Beloved Industry Figure, Gambling911 Reporter Sparky Collins (Angelo Cordero) has Passed Away

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

A beloved fashion photographer and reporter for the website, Angelo Cordero, has passed away from a sudden heart attack in the early morning hours Wednesday April 5, 2023 we are saddened to report.

For G911 readers and the online gambling industry, Angelo was best known as Sparky Collins. 

Angleo, who was a regular fixture at Fashion Week in Miami Beach, was a friend long before he assumed the role of Sparky.

He had escaped Cuba by intertube (a true story), a 90 mile journey.  A previous attempt failed but the second time was a success.

At the time, the US Government had in place a "Wet foot, dry foot" policy for Cubans arriving on US soil.  They immediately were granted asylum once stepping foot in the US.

(above) Angelo insisted on going to a local restaurant dressed as Sparky Collins during his first ever shoot

"They gave us money too," Angelo once quipped.

The character of Sparky Collins was introduced as part of the family of reporters in the mid 2000's in an effort to promote and embrace alternative lifesyles in the online gambling space.  The transgender character was created to report on entertainment stories and would go on to became a hit.  The problem, readers wanted to become better acquainted with Sparky, but we did not have anyone to play him.

So one day a colleague of the G911 website, Tommy Jensen, decided the big burly masculine Angelo would take a set of photographs featuring three different scenes after being offered a payment.  Angelo was presented with three different outfits that Yours Truly had to try on in Marshall's while folks walked by the clothing racks pointing and giggling.

"We need to do this in a one day-long shoot, get around three of them with different scenes, and spread the photos out over a year since he will never do this again," Tommy advised.  




Angelo arrived with his friend, a makeup artist.  We knew after the first scene this might not exactly be going according to plan....well, in a good way.  Angelo had amassed a crowd as we photographed him standing atop a lifeguard and another laying out on the beach.

After Scene 1 it was time for a lunch break down the street so we told Angelo he could come back to the condo and change into his regular clothing.

"Can't I go like this?" he asked.

Tommy and I just looked at each other in complete shock, realizing we had just created a monster.

Needless-to-say, the next trip to Marshall's took about two hours as we were planning to introduce Sparky to the world during an industry conference in the Bahamas.  It was Angelo trying on all the clothing, and the shoes.  Leaving that Marshall's there was a terrible storm and we were all nearly struck by lightning.  The lightning strkes all around us did not phase Angelo.  I, on the other hand, thought I was going straight to Hell.







While in the Bahamas, Angelo was officially introduced as Sparky Collins, donning a green gown.  Everybody flocked to him to have their picture taken.  No longer did he require a makeup artist, Angelo would just throw on his outfit, some lipstick, and what we rerferred to as his 'Cindy Brady wig', complete with the pigtails.  He did not even shave his hairy body.

Not all gaming industry folks were on board with the character however.

We got word that one old school sportsbook operator and a long time friend of Angelo's would regularly tell folks "this was not good to have someone like this representing the industry".

Sparky was way ahead of his time, a trailblazer and perhaps the first reporter presented in drag.  The sportsbook industry was full of old time bookies who weren't exactly embracing of having a person like this joining the fray.

The second day in the Bahamas, Sparky, dressed as a woman and in his wig, caught the attention of a Playboy model while hanging at the pool.  The two exchanged numbers and Sparky's sportsbook operator friend was quite impressed.

"This Sparky thing might not be so bad after all," the old school sportsbook operator relayed to Sparky.

Later that night the three met up at the darkened pool.  The sportsbook operator was said to be so excited because he apparently believed this would be an easy ticket for him to enjoy the company of a Playboy model.  Instead, Sparky made love to the Playboy model in the dark pool while wearing his wig and as his sportsbook operator friend stood there looking dumbfounded.  When the two were finished, the Playboy model swam off.  That sportsbook operator never again questioned Sparky's street cred.

He was such a hit, we even had Angelo campaign for Matti Bauer, who would go on to become Miami Beach's first Cuban American female Mayor.  He'd run around the main thorofare, Collins Avenue, for which Sparky is named after, chasing down cars with Matti Bauer signs.

One of my fondest memories of Angelo was when I'd post signs in my building in Spanish using a pretty bad translating system.  One was supposed to be a notice advising residence to collect their large items for a bulk trash pickup.

"What's this boss?" Sparky blurted out laughing while pointing at the notice on the elevator.  "YOU OUT WITH THE BIG TRASH!"

Another notice was advising that a gate had been erected in the back alley to prevent illegal dumping and drug addicts from shooting up.

"Your sign," Sparky laughed.  "It reads that drug addicts are being shot up in the back alleyway."

Even after Angelo moved to Puerto Rico to pursue his love of ocean big wave photography, he would often still dress as Sparky.  He even once had someone photograph him scuba diving with his Sparky Collins wig on, a photo that would go on to become iconic.

Angelo (Sparky) we will all miss you so very much.  You were such an intergral part of the family.  Our prayers go out to his family back in Cuba along with his adult daughter who he loved dearly.  Angelo was 55 at the time of his passing.


- Chris Costigan, Publisher

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