Ohio Authorities Bust Illegal Gambling Ring and Indict 11

Ohio Authorities Bust Illegal Gambling Ring and Indict 11

A grand jury in Ohio indicted 11 people for allegedly operating a large-scale illegal gambling ring that was also used as a vehicle for laundering money, according to a report on Thursday from the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website, Cleveland.com.

According to the report, the operation allegedly included a network of bookies who had access to an online gambling platform where the gambling ring’s clients could track and place bets.

The 11 defendants are spread across four different states, including Clinton Reider, Thomas Reed, James Ovens, Michael Tutolo, Maurey Presser, Alan Bambic and Ralph Robertson of Ohio, Amir Hugh Robinson of Florida, Anthony Pinialis of Nevada, and Stephen Bellipario and Joseph Fowles of New York.

All 11 have been charged with conspiracy to operate and operating an illegal gambling business. Six others face additional charges relating to an alleged conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

Illegal Gambling Busts Highlight Need for Legal Betting

Perhaps these types of illegal gambling busts highlight the need for state lawmakers to consider all the ramifications of creating and enacting gambling legislation.

After all, sports gambling advocates have long claimed that regulated and licensed gambling operations could simultaneously help protect consumers while also curtailing the types of unlawful activity the 11 defendants in Ohio, along with a similar group of six defendants in a different case in New York, are accused of committing.

In both cases, the defendants are accused of essentially offering black market versions of gambling services that have become safe, legal and regulated in states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and several others.

Illegal Offshore Sportsbooks Still Proliferate

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the decades-long federal ban on sports betting in May 2018, but illegal offshore sportsbooks still seem to be causing mischief across the nation.

Perhaps these two cases illustrate the pull that illegal offshore books still seem to have in states such as Ohio and New York. In those two and many other states, fast and easy access to licensed and regulated sports betting services does not currently exist, at least in what gambling advocates would call the optimal form.

In Ohio’s case, sports betting is not yet legal. Instead, state lawmakers in the Buckeye State seem mired in attempting to satisfy all the different stakeholders in Ohio, many of which have competing interests and conflicting agendas.

As for New York, while the state did legalize sports gambling in July, the betting in the state is still just localized to in-person bets made at either commercial or tribal casinos.

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