Roenick's gambling habits under scrutiny
Flyers' Roenick acknowledges betting on sports: As investigators sifted through mounds of evidence from a Florida sports-gambling operation, they were startled to recognize the name of one of the firm's clients — Philadelphia Flyers center Jeremy Roenick.
They found records showing Roenick was paying large sums to National Sports Consultants, an operation that made millions by selling sports-betting tips to gamblers, law-enforcement officials said.
Roenick paid the firm "somewhere north of $100,000," said Lee County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Johnston, who worked with the FBI on the case. Eleven of the firm's handicappers, or "touts," have pleaded guilty to federal gambling charges. They got in trouble for falsely claiming to have inside information about games and for taking kickbacks from offshore Internet casinos.
After the FBI raided the Fort Myers, Fla.-based service in April, investigators started asking questions about Roenick, trying to find out whether he had bet on the Flyers or any other NHL team. They dropped their inquiry after finding no evidence that he had.
In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Roenick acknowledged that he was a client of the firm and had bet on sports for years. But he disputed the $100,000 figure, saying he had paid the Fort Myers operation much less for tips. He said his total bets were between $50,000 and $100,000.
"I enjoyed it, but I don't think I had a problem," Roenick said. "I shut it off cold turkey."
Roenick said he stopped gambling in January after a warning from Flyers general manager Bob Clarke, who had heard locker-room chatter that Roenick was betting on sports. Roenick, 34, said the Flyers did not know about his association with the Florida service.
Unlike the NFL, the NHL does not ban players from betting on team sports — other than hockey — or associating with gamblers.
Roenick said he believes other professional athletes regularly bet on sports.
"I think it goes through all sports, but who knows?" he said. "I just hope and pray that no one is stupid enough to bet on the sport they're involved in."
Roenick said he never bet on hockey, and never talked to the Florida touts about hockey.
"Never, no way. It never came up. Never once in a conversation," Roenick said. "Never, never, never. I can't stress never enough."
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