January 28, 2013

KGC investigated BetUS ties with organized crime

Court papers related to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into BetWSC (World Sport Centre) and revelations from a later KGC inquiry into Kahnawake-licensed bookmakers exposed possible links between BetUS and the Canadian mafia.

In November 2012, the RCMP charged over 20 people for their roles in an illegal sports betting ring with alleged mafia ties. Two of the people charged at the end of 2012 had been arrested before when the investigation dubbed Project Colisee culminated with the arrest of 91 mafia associates, including Canada's reputed godfather Nicolo Rizzuto.

The Rizzuto crime family and the Montreal mafia bankrolled a sports betting operation present locally in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto and online with internet bookmaker World Sport Centre.

According to the RCMP, World Sport Centre operated betwsc.com, an online bookmaker that between October 2004 and March 2006 generated $26 million in profits from 820,000 online bets processed and almost half a billion dollars in revenues.

BetWSC.com operated from the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory with a license from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

When the Gaming Commission chairman learned that BetWSC.com was linked to the Montreal mafia, the KGC launched its own investigation that ended with the suspension of BetWSC.com's license and the online bookmaker web site being taken down by hosting provider Mohawk Internet Technologies.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission extended its investigation to all Kahnawake bookmakers, a circumstance that eventually led to the suspension of BetUS license.

At the time, Sportsbook Review stated that BetUS decided to relocate after Kahnawake changed its telephone betting policies, while another version indicated that BetUS had its license terminated over irregularities.

At the end of 2006, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, worried by the possibility the United States could try to assert jurisdiction and apply their internet gambling laws and the UIGEA payment ban to Kahnawake-licensed operators, decided to amend its telephone betting rules prohibiting placing bets or even discussing betting odds on the phone.

Bookmakers Review spoke to a person that at the time was working for a service provider in the Mohawk Territory and that clearly recalls the KGC decision to suspend the license of BetUS parent company LT Baroda had nothing to do with the newly passed UIGEA, but was rather motivated by the concern the KGC had that criminal organizations could have infiltrated the online betting industry in Kahnawake.

BetUS, which like BetWSC also had a presence in Belize, ended up laying off a staff of around 100 in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and set up office in Costa Rica, where it remains today.

An article on a French language regional newspaper dated December 2006 confirms that about 100 workers had been laid off on the heels of the concerns created by the criminal charges against the principal of World Sport Centre alleging links with organized crime in Montreal.

1 comment:

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