Is Illegal Online Gambling Staying Completely Offshore? | The Fantasy Sports Gamble | FRONTLINE | PBS

In 2006, Congress handed a legislation meant to rein within the massive enterprise of on-line playing, however a brand new investigation finds that just about a decade later, offshore gaming websites aren’t solely nonetheless thriving, however in some instances routing essential parts of their operations by means of gear housed on United States soil.

The investigation — a part of a collaboration between The New York Instances and FRONTLINE — focuses on Pinnacle Sports activities, a massively profitable Web sports-gambling agency that till just lately was headquartered in Curacao, the place on-line betting is authorized. Regardless of its offshore location, although, the investigation discovered that:

Pinnacle, together with different playing websites, had quietly developed a direct digital presence in the US, permitting it to speak rapidly with its potential clients … What number of of Pinnacle’s customers are literally betting or just visiting the location can’t be identified. What is obvious, although, is that by 2014, huge quantities of playing knowledge, as soon as housed legally offshore, have been being delivered to the US from gear in New York, Miami, Chicago, Dallas and elsewhere. This represented a brand new and pervasive home presence, one which investigators have largely ignored.

In a press release, Pinnacle mentioned that it had “pulled out of the US in 2007,” and since then had “by no means knowingly taken bets from the US. However American and European investigators have decided that since 2007, the location has had hundreds of betting clients within the U.S.

In 2012, a few of these clients have been the main focus of a money-laundering investigation by the Queens district lawyer’s workplace. The probe led to costs towards 25 folks in reference to offshore sports activities books, although Pinnacle itself was not charged.

“There have been hundreds of accounts,” the bureau chief for the workplace’s rackets division mentioned. “We had 25, however we might have charged 125 folks.”

Nonetheless, the continued success of websites like Pinnacle, and the struggles of investigators to sluggish them, is elevating questions on how greatest to police the business. As The Instances notes:

For years, offshore sports activities books like Pinnacle have used expertise and different means to maintain prosecutors at bay. In the US, area brokers are arrested, cash is forfeited and the unlawful playing rings are seemingly dismantled. But they rise once more, with completely different avenue troopers and a brand new arsenal of deception. The one fixed is the Web, which permits for the digital mind of those sports activities books to evolve, past the attain of American prosecutors.

This sample raises a persistent query: Are the successes of legislation enforcement tantamount to slicing off a lizard’s tail solely to see it develop once more, and if that’s the case, is the battle even value combating? Is the higher manner — with playing more and more woven into the material of American sports activities — to easily legalize it so it may be regulated?

The story is the second in a sequence of studies by The Instances in collaboration with FRONTLINE concerning the extremely profitable, but extremely murky world of on-line playing — which the 2 organizations will discover in a documentary airing on FRONTLINE in Winter 2016. Earlier this month, the investigation tracked how efforts to manage the business helped give rise to the flourishing enterprise of day by day fantasy sports activities betting.


Jason M. Breslow

Jason M. Breslow, Former Digital Editor

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