Yesterday saw the US Department of Justice indict more internet gambling sites and their businesses for “running an illegal gambling business and money laundering”. A federal grand jury in Baltimore, Maryland has charged 2 gambling businesses along with 3 defendants as a result.
11 bank accounts, which were found in Charlotte (North Carolina), Guam, Panama, Malta, Portugal and the Netherlands, were seized along with the following 10 domain names: Bookmaker.com, 2Betsdi.com, Funtimebingo.com, TruePoker.com, Betmaker.com, Betgrandesports.com, Doylesroom.com, Betehorse.com and Beted.com.
As with the indictments on Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, if anyone tries to access those domains, they will be presented with a notice from the US Department of Justice to inform them that the domain has been seized.
US Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, who was in charge or leading the indictments, said “it is illegal for internet gambling enterprises to do business in Maryland, regardless of where the website operator is located”. He went on to say that they “cannot allow foreign website operators to flout the law simply because their headquarters are based outside the country”.
Special Agent William Winter (who was involved in the process) said “these indictments are the direct result of impressive undercover investigative work” by their agents. The Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore, Maryland created and run an undercover payment processor business called Linwood Payment Solutions. This payment processor allowed the US DOJ to deal directly with gambling operators as well for them to see how they process and collect payment data from the banks. Linwood Payment Solutions has been processing gambling transactions for BetEd since 2009 for example.
Special Agent William Winter, who is in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore went on to say that “the proceeds from illegal Internet gambling are often used to fuel organized crime and support criminal activity”. More worryingly, he stated that “together, with our law enforcement partners, we will disrupt and dismantle organizations that commit these crimes, regardless of their location, whether here in the United States or abroad”.
IRS Special Agent Rebecca A. Sparkman summed it up by saying the following: “Laundering money from illegal activity such as illegal internet gambling is a crime. Regardless of how the money changes hands – via cash, check, wire transfers or credit cards – and regardless of where the money is stored – in a United States financial institution or an offshore bank – we will trace the funds. IRS Criminal Investigation will vigorously investigate and recommend prosecution against the owners and operators of these illegal enterprises to the fullest extent possible.”
The US Department of Justice as you can see is not messing about. They have set up a fake payment processor company to interact with gambling operators who they deem illegal. Following the indictments of Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker last month, we believe this is only the beginning for the US DOJ as they will go after all gambling operators who are taking US players.
Be sure to come back to Casino Manual for further updates on this ground-breaking story.