An operative of a Costa Rica-based gambling website has been in South Florida for two months to try to talk WQAM-560 AM afternoon host Sid Rosenberg into making good on an alleged $44,500-gambling debt.
Frank Soviero, who says he works for www.1betvegas.com, tells Gossip Extra in an exclusive interview that he flew in from his home base in the Caribbean to cajole Rosenberg into paying for what he allegedly lost on dozens of NFL, MLB, WNBA, NHL and college football games.
Soviero’s still around, which means that Rosenberg isn’t paying — even after Soviero called station General Manager Joe Bell to complain.
Neither Rosenberg nor Bell returned repeated calls for comment and didnt’ respond to text messages.
“Obviously, we can’t sue Sid since what we do is illegal in the United States,” Soviero said one recent evening at Gulfstream Park. “I’ve tried everything. I met him once a week at Mardi Gras or here or at the Seminole Hard Rock. He comes up with a 100 bucks here and there, and he gives me a big hug.
“It ticks me off because I talked my boss in Costa Rica into giving Sid a few chances. My boss can’t return to the United States. I’ve seen him do things when he gets mad. But now that Sid ain’t paying, I want everybody to know.”
1betvegas.com allows Americans to do something that can’t be done on the up-and-up outside of Las Vegas: Place bets on sporting events throughout the world. The bets are phoned in to 800 lines or via computer with secret passwords that lead to individual accounts.
U.S. authorities believe that bets over the Internet are illegal and say members of the Mafia sometimes run the foreign-based sites.
Soverio’s story comes as Rosenberg is back behind his microphone after a six-week suspension. While neither Rosenberg nor his bosses discussed it, Gossip Extra revealed in December that the unpaid suspension was doled out on suspicions that Rosenberg was about to plug a gambling site on his popular afternoon show.
In exchange for the plug, the website’s owners were supposed to wipe Rosenberg’s losses, rumored to be over $100,000.
An insider told me at the time that the potentially illegal scheme was foiled when a WQAM employee found a fax that Rosenberg left behind.
“That’s wasn’t us,” Soviero said.
Soviero said he first met Rosenberg at Gulfstream one Sunday in early October. Because Rosenberg came recommended by another 1betvegas.com user, Soviero said the website extended Rosenberg a $25,000-credit.
“He wanted to start right away,” Soviero said. “I knew he did radio so I figured he was a little successful. I remember he put $6,000 on the 4 p.m. NFL games that day. By the end of the week, he had lost the $25,000. He was betting on 10-15 games a day, on just about any pro sport.
“He didn’t seem to know what he was doing. At one point, he put $1,000 on the first-half score of a Tampa Bay (NFL) game.”
A week later, Soviero said he cleared another $25,000-credit for Rosenberg. But the end of the second week, Soviero cut Rosenberg off. By then, he allegedly owed $44,500.
“I’ve tried to put him on a payment plan,” Soviero said, “but he says he can’t pay. His latest excuse was that (retired Miami Dolphins QB) Bernie Kosar was going to help him out. Everybody knows Bernie’s broke.
“Then he said his sister would help. She didn’t. Sid once gave me $100 and said he didn’t have enough left to put gas in his car to go home.”
Soviero said Rosenberg gave him $900 last month but, with tears in his eyes, Rosenberg reportedly told him it was the money he saved to take his children to Disney World!
“I mean Sid no harm, but if he had won $20,000, he’d have expected, and received, the money on the spot.”