David Hair from London, Ontario, who has pleaded guilty to operating illegal sports gambling scheme was jailed yesterday. In January this year, the 50-year-old man appeared in Ontario Superior Court and admitted that he was illegally bookmaking for Platinum SportsBook, a sophisticated betting operation in Ontario allegedly linked to mafia.
The ring used Costa Rica-based websites to process customers’ wagers. To pay winnings and collect debts, the sportsbook utilized archetypal credit-induced gambling schemes. The police probe of Platinum started in 2013, when the police raided a Super Bowl party north of Toronto and busted Hair and 30 other bookies allegedly involved in the sophisticated scheme.
As a result of the raid, the police seized Platinum’s websites (which were almost identical) and betting records. In February 2013, the police officers found C$680,000 in bundled cash at Hair’s house in London, believed to be Platinum revenues. Following a two-year investigation, a number of individuals were caught red-handed assisting the operation of the illegal sportsbook.
Police Busts Illegal Pyramid-Like Sports Betting Ring
The investigation led to the arrests of Hells Angels’ member William Miller along with many other individuals, who were connected to the illicit online sports betting organization. Among the arrested individuals is the uncle of Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player Nazem Kadri. The wrongdoers face charges of bookmaking, participating in or enhancing the activity of a criminal organization. According to police reports, the illegal organization had been operating for quite long, fleecing almost a total of C$103 million between 2009 and 2013. During the course of the investigation, police searched 10 locations and seized $1.6 million in cash and vehicles.
The police records also claim that Platinum employed hundreds of bookies all over the Toronto area, who were operating like “sub-bookies”. The “sub-bookies” were tasked with signing up their own clients, collecting their debts and paying out their winnings on a weekly basis. The top of the pyramid was performing the role of a bank. The organization operated like a well-oiled machine.
David Hair is currently facing a lengthy jail sentence and a massive financial penalty of C$3 million, C$2 million of which Hair had to deposit straight after the judge decision this January. Justice John McMahon explained that Hair has to pay the other C$1 million within the next three years. Hair’s lawyer commented that his client has spent five years free on a C$400,000 bail and has complied with all his conditions. He added that Mr. Hair is currently a law-abiding citizen with a kid and a wife.
The online sports betting industry is not immune to such issues. Needless to say, the online gambling industry has witnessed profound proliferation over the past several years. With organized criminals continually on the lookout for new opportunities, it appears that the online gambling industry has emerged as an attractive one.