The police haven’t finished investigating an illegal Superbowl gambling party, according to York Regional Police Deputy Chief Bruce Herridge. Police have been conducting an ongoing investigation into the Platinum Sports Book online casino, and so far have connected the website to an organized crime ring – suspected to be the Hell’s Angels.
On February 3 the night of the Superbowl, York Regional Police raided a banquet hall in Markham where operators of the website hosted a private Superbowl party. Police seized an estimated $2.5 million in cash, seized the URL of the website, and charged six people with illegal bookmaking and conspiracy. Platinum reappeared under a new internet address off the coast of New Zealand only days after the raid, and police released the suspects on bail.
However, Deputy Herridge says this was a strategy to increase the scope of the investigation in order to charge more people for the illegal operation. The new raids conducted earlier this week were conducted under search warrants in the GTA and London, again tracking members of organized crime with connections in both communities. The new raids lead to 18 new suspects, who were each charged with conspiracy as part of a criminal organization and illegal bookmaking. Herridge says the new raids resulted in seizures of assets that will help uncover new secrets of this criminal organization.
“Approximately $1.6 million in cash, two handguns, a taser, numerous computers, cellphones, betting lists, ledgers, bank statements, drafts and documents relating to criminal organizations were seized.”
The RCMP was involved in the initial Superbowl raids as police suspected links to the Hell’s Angels, specifically the London chapter lead by Billy Miller. Herridge says the bikers intimidate gamblers who play on Platinum in order to collect the money, which is then used to fund a drug empire and illegal activities.
Police and casino experts have publicly stated if the government had legalized the single game sportsbetting prior to the Superbowl, these illegal operations would lose their business and organized crime would lose a significant stream of revenue.