Is Illegal Online Gambling Staying Completely Offshore? | The Fantasy Sports Gamble | FRONTLINE | PBS


In 2006, Congress handed a legislation meant to rein within the large enterprise of on-line playing, however a brand new investigation finds that almost a decade later, offshore gaming websites are usually not solely nonetheless thriving, however in some circumstances routing essential components of their operations by gear housed on United States soil.

The investigation — a part of a collaboration between The New York Instances and FRONTLINE — focuses on Pinnacle Sports activities, a massively profitable Web sports-gambling agency that till just lately was headquartered in Curacao, the place on-line betting is authorized. Regardless of its offshore location, although, the investigation discovered that:

Pinnacle, together with different playing websites, had quietly developed a direct digital presence in america, permitting it to speak shortly with its potential prospects … What number of of Pinnacle’s customers are literally betting or just visiting the positioning can’t be identified. What is evident, although, is that by 2014, huge quantities of playing knowledge, as soon as housed legally offshore, have been being delivered to america from gear in New York, Miami, Chicago, Dallas and elsewhere. This represented a brand new and pervasive home presence, one which investigators have largely neglected.

In an announcement, Pinnacle stated that it had “pulled out of america in 2007,” and since then had “by no means knowingly taken bets from america. However American and European investigators have decided that since 2007, the positioning has had 1000’s of betting prospects within the U.S.

In 2012, a few of these prospects have been the main target of a money-laundering investigation by the Queens district legal professional’s workplace. The probe led to expenses in opposition to 25 individuals in reference to offshore sports activities books, although Pinnacle itself was not charged.

“There have been 1000’s of accounts,” the bureau chief for the workplace’s rackets division stated. “We had 25, however we might have charged 125 individuals.”

Nonetheless, the continued success of web sites like Pinnacle, and the struggles of investigators to sluggish them, is elevating questions on how greatest to police the trade. As The Instances notes:

For years, offshore sports activities books like Pinnacle have used know-how and different means to maintain prosecutors at bay. In america, discipline brokers are arrested, cash is forfeited and the unlawful playing rings are seemingly dismantled. But they rise once more, with completely different road troopers and a brand new arsenal of deception. The one fixed is the Web, which permits for the digital mind of those sports activities books to evolve, past the attain of American prosecutors.

This sample raises a persistent query: Are the successes of legislation enforcement tantamount to reducing off a lizard’s tail solely to see it develop once more, and if that’s the case, is the battle even price combating? Is the higher method — with playing more and more woven into the material of American sports activities — to easily legalize it so it may be regulated?

The story is the second in a collection of stories by The Instances in collaboration with FRONTLINE concerning the extremely profitable, but extremely murky world of on-line playing — which the 2 organizations will discover in a documentary airing on FRONTLINE in Winter 2016. Earlier this month, the investigation tracked how efforts to manage the trade helped give rise to the flourishing enterprise of each day fantasy sports activities betting.


Jason M. Breslow

Jason M. Breslow, Former Digital Editor