UPDATE: Pinnacle released the following statement to the Associated Press: “Regarding the recent allegations surrounding the individuals allegedly affiliated with Pinnacle Sports, please be reassured that no Pinnacle Sports employees have been arrested or charged, and Pinnacle Sports itself was not charged in the indictment. We expect no interruptions to our day to day business activities at this time, and will continue to provide our clients the excellent value and service Pinnacle Sports has been known for.”
The Queens District Attorney’s office has shed more light on Wednesday’s arrests of Cantor Gaming sportsbook director Mike Colbert and other individuals in connection with an illegal sports betting operation involving online outfit Pinnacle Sports. Some 25 individuals in five states have been indicted on charges of enterprise corruption, money laundering, promoting gambling and conspiracy for using toll-free phone numbers and online betting sites – identified as pinnaclesports.com, jazzsports.net/com, wager4you.com and playhera.ag – to place wagers on behalf of bettors between April 13, 2011 and Oct. 18, 2012. If convicted, the suspects are potentially looking at 25 years in prison. (Read the 259-page, 225-count indictment here.)
Fifteen of the indicted individuals have been charged as ‘bookmakers’. Five other individuals are listed as ‘money collectors/agents’ based in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nevada. A further five are listed as ‘money collectors/distributors/banks’ based out of New York, New Jersey and Nevada.
Queens DA Richard A. Brown claims the betting operation – the 18-month investigation of which was dubbed ‘World Wide Wagers’ – netted its principals “more than $50 million in a year and a half” in “unlawfully earned profits” which “are often – and easily – diverted to more insidious criminal enterprises.” (Just like the knives in your kitchen drawer are often – and easily – diverted from slicing carrots to slicing someone’s jugular. But we digress…) The eight arrests made in Nevada have so far resulted in the seizure of $2.8m in cash and chips from homes, wagering accounts and safe deposit boxes. The arrests made in California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have thus far netted $7.8m in cash.
While initial reports sought to dismiss any connection between Colbert’s alleged illegal activities and Cantor Gaming, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Nevada Gaming Control Board is investigating Cantor for “possible regulatory violations.” Meanwhile, ‘Coltranedog’, a poster on the poker forum 2+2 known in real-life as feared NBA bettor Haralabos ‘Bob’ Voulgaris, recalled his personal experience betting with Cantor in Las Vegas, in which he claimed the company would “often deny my bets and then the lines at Pinnacle and a few other books would move instantaneously. I was betting through [Cantor’s] tablet and it was really frustrating, the little wheel on the tablet would spin, then the lines at books offshore would move and Cantor would refuse the bet. Someone at Cantor was either betting these other books or giving info to others to go out and bet the games.”