Massachusetts authorities have indicted 33 individuals tied to a multimillion dollar pay-per-head online sports betting operation.
On Friday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced a 122-count indictment against 33 individuals connected with an illegal sports betting ring that utilized the Costa Rica-based Perhead.com site to track wagers.
Pay-per-head betting sites have become an increasingly popular option with credit bookmakers in the US. The sites, which have been described as ‘Quicken for bookies,’ charge US-based bookmakers a fee per client in exchange for registering and tracking individual bettors’ wagers and win/loss records. The sites don’t handle monetary transactions, as bets are settled up in person twixt bookie and client.
The operation, which was based out of East Boston and South Boston, reportedly handled about $6m in wagers between May 2014 and May 2015, while annual profits were said to be in excess of $3m. Investigators seized $450k in cash, six vehicles and three guns in the course of their arrests.
John Woodman, a 43-year-old Braintree resident, reportedly oversaw over 30 betting agents catering to more than 700 bettors in the state. Some bettors’ accounts were over $100k in the red when the authorities pounced, and the gang’s aggressive debt collection policies resulted in at least two bettors moving out of state.
Also indicted was Travis Prescott, who owns and operates the PerHead website. The business itself has been charged with money laundering, illegal gambling, conspiracy and other frowned upon behavior.
Healey has not been as dogged about going after other betting operators, such as Boston-based daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings. While Healey announced in September that she was “reviewing” DraftKings’ legal status, she followed that up a month later by saying she wasn’t pursuing a criminal case against the company.
On Monday, Healey told reporters that she was convinced that DFS was gambling, but “just because it’s gambling doesn’t make it illegal.” Healey has promised to release recommendations by year’s end on how DFS operators can “play by the set of rules that we want them to play by.”