Florida Sports Bettor Loses Nearly $100K In Scam From Illegal Bookie

Written By JR Duren on August 24, 2022
Florida man is out $100K from a betting scam

A sure thing in gambling is always a sure thing … until it isn’t. A Florida man is out $100K from a betting scam.

Florida sports betting isn’t legal yet. It was for a brief time last November, but lawsuits left the industry in limbo until at least early 2023.

Even though the practice is illegal, many Floridians still will wager with unregulated bookies. And sometimes those bookies are scammers.

That’s a lesson a Naples man learned the hard way. Earlier this year, the unnamed bettor placed tens of thousands of dollars worth of wagers on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

His bookie called it a guaranteed bet. But it wasn’t. It turned out to be a scam.

A Florida man is out $100,000 from a betting scam

Sometime around March Madness, the man gave a bookie nearly $100,000 for what the bookie called a guaranteed bet that would double his money. The bookie didn’t double his money. He made it disappear. The chances he’ll get it back are pretty slim, Naples Police Department Lt. Bryan McGinn told WFLA.

“(The bookie) got them to give them money, and by doing so, you just did that – you essentially gave them money. And it’s going to be hard to prove, it’s going to be hard to investigate …. a he said, she said event occurred. It’s a scam. It’s a fraud.”

The lieutenant repeated the adage that many a scammed soul has learned: “If it sounds too good to be true … it probably is.”

What the scam teaches about responsible betting

Because sports betting is illegal in Florida, offshore betting sites and bookies have a wide market they can take advantage of. But that’s not necessarily the issue. What’s more important for bettors to know is that offshore betting and bookies are unregulated.

They don’t play by the same rules that US operators have to play by. A bookie or offshore betting site is under no obligation to pay you back. And as McGinn said, bookie thievery is hard to prosecute.

Three options for sports betting

Mississippi and Tennessee

If you like betting on sports, you have some options.

The impractical option is to drive to Mississippi or Tennessee to place a sports bet. However, if you live in Miami, you’ll probably not want to make the 13-hour drive to Tennessee or the 11-hour trek to Mississippi to place a sports bet in a casino.

If you’re in Pensacola, it’s a different story. Driving to a retail sportsbook in Biloxi will take you just under two hours. If you make that trip, remember to bet with money you can afford to lose.

Horse tracks

The next option is to bet on horse racing at any of Florida’s horse tracks or off-track betting sites. This option is likely not appealing to football, baseball or basketball fans.

However, it provides live race action.

Daily fantasy sports

The final option would be to play any number of daily fantasy sports contests available in Florida. Several apps allow you to wager money on player performances.

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JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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