Larceny Games; Sports Gambling, Game Fixing And The FBI

November 1, 2022

Let me start by saying that I played a lot of sports in High School, some I liked, some I didn’t.
When the coaches kept chasing me down I agreed to try Football, even though I didn’t give a shit about Football.
One of my good friends was a star on the team. He decided to quit the team, partly because of abusive coaches. One afternoon, he told us he was going to the coaches office to say he was quitting. We all waited in terror.

Well, about 45 minutes later, he came out of the office, looking stunned.
We all asked what happened, and this is what he said:
The coach offered him a car and a girl to stay on the team.
He declined, but said he would finish out the season.

This was my first experience with corruption in sports.

Not long ago, I heard author Brian Tuohy on a podcast, and he said that sometimes High School is the age where coaching staff determines if a kid can be influenced and eventually corrupted. The practice would then be mirrored throughout the athletes career.

I picked up a copy of Tuohy’s book “Larceny Games” – which sat on a shelf until I was good and ready to get into it. Personally, I can not stand the hype surrounding professional sports, but I am fascinated with corruption in pro-sports, and there is plenty of it.

Tuohy went through dozens of personal interviews, countless FBI files, and other available research to demonstrate how organized crime gets it’s claws into sports teams of all kinds.
Most of this involves “fixing” matches and games, often involving subtle “point shaving” which allows gamblers in the know to bet on the “point spread” for a win.

Tuohy points out that while many people consider gambling to be a “victim-less crime”, he suggests that the income stream allows organized crime (read Mafia, mob) to move on to extortion, murder and other crimes. Not only that, the hapless consumers – sports fanatics – are defrauded in their beliefs about their heroic teams.

A major enforcement change occurred when Reagan cut back FBI investigations into sports gambling and bookmaking as a favor to Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt. (Nevada – casinos, Mafia, betting, etc.)
How’s that for corruption at the highest levels of government?

On page 232 author Tuohy writes:
“Unlike baseball, though, gamblers and drug dealers seemed to have better luck infiltrating an NBA player’s life in order to get him to do their bidding.
Tuohy makes a case that 75% of NBA players were on drugs in the 1980’s.
Despite the astronomic paychecks pro athletes receive, he names cases where the star has blown all his money, maybe got hooked on cocaine, or had an affair and could be blackmailed. Athletes are risk-takers by nature, and often develop gambling habits that can be exploited.

Every sport, or for that matter anything that a bet can be placed on – is a target for organized crime.
This does not mean just American team sports, but sports as diverse as tennis, European soccer, and more. Absolutely anything that can be bet on in casinos, betting parlors in Europe and Asia, and now internet gambling.

Tuohy makes a point that the fewer the players on a team, the better the edge for gamblers in-the-know. For instance, if you corrupt just one player on a basketball team, you control 20% of that team.
Sports with single athletes, like boxing and tennis.. well.
Even if the sports teams themselves are not corrupted, there are always the referees. That is a whole new angle.

My copy of “Larceny Games” is full of margin notes and bookmarks for quotes. Looking at Tuohy’s website, he has now written four books.

You can find his website “The Fix Is In” here:

And, as Tuohy states on the website;

Would you leave a multi-billion dollar industry up to chance?

– John Titus

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3 Responses to Larceny Games; Sports Gambling, Game Fixing And The FBI

  1. Fayez Abedaziz on November 13, 2022 at 3:04 am

    This is a good article about the book here and it’s subject matter.
    Since I was, oh I’d say an ‘old’ and ‘wise’ third grader, I thought and still do, that there’s something…make that somethings funny, weird and quite unnatural about so many Americans and their ‘fandom,’ often taken to extremes in watching and devotions to teams and games.
    Shallow is the word that has always been in my mind, when we think, study and talk about so many American’s meindsets and character.
    It’s like they really have nothing to believe in, their minds are
    narrow when they spend time and money on sports games like football and basketball. Beer, brats, sportsbars, team jerseys and more.
    It’s one thing to watch a game or ten and talk competition (I have thought that, at least NFL football is akin to battle tactics and strategy) and is fun to discuss and follow a team one likes.
    But, sports in general are mostly escapes, like playing video games and bing watching (and, often, drinking) on screens.
    What does it tell you when athletes that bounce balls and run or throw, catch balls and run, are given tens of millions for several years of playing? That right there should have you think about this weird, phony ‘culture.’

  2. Tex Renegade on November 24, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    Just think how the recent transformation of collegiate sports, which now allows players to be compensated for the value of the player’s “name, image, and likeness,” is going to change college sports.

    It’s recipe for disaster/perfect storm that is brewing!

  3. Fayez Abedaziz on November 28, 2022 at 11:09 pm

    Good point there, Tex.
    As if giving all of those ignorant College/University players free everything isn’t enough: everything. These Aholes never had it so good, from food to lodging and so on.
    And, what about these low IQ athletes continuing to committ crimes at the campuses and when they go to the NFL?
    What a nasty, stupid culture.
    By the way, these low lifes… graduate from college? Heh

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    Let me start by saying that I played a lot of sports in High School, some I liked, some I didn’t. When the coaches kept chasing me down I agreed to try Football, even though I didn’t give a shit about Football. One of my good friends was a star on the team. He decided […]