The OG News family has a sad loss to report. Robert Mann, who covered horse racing for OnlineGambling.com, died of a heart attack either Sunday or Monday, at age 68. He had submitted a story from his home in Las Vegas late Sunday afternoon — about a winning horse named Higher Power.
In his nearly a year of writing for OG News, Mann helped bring a struggling but significant sport to life for us. He was passionate about racing and betting on horses, and in the process taught us about Kentucky Derby preps and the associated points race, historic horse racing machines and their role in gambling expansion, efforts to get to the bottom of the Santa Anita horse deaths, and changes to the sport as a result.
Mann spent his last weekend at the Del Mar Race Track outside San Diego, where he reportedly returned home a jubilant winner.
Journalism Meets Sports Betting
A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Mann worked as a professional journalist for more than 35 years, including stints as a reporter at the Chicago Tribune and National Enquirer, and in news management at CNN.
Upon settling in Las Vegas, he founded Nevada Parlay Cards, a betting supply company that gave him a behind-the-scenes look at sportsbook operations.
He continued to work as a journalist, writing for Gaming Today, Sports Handle, and OnlineGambling.com. He also made appearances on VSiN (the Vegas Stats & Information Network) satellite radio, where he shared insightful nuggets of Las Vegas betting lore.
On Monday, the Las Vegas chapter of the Northwestern alumni club was hosting a meet-and-greet with two prominent NU journalism alums — Hall of Fame broadcaster Brent Musberger and Bill Adee, COO of VSiN — to discuss sports betting and the emergent media covering it.
“Bob was there for the launch of VSiN (in 2017). We hit it off right away,” Adee said of Mann, calling him a “journalist’s journalist” whom he quickly came to admire for his coverage of the sports betting industry,
When Mann didn’t show up for the VSiN meet-and-greet, which he helped organize, people grew understandably concerned. Not too long after, friends and family would discover that he had died from a sudden, massive heart attack.
‘A Man’s Man’
NU Club of Las Vegas President Kenneth Mayer told OG News, “Bob was a great person to know and talk to, always willing to help out any way he could.” In addition to the VSiN event, Mann had been ginning up enthusiasm for a group of Northwestern alumni in Nevada and California to meet in Palo Alto for the 2019 college football season opener against #25 Stanford on Aug. 31.
“He had friends all around the country, which is a testament to what type of person he was,” Mayer said.
Mann got married somewhat later in life, at age 48, and had no children. He is survived by his wife Sondra Lynch, who described her husband as a “kind and loving soul.” The two met 20 years ago at the Las Vegas Sporting Club, a sprawling gym and athletics center on Industrial Blvd., behind the Strip.
“He was a man’s man,” she said, explaining that he had a heart condition he kept mostly to himself. “He was good to everybody.”