If you managed to catch ESPN’s show Outside The Lines, you were exposed to a compelling story of how drug dealers and fans attending youth football leagues in South Florida are investing thousands of dollars in openly betting on the games of Pee-wee football.
Some of the games involved children as young as five years old!
The report showed that shockingly, coaches and players were being paid off for big performances and plays. There were even instances where point spreads were placed on youth league games. Parents and players were also paid to have certain talented kids play for the gambler’s favorite teams. To give an indication of just how lucrative the practice had become, the report described some winning pots reaching upwards of $75,000.
While this is alarming and disturbing to many, I can’t say that I’m surprised that this is happening. The report shows exactly what can happen when there is a lack of control over gambling. The fact is people love to gamble and though the ESPN report describes many of the participants as drug dealers, the bottom line is, this situation is made possible because of the lack of gambling regulation.
Anytime an activity that so many people engage in is labelled illegal, it opens the door to illegal activity, because people are bound to do what pleases them anyway. We see this all the time with marijuana and only now are some jurisdictions, mainly in Canada, beginning to address this issue.
I’m all for gambling, but it has to be done the right way, and one of the ways that is possible is if the state steps in and regulates it or if it is done at a federal level.
That said, betting on Pee-wee football games? Really? That’s beyond brutal. I guess the most frustrating part of this story to gambling proponents is that while injustices like this continue unchecked, a seemingly harmless practice of playing poker online garners FBI and DoJ attention.
Hopefully the NFL resolves its labour dispute so these people can get back to betting on real football and not on children.