The news continues to break, the speculation continues to swirl. The investigation continues to move forward.
Thursday, the District Attorney in Queens, N.Y., revealed that he had indicted 25 people following a sweeping, 18-month investigation that spanned five states. There were a lot of charges, all complicated and official sounding, which seemed to be pulled from a John Gotti movie. But they all mean the same thing: These guys got pinched for illegal sports betting.
The DA's tally of skins includes:
• The owners of Pinnacle, one of the sharpest offshore sports books in the world.
• The sports book director for Cantor gaming, one of the newest, most influential betting companies in Nevada.
• Stopping an operation that had made $50M in the past 18 months.
• Collecting, for now, property as well as $7.6 million in cash and gambling chips.
Those are big numbers. Intimidating numbers. And there has been big talk from the authorities. Said NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, "The defendants in this case gambled and lost that their illegal activities would fly under the radar."
The details laid out by investigators painted a pretty dirty picture of wire rooms and bouncing servers being utilized by guys with names like Spanky and Fats. "Law enforcement crackdowns on traditional mob-run wire rooms have led to the use by illegal gambling rings of offshore gambling websites where action is available around the clock."
The only thing less surprising than the cliché of it all was the fact this is happening. It's estimated there is as much as $500 billion a year wagered illegally on sports nationwide. One bust of one Internet site isn't going to stop that. As the news continues to break, speculation continues to swirl and the investigation continues to move forward, the bets will continue to be made. Illegally.