Illegal sportsbetting operations, such as the Superbowl betting party in Markham a few months ago, are making international headlines due to the reputations of the online gambling domains. The US Justice Department made a similar raid on an illegal betting site this week, which reinforce the fact that online gambling and sportsbetting laws in the US are among the harshest in the world.
The site in question is online sportsbetting site Legendz Sports, which is run by Bartrice Alan King, nicknamed “Luke.” King, originally from Texas, first established Legendz within Costa Rica, and accepted online and over the phone bets from US citizens. When authorities were closing in on the site, Legendz was relocated to Panama, in which authorities accepted over $1 billion in bets from the US.
Dozens of online casinos allow American gamblers to access their domains, but US authorities typically have little power to force these sites to cease and desist. Online gambling operators who house their servers outside US jurisdiction are able to elude the American gambling laws, and continue their businesses free of prosecution. However, since King is originally from Texas and therefore, an American citizen, the Justice Department is free to pursue charges.
Judges issued warrants for the arrests of 34 individuals, including King, along with 23 major companies on grounds of racketeering, money laundering, and operating an illicit online sportsbetting site. Federal attorney Sanford Coats says the charges will send a message to American and foreign sportsbetting operators that until the laws are amended, the US is off limits for online gambling.
“The defendants cannot hide the allegedly illegal sports gambling operation behind corporate veils or state and international boundaries.”
Authorities arrested 22 of the charged individuals thus far, but King is not among them as of yet.