The District Attorney for New York County has announced the indictment of three individuals for running an online sports betting software firm. Robert Stuart, his wife Susanne Stuart, her brother Patrick Read and their Payson, Arizona-based Extension Software Inc. have been charged with promoting gambling in the first degree. The indictment follows similar charges brought on Wednesday by the District Attorney for Queens County, New York against Cantor Gaming sportsbook director Michael Colbert and 24 other individuals in connection with an online sportsbetting ring. The Stuarts were arrested in New York late last week.
Extension Software supplied bookmakers with a product called Action Sportsbook International (ASI), which Extension’s website describes as “a collaboration of experienced sportsbook operators and seasoned developers.” The Extension website also touts the company’s “twelve years in the international gaming software market.” iGamingSuppliers.com lists 13 companies utilizing ASI software, including Heritage Sports, 5Dimes and WagerWeb.
It’s worth noting that none of ASI’s licensees are located within the United States and all are operating legally with gaming licenses issued from the jurisdictions in which they reside. The New York DA’s action recalls the US Attorney for Maryland’s indictment of individuals connected to ThrillX Systems, a Canadian-based company that provided software support for BetEd, one of the sportsbooks targeted on Blue Monday.) One wonders exactly how far US law enforcement officials intend to stretch the definition of ‘promoting’ gambling – are mainstream media sites that routinely publish betting lines and columns in which touts recommend winners the next to be indicted?
Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said the Extension defendants “abetted large-scale illegal gambling in the US and abroad. In doing so, they gave bettors an easy way to place illegal wagers, and created an appetite for further unlawful activity.” The DA claims software licensing deals generated at least $2.3m for the defendants over the past three years, although sources told the New York Post the haul was ’10 times that.’ The DA claims this $2.3m was the “direct proceeds of illegal, US-based bookmaking operations” in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. The authorities have further alleged that New York organized crime outfits made use of the software, netting them over a billion dollars in illicit proceeds.