A gambling bust in Florida has nine men jailed for an operation based around youth football games.
Seattle Morning News hosts Tom Tangney and John Curley say “of course it’s wrong, but…” Both acknowledge they’ve placed sports bets. Curley says he’s even guilty of getting his 10-year-old in on the action.
“Charlie, my daughter, is 10. We sit at my son’s baseball games,” says Curley. “Chuck, my daughter, has to sit there, and she’s bored out of her mind, but I want her to come so I bring 30 $1 bills. I hand her $15. I’ve got $15. I say, ‘Are you ready to go?’ She says, ‘Yeah let’s go.’ I say, ‘Ok, ready, ball or strike?’ She says, ‘I don’t know, ball,’ so she throws a dollar down on the bleacher. I bet against her and she gets $2.”
With money involved, Curley says his daughter hangs on every play. “The game goes by so fast.”
Tom, also an avid sports fan, says he understands the power of money in pulling in those who may not be interested in the sporting match itself.
“I had a bunch of cousins and siblings that maybe weren’t that interested in sports, but I’d say ‘Listen, we’re all going to be equal here, we’re all going to put in our money, it’s a random guess,,” says Tom. “It was amazing. I would have my female cousins get so into these games because there was money on the line.”
Tom turned his cousins into temporary sports fans and he says having something on the line really amps up interest for everyone.
“All of a sudden, you’re involved in the game,” says Curley. Who adds that a parent who has a little money on the line may be a much better cheerleader.
“Now you are really cheering,” says Curley. “The kid looks up and goes ‘God, Dad is really into it today.'”
Authorities in the South Florida case are reportedly worried that betting on games can lead to violence and other crimes. Police discovered the stakes on pee wee games in the area were high, with more than $100,000 wagered on the youth football championship.
Tom and Curley both incorporated disclaimers throughout their discussion “again we both agree it’s wrong. It’s terrible,” Curley says. But Tom concludes there are good and bad sides to everything.
“You create interest in a sport for someone who is disinclined to be interested, and you may give them a gambling addiction, but at least they learned how the game works,” says Tom. “There’s risk in everything you do.”