Italian authorities have broken up another illegal online betting and poker ring, the second operation of its kind this year.
On Thursday, Italian media sources reported that police had rumbled a Salerno-based criminal organization that operated at least 11 illegal gambling sites from servers based outside the country. The operation is said to be linked to the Naples-based Camorra crime organization.
According to the local Guardia di Finanza, the poker site operators reportedly employed a variety of rigging tools – including bots – to ensure customers’ chances of winning big pots were kept to the bare minimum.
The list of online sites involved in Thursday’s action includes dgbpoker.com, pkgambling373.com, pkwildpoker.net, betfaktor.com, planetwin365.com and betaland.com, along with five derivatives of the Malta-licensed Betaland brand (new1betaland.com, new2, etc.).
Austria’s SKS365 Group, which owns Planetwin365, has strongly rejected any suggestion of negative involvement on its part, noting that Planetwin365 holds an official Italian gaming license and that the criminals arrested on Thursday had “exploited the reputation” of the brand to carry out their illicit activities.
Similarly, OIA Services Ltd, which owns Betaland, has denied reports of its involvement, noting that the police list of websites associated with the ring that included a Betaland extension were “rightly already darkened to access, as unlicensed.” The company also claims its Betaland.com site had been closed to Italian punters as of January 2015.
Eight suspects, including alleged ringleader Antonio Contaldo, have been detained by police while a further 10 have been placed under house arrest. A total of 64 suspects are being investigated on suspicion of illegal gambling and criminal conspiracy.
The police operation was dubbed ‘Jamm Jamm’ in part due to the gang’s reported investment in a discotheque of the same name in the town of San Valentino. Said disco is now under police control, one of 23 businesses – including an illegal dentist’s office – the authorities seized via their action on Thursday.
The Jamm Jamm operation reportedly involved the use of land-based terminals in internet cafes known as data transmission centers (CTD), which offered access to the illegal sites. In January, Italian police shut down a similarly mobbed-up ring that used 12k land-based terminals to connect to gambling site DollaroPoker, which was registered in Romania.