Sports betting world rocked by scandal

The sports betting world, both online and in Las Vegas, was turned upside down Thursday when 25 individuals were indicted on gambling charges, including owners of the prominent offshore book PinnacleSports.com and Nevada bookmaker Mike Colbert of Cantor Gaming.

 

Queens County New York District Attorney Robert A. Brown announced the indictments at a Thursday morning press conference. The defendants face charges of enterprise corruption along with various additional charges of promoting gambling, money laundering, and conspiracy. They each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

 

PinnacleSports, JazzSports.net, Wager4You.com and Playhera.ag were all named in the indictment. Each site was still up and running Thursday night, except for Playhera.ag.

 

Stanley Tomchin and George Molsbarger of California, and Brandt England of Las Vegas were named in the indictment as owners of PinnacleSports, one of the most prominent online sportsbooks.

 

Colbert has been the sportsbook director of Cantor Gaming for four years. Cantor Gaming operates multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks, most notably the M Resort. He was arrested at 6 a.m. PT Wednesday at his Las Vegas house, according to Nevada Gaming Control.

 

“The defendants are accused of operating an incredibly lucrative illegal gambling operation – taking in more than $50 million in a year and a half,” District Attorney Brown said in a release. “Such unlawfully earned profits are often – and easily – diverted to more insidious criminal enterprises.

 

“Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime. Those who participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts and oftentimes charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts. In addition to our NYPD and FBI partners, I want to thank our other law enforcement and governmental colleagues and authorities in other states for their cooperation and efforts in this investigation. So massive was the enterprise that only with their assistance could we bring these defendants to justice.”

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