Casino Watch Focus reported that a terrible youth football gambling ring had been exposed by ESPN. The community was shocked to learn the magnitude and severity of such gambling in the community. They learned that kids were being bribed or paid to play for certain teams, families were being taken advantage of and the game was being tainted by the lowest of criminals. Local law enforcement immediately went on the offensive and began in-depth investigations in hopes of ending this travesty. Eighteen months later and the Orlando Sentinel is reporting on the details of investigation:
Investigators said bets were taken at a Lauderhill barber shop, and two coaches are accused of betting on point spreads before kids’ games. The nine arrestees’ common bond was their roles as youth football coaches and assistants.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office conducted “Operation Dirty Play” with Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill police, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service. Fort Lauderdale police began surveillance in 2011 to end the betting and drinking, drug use and fighting that a police spokesman said was happening at pee wee games at the time.
According to one of the arrest warrants, amounts wagered in advance of the little league football Super Bowl meant more than $100,000 to the winner, and coaches would actively place bets against an opposing team.
The Florida Youth Football League is has nearly 4,000 youth players from 16 cities. Not all of the coaches are involved in nefarious gambling acts with their players, but the league maintains a zero tolerance policy. The Sentinel continues:
South Florida Youth Football’s president, Mike Spivey, did not return calls or email seeking comment. The league’s website says coaches who gamble, recruit kids or pay them to play or hit other players will be banned for life.
The league is one of a half-dozen in South Florida that organize thousands of kids from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties into football teams.
“It’s disappointing anytime we have role models that get arrested,” said Ross Sinel, president of American Youth Football League. “But there are a lot of good coaches who give back to their communities and teach kids discipline, structure, how to win and lose, and how to achieve.”
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