed or changed to lower level misdemeanors.

  • Was ordered by a judge to stay away from two different women at least three times each.

  • Was ordered by a judge to have “no contact” with a Best Western hotel in Rothschild, Wisconsin.

  • Is described as “a habitual offender” in La Crosse, Wisconsin, court documents multiple times.

  • Pleaded guilty to charges 12 times since 2006.

  • Served 30 days in jail for his second OWI arrest in 2015.

  • Served one day in jail for bail jumping in 2014.

  • Served one day in jail over disorderly conduct pleas in 2014.

A police report from November 2015, per the report, said that a domestic violence victim “stated James was going to strike her and had his hand back in a threatening posture”, and that “she was able to open her car door before James was able to hit her and dive out of the car”.

A William Hill spokesperson declined to comment to USA Today about any background check that the sportsbook ran on Adducci, only saying that “we respect the privacy of our customers”.

It’s not uncommon for sportsbook to run background checks on bettors before accepting large bets, especially from unknown bettors.

USA Today was also unable to find any record of Adducci being married, despite multiple interviews where he references his wife.

“This has nothing to do with (winning the bet),” Adducci told USA Today when he was asked about his criminal past.

“Check out the years of what you were talking about. OK.”

Adducci added: "Everyone and their brother can go online and look up anything they want, and I don’t give a (expletive).

"Obviously, I had $85,000 to place toward a bet. I have the ability to make $1.2 million. When was the last time you did that?

“If you want to get personal, who the hell are you to call me and think you have anything to ask me about anything?"

with Yahoo Sports US