In the world of illegal gambling, there are few bigger players than the Russian mobsters. So when they decided to flex their muscles and take down certain online gambling sites, the industry took notice.
Several well-known gambling sites that had taken stakes from Russian customers were sent a letter threatening violence and mayhem if they didn’t pay up, according to reports. The amount being demanded was said to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
At least one site, CasinoCoinbase, chose to close its doors rather than face retribution from the mobsters. “We can’t take the risk,” a company spokesperson said. “It’s just not worth it.”
Others, like PokerStars, vowed to fight and refused to back down. They argued that they had done nothing wrong and were simply providing a service that customers wanted.
The standoff is sure to have far-reaching consequences for the online gambling industry. If PokerStars or any other site caves in to the demands of the mobsters, it will only embolden them and set a dangerous precedent for future extortion attempts. Conversely, if PokerStars or any other site resists and wins, it could send a message that organized crime can’t bully legitimate businesses into submission.
In a recent article published by the Las Vegas Review Journal, it has been revealed that the Nevada Gaming Control Board is currently investigating an as of yet unnamed gambling site who are alleged to have a financial stake in the site.
While the NGCB is remaining tight lipped on the investigation, what is known is that the site under scrutiny is not licensed to operate in Nevada. Gambling sites need to be licensed in order to do business in the state, so any such unlicensed site is obviously operating illegally.
It’s unclear at this stage exactly what role, if any, the site’s investors may have played in its operations. It’s also unknown how long the NGCB has been aware of this gambling site’s connection to its investors or whether any other regulatory bodies are also investigating.
In a statement given to the Las Vegas Review Journal by spokesperson for the NGCB A.G. Burnett, he said only that:
“The Nevada Gaming Control Board takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard the public and ensure all gaming operators and associated persons are acting in compliance with state law. The board will continue its diligent oversight of all entities engaged in gaming within our jurisdiction.”
This statement offers little detail on the nature of the investigation or what possible sanctions may be levied against the gambling site should it be found guilty of violating state law.
Canadian company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, announced Tuesday that it has acquired a majority stake in a gambling site. The site, called “Who Have Stake”, allows users to bet on the outcomes of various sporting events.
MLSE has been looking to get into the gambling business for some time now, and this is seen as a major step in that direction. “We believe that Who Have Stake has great potential, and we are excited to be involved in its growth,” said MLSE CEO Michael Friisdahl.
The company did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but it is believed to be in the range of $50 million. This represents a major investment for MLSE, which is already a major player in the sports world.
“This is a very exciting day for us,” said Who Have Stake CEO Amir Goldstein. “With MLSE’s support, we can take our business to the next level.”
Goldstein founded Who Have Stake in 2014, and it has quickly become one of the leading gambling sites in North America. With MLSE’s backing, Goldstein expects the site to continue growing at a rapid pace.
Gambling has become a big business in North America, with revenues topping $240 billion annually. The market is expected to grow even larger in the years ahead as more states legalize gambling.
An Australian-based gaming company is in negotiations to acquire a majority stake in a gambling site who have a stake in the industry.
The deal, if it goes through, will see the gaming company take a controlling interest in the gambling site, and will give them access to the latter’s customer base and technology.
The gambling site has been operational for over two years, and has generated a healthy profit during that time. The CEO of the gaming company said that the acquisition is an “opportunity to gain a foothold in the burgeoning online gambling market.”
He also added that the move will help his company to “…capitalize on the growing demand for online gambling services.”
It is unclear at this stage how much the gaming company is prepared to pay for the majority stake in the gambling site, but it is thought that they are willing to pay a substantial amount of money for it.
In a move that has Delaware gaming officials scratching their heads, the Delaware Gaming Commission has decided to close the state’s only gambling site. This comes shortly after the commission granted the site permission to operate just last month. Officials are still unsure as to why they made this sudden decision, especially since it was their own decision to grant the site permission to operate in the first place.
The closure of this site is unfortunate news for gamblers in Delaware, as it leaves them with no legal options for placing bets. The only other option for gambling in the state is through offshore sites, which can be risky and may not offer all of the same games as the now-closed site.
It remains to be seen whether or not the commission will reopen the site or grant another company permission to operate. In the meantime, gamblers in Delaware will just have to hope that something changes soon.