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Offshore sports betting wiki college football betting games

Offshore sports betting wiki

Each bookmaker was on their own to take a position. And lines up and down Glitter Gulch sometimes differed wildly. When Martin made his way through town making bets, those lines would quickly coalesce around whatever he was betting, because his opinion was often more respected by the bookmakers than their own.

He asked Martin to come work for him to manage the book and make his lines. Las Vegas remained the epicenter of the sports betting world, both legal and illegal, for nearly a half-century, until the internet changed the landscape in ways Bob Martin and his stack of small-town newspapers could never have imagined.

Early on a Tuesday morning, I arrive at the Ocean sportsbook and sit in the front row of seats, my bag full of money clutched in my hands at all times. After three years of betting on sports on his lunch breaks and on weekends, Spanky Kyrollos was earning more from gambling than from his finance job. He told his wife that he and his partner were quitting Deutsche to pursue their sports betting business full time. Years ago in the pizza parlor after Spanky told her his idea to write code to help him bet on sports, she had dismissed it as a flight of fancy.

This time she knew he was serious. Not only that, if he had more time to devote to it and more help with it, he believed he could scale it up. He and his partner quit their jobs and hired a couple of old friends as their first employees.

To place as much money into action as they needed, they had to make bets in literally hundreds of accounts in sportsbooks all over the world. They wrote code and built betting robots that could automate the bets for them. They taught their friends about how their system worked, and got the friends to a point where they could work virtually independently.

Much of their business was being done with online offshore sportsbooks, most of which were located in Costa Rica. Many of the proprietors of the websites headquartered there were people who had learned the business as illegal bookmakers in the United States. Spanky flew down and worked out deals with the bookmakers to give him credit, rather than requiring him to post large sums of money and cash out through e-wallets like Neteller every time he won.

If he could bet on credit, they could settle up stateside in cash. And bookmaking in Costa Rica was legal. So nobody was doing anything wrong, they figured. One day, while Spanky awaited the birth of his daughter in the hospital, his partner went to a Dunkin Donuts to pick up some money an offshore book owed them.

Then, as they got in their cars to leave, they were surrounded by police officers with their guns drawn. Trap door? For what? The other employees, shaken, followed him out the door. He even expanded his operation beyond middling games, and together with his new brain trust developed new models that allowed him to take positions on games.

Fundamental analysis is handicapping. You make numbers. Technical analysis, you look at the market. His team started spending their days watching screens with lines from sportsbooks all over the world, and using finely tuned models to analyze the various line movements and interpret what they meant. In some ways it was similar to what day traders might do in the stock market.

By , middling and steam betting had made Spanky what he deemed a fortune, and he had made a name for himself. After Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in , it became next to impossible for American gamblers to deposit and withdraw money from offshore gambling sites. Not all bookmakers decamped from the Caribbean, however.

Those who stayed behind had to largely forgo doing business with the American market. Johnny Aitken, who went from working as a runner for a major gambling syndicate in Australia all the way up to becoming CEO of the Australia-based sportsbook PointsBet, watched it happen.

But recreational gamblers either get lucky and win or they go broke, and if they get too lucky, too often they get banned. Either way there is a law of diminishing returns for the bookmaker who will tolerate no risk, unless that bookmaker can continually locate new, untapped pools of players, like an energy company constantly looking for new pockets of oil or gas buried beneath the shale.

These became the two prevailing models of bookmaking. On one side were the European-style books. On the other side were companies like Pinnacle, who offered lower odds and took on larger bets. Pinnacle and BetCRIS were known to let certain sharp players bet their lines before they went public. One side gets a bet at house limits, the other side gets valuable information. This is the way it worked for many years, more or less.

But according to Peabody, the days of posted limits and sharp players being able to bet started to end when William Hill arrived in Nevada. Of the physical sportsbooks in Nevada, William Hill operates more than If someone is good enough to beat you why not use that information internally?

Take the bet at a smaller amount and use it to move your line. It is completely false to say that we ban people simply for winning. There are literally tens of thousands of customers in Nevada that are winners at William Hill. In the rare situation where we do prohibit someone from wagering with us, there are a variety of reasons why. If someone tells you that the reason that they are prohibited from wagering with William Hill is because they are winning, they are not telling you the whole story.

Total, total, utter bullshit and you can quote me on that. By , Spanky says he was allowed to bet directly in only five places in the entire world. He had three kids, with a fourth on the way. His business had been profitable and predictable. His employees were happy. He was becoming a wealthy man.

But the European-style changes in the market could potentially kill his livelihood. That meant that he needed to keep millions of dollars in action to earn enough to support his family and his employees. And with so many sportsbooks refusing his action, he needed to get creative.

They would provide Spanky with their own accounts to bet into with other bookmakers, and they could split the proceeds. These bookmakers already knew he was a winning player, and most leaped at the opportunity to make a profit off his plays, while at the same time taking a bite out of their competition.

Bookmakers were more skittish about taking on risk than Spanky had ever seen before. With so little independent data and analysis of their own lines, bookmakers were flinching at every shadow. I give him the money and take the betslip, then return to my chair in the front row. The game then appears on the screen, only the line is now Xavier They should have given Toledo MORE points, not fewer, to get someone to take the other side of the game and balance out my bet.

Instead, by moving the line in my direction, they were trying to entice me to bet more! I clutch my backpack and go back up to the counter to speak to the manager. He punches it into the computer and waits for word from the trading office in Las Vegas. When I return to my seat, the game flashes again, and this time the line goes back to Back to the counter, and another bet approved.

This time, the line moves to You can keep sending people with new names and fresh money. He was betting much smaller amounts. Instead of reacting to my bet, William Hill reacted to the lines moving at all the places Spanky was betting, from -5 to When I left the casino the line was already at One of the people Spanky partnered with in to make bets for him was a bookmaker in Allentown, New Jersey.

Investigators overheard Spanky talking to the bookmaker about money he was owed. I was just a bettor. Through those wiretaps, investigators traced an intricate web of bookies and bettors that stretched across the globe, and involved both illegal street bookies and a major Wall Street financial firm, Cantor Fitzgerald. They took him away in handcuffs. In all, they arrested 25 people in five states.

Spanky says he was a victim of a misunderstanding about how his business worked, that he was mistaken for a bookmaker when he was merely a bettor. He was placing bets through so many accounts and with so many partners, often with bookmakers who themselves were operating illegally in the United States, that it created a confusing web of cash moving back and forth among many parties on both sides of the law.

In all, Spanky was charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; first-degree promoting gambling; and fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy. As Spanky and Mike sat in jail, they contemplated their future. Perhaps they should get out of the gambling business.

Mike suggested they open up a hot dog stand. He took his first break from betting in 12 years. He joined a touch football league. He played in board game tournaments. Eventually he wondered what he was doing with his life. This is all I know how to do. His Princeton guys got scared and quit. His betting partners worried he was hot, maybe working with the feds. And his wife was terrified the police might come kicking in the door again. She asked him to promise it would never happen.

What he could promise her was that he would live his life out in the open. There would never again be any doubt which side of the counter he was on. Over the next few years, Spanky and Mike worked hard to build their business back up. They started betting again, building their bankroll back up. They had a few good football seasons. Things appeared to be getting back on track for them. It was like a dream come true. The work that Spanky had done his entire life—work that once required him to hide his identity, to meet people in back alleys to trade sacks of cash, work that led to his phones being tapped, his nest egg being confiscated, and his reputation dragged through the mud—he would finally be able to do with his head held high.

Showing astute foresight, William Hill signed a deal with Monmouth Park in , a full five years before the PASPA decision, at a time when few people were predicting the law would be overturned. But Mike thought it was worth a shot. The first day Spanky arrived at Monmouth Park, the place was packed, and people were betting with both hands. Could it be possible that bookmaking in New Jersey was going to be a return to the good old days?

Spanky interrogated the manager for the video. From then on, Spanky was a man on a mission. As each new sportsbook opened in New Jersey, Spanky showed up. Each time he negotiated bet limits. Each time he was welcomed by the sportsbooks with open arms.

Casinos usually salivate over players willing to bet large amounts, wining and dining them and putting them up in free suites. The new sportsbooks in New Jersey were no different. Four weeks I was there. Once I started winning, I had a big weekend and held 32 percent, they cut me off. Sometimes it was after a week of taking his bets.

Sometimes within a couple of days. Each time he recorded it and posted the videos on Twitter. Each time his followers grew, cheering him on. After Pennsylvania legalized bookmaking and Parx Casino opened its sportsbook, Spanky tweeted that he was planning to go check it out. Not every sportsbook in New Jersey has banned Spanky. The Hard Rock, the most recent sportsbook to open in Atlantic City, welcomes his action. He was the manager of the famed Stardust sportsbook in Las Vegas in the s and early s.

While others are run by large international conglomerates pooling money from bets taken all over the world, the Hard Rock is backing the sports bets it takes with its own money. Johnny Aitken at PointsBet is also hoping to make a big splash in New Jersey by going against the grain and allowing sharp players to bet big, and he hopes it will even help give his book an edge.

The three-day event was a trade show for the technology and data companies, many of whom are European, that hope to break into the fledgling American market. Data and technology are the driving forces in sports gambling now, more closely resembling a bizzaro version of Wall Street. Bookies are now traders. Bets are positions.

Instead of talking about fumbles or points or vig or juice, you hear talk of Python and stacks and hold and risk. Old-school bookmakers are being replaced by algorithms that do the work once done by armies of traders, whose jobs are now to oversee the systems that power the trading floor. Well, I call them traitors. Gambling, it seems, is only what the customer is doing. Gambling is for suckers. It is simply finance.

And it must never, ever lose money. Now these guys who run these casinos do not even gamble. Jon Kaplowitz, the head of interactive for Penn National Gaming, which is partnered with William Hill, was asked about their risk management strategy. When times were good, it processed bets worth billions annually, records show. Tomchin said, to buy his Pinnacle stock. But a crisis was brewing. Just months after prosecutors took down Ms. But with so many Americans eager to bet on sports, Pinnacle must have realized it could not abandon such a lucrative market — a fact that did not escape the Queens prosecutor.

Brave said. Soon, investigators would begin wiretapping conversations of gamblers and their agents. When they passed sacks of cash, investigators were on hand to photograph them. Gamblers and agents in the field had to find ways to hide large sums of money, which must be reported under anti-money-laundering regulations. Some gamblers passed bulging envelopes in country club parking lots and from bar stool to bar stool. Others stuffed money into casino safe deposit boxes and used casino chips as currency to transfer funds.

To penetrate this system, the investigators relied on wiretaps to pinpoint the place and time of these cash transfers so they could take surveillance pictures. In May , undercover agents watched Mr. Molsbarger enter a California restaurant with a brown suitcase. Molsbarger handed it to a man named Scott, who put it in the trunk of his car. Local deputies stopped the car in Pico Rivera and confiscated the cash. They need not have worried.

Pinnacle replaced the money in less than a week, records show. Suspecting that the police might be listening in, bookies and agents tried to disguise their business conversations. Also under scrutiny was Michael Colbert, a risk manager for sports books at eight casinos in Las Vegas, where betting is legal. According to a later indictment, Mr. Colbert, who worked for the gaming unit of Cantor Fitzgerald, the Wall Street trading firm, allowed so-called runners to place bets for out-of-state customers at Las Vegas casinos, which is illegal.

The Queens district attorney made his move in the fall of , charging 25 people in connection with offshore sports books, particularly Pinnacle. The company was not charged, and asserts that none of those charged were employees. Brave, the rackets bureau chief. We had 25 people, but we could have charged people.

Colbert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy related to illegal gambling. Despite the coded language with his sister on the sacks of cash, Mr. Tomchin said he believed the money had come from legal betting. Tomchin said. An investigator for the Alderney gambling commission also visited Mr.

Brave, carrying documents that showed numerous American accounts. The investigator said he had stopped counting at 1,, but there may have been thousands more, according to Gerard McNally, a New York City detective, now retired, who worked on the case. Pinnacle had come up with a handy, not terribly high-tech way of hiding action in the United States, the Alderney investigators found: Simply list the accounts as originating in a foreign country.

One account listed as Canadian originated in Pompano Beach, Fla. Another account, logged as Vietnamese, came from Garden Grove, Calif. One from Singapore actually belonged to a bettor in Poughkeepsie, N. Some of that equipment is operated by a company called CDNetworks, a so-called content delivery network.

Such networks can be traced back to , when Tim Berners-Lee of M. He issued a challenge: Find a better way to deliver content over the Internet. No signal can move faster than the speed of light. In practice, signals move much slower than that, because nothing travels in a straight line on the Internet.

Signals traverse stretches of copper or fiber, and are shunted to other segments via routers and switches as they zigzag to their destinations. That has led to the rise of countless local hosting services and the content delivery networks. The delivery networks often have servers distributed around the world. A website pays to have its content available on all those servers so that when a customer types in a query, it is directed to the nearest server, which may be only a few miles away.

Delays vanish. But hosting gambling websites in the United States carried an obvious risk. Doing that was much easier before splashy graphics and data-rich presentations took the place of simple, written text. To compete, gambling sites needed faster communications to bring the data secretly home, a fact apparently realized by Pinnacle.

Hiding in plain sight, it remains elusive. To help identify how and where Pinnacle and other gambling companies hosted their websites, The Times turned to Dyn, the Internet performance company, which archives billion data points a day on patterns in web traffic.

But, Mr. Hitchcock added, his company could not necessarily answer why a website might route traffic a certain way. Recently, The Times used publicly available Internet tools to confirm that content for pinnaclesports. Rodney Settles, a senior global account manager for Telehouse, the company that runs the data center, said in a telephone conversation in September that CDNetworks had about eight cabinets of equipment there. Settles said, adding that there were five to six CDNetworks cabinets at its data center in Los Angeles.

Telehouse confirmed in a statement that CDNetworks is a customer. The statement said Telehouse could not discuss customers but did not condone illegal activity. CDNetworks also delivered Pinnacle content from data centers operated by other companies in Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Seattle and other cities, records and data show.

She said that her company exercised no control over customer content and that customers must comply with the law.

NBA ALL STAR GAME BETTING LINE

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CAESARS PALACE SPORTS BETTING

By offering bettors a fair contest, he would ideally attract equal action on both sides. Point spreads proved popular, and soon a publisher in Minneapolis named Leo Hirschfield began publishing the spread for games all over the country. He employed a team of handicappers who talked to contacts across America to obtain information to set their lines. By , there were 23, miles of telegraph lines leased from Western Union to service 20, bookies with up-to-the-minute sports data.

Those bookies in turn provided that information to other smaller bookies. In all there were estimated to be more than , bookmakers earning their living from sports betting in the United States in By , there were more than , As attorney general, Robert Kennedy made shutting down the illegal sports betting network in the United States a top priority, believing the proceeds were funding organized crime.

Despite his efforts, by the number of people working in the illegal bookmaking industry in America eclipsed a million. Spanky graduated with a degree in computer science and went to work at Deutsche Bank right out of college. He was earning decent money but he was still spending a lot of time betting on sports. He read books on handicapping and betting systems. He looked for patterns, for edges wherever he could find them.

In the s, sports betting was moving to the internet, with black market bookies decamping for the Caribbean to operate their bookmaking business far from the arm of U. As Spanky combed through one sports betting website after another, it dawned on him that he could use his computer coding skills to beat the bookies. He could do the same types of things he was doing for finance banks to give himself an edge on sports bets. While sitting in a pizzeria watching a basketball game with his then-girlfriend, he told her his idea.

Her response was a shrug. She knew her boyfriend loved puzzles and games. She had no idea how much this particular puzzle would consume him. Spanky approached a coworker he respected and shared his idea for writing code that could identify positive expected value in sports betting markets. But whenever those games fell right in the middle of the two lines, in this case if the Steelers lost by three points, then they would win both of their bets.

Bet after bet Spanky and his colleague just kept losing the vig, never hitting the middle. Then they hit another, and another, and another. They kept this up for two years without ever taking a dime out of their online accounts. The first time they requested a withdrawal, Spanky says, the bookmaker had them meet someone on the street in Manhattan rather than cash the money out directly to their bank.

A total stranger handed them a sack full of cash. They rushed back to Deutsche Bank and counted it in the restroom. They had never seen that much cash in their lives. It was real money. How big, they wondered, could they make this? The bank they worked for did the same thing they were doing but in financial markets, and their bosses were all filthy rich.

Could betting on sports make them rich, too? In June , the casino reopened as Ocean Resort Casino. Though the property is one of the glitziest in Atlantic City, it is one of its lowest-earning casinos. And on a Monday night in March, it shows. The teller takes my money and punches the bet into a computer. Back in the s, Bob Martin knew the guy who ran the cleaning crews at the Las Vegas airport.

Those newspapers, from towns large and small, far and wide, were his bread and butter. The 10 percent tax on bets handled was too high to make a profit, since sportsbooks were expected to earn roughly only 4 percent over the long run. This meant the early bookmakers in Las Vegas were mostly no different from the gamblers who bet with them.

They had to take positions, to be invested on one side of certain bets. Essentially they had to gamble against their customers. And looking at the prop, I would have probably had to close the place if Hagler won. Hirschfield and the Minneapolis operation had closed up shop in after Robert Kennedy convinced Congress to pass a number of new antigambling laws. That meant that among legal bookmakers operating in Las Vegas, there was no agreed-upon line for games.

Each bookmaker was on their own to take a position. And lines up and down Glitter Gulch sometimes differed wildly. When Martin made his way through town making bets, those lines would quickly coalesce around whatever he was betting, because his opinion was often more respected by the bookmakers than their own.

He asked Martin to come work for him to manage the book and make his lines. Las Vegas remained the epicenter of the sports betting world, both legal and illegal, for nearly a half-century, until the internet changed the landscape in ways Bob Martin and his stack of small-town newspapers could never have imagined.

Early on a Tuesday morning, I arrive at the Ocean sportsbook and sit in the front row of seats, my bag full of money clutched in my hands at all times. After three years of betting on sports on his lunch breaks and on weekends, Spanky Kyrollos was earning more from gambling than from his finance job. He told his wife that he and his partner were quitting Deutsche to pursue their sports betting business full time.

Years ago in the pizza parlor after Spanky told her his idea to write code to help him bet on sports, she had dismissed it as a flight of fancy. This time she knew he was serious. Not only that, if he had more time to devote to it and more help with it, he believed he could scale it up. He and his partner quit their jobs and hired a couple of old friends as their first employees. To place as much money into action as they needed, they had to make bets in literally hundreds of accounts in sportsbooks all over the world.

They wrote code and built betting robots that could automate the bets for them. They taught their friends about how their system worked, and got the friends to a point where they could work virtually independently.

Much of their business was being done with online offshore sportsbooks, most of which were located in Costa Rica. Many of the proprietors of the websites headquartered there were people who had learned the business as illegal bookmakers in the United States. Spanky flew down and worked out deals with the bookmakers to give him credit, rather than requiring him to post large sums of money and cash out through e-wallets like Neteller every time he won.

If he could bet on credit, they could settle up stateside in cash. And bookmaking in Costa Rica was legal. So nobody was doing anything wrong, they figured. One day, while Spanky awaited the birth of his daughter in the hospital, his partner went to a Dunkin Donuts to pick up some money an offshore book owed them.

Then, as they got in their cars to leave, they were surrounded by police officers with their guns drawn. Trap door? For what? The other employees, shaken, followed him out the door. He even expanded his operation beyond middling games, and together with his new brain trust developed new models that allowed him to take positions on games. Fundamental analysis is handicapping. You make numbers. Technical analysis, you look at the market.

His team started spending their days watching screens with lines from sportsbooks all over the world, and using finely tuned models to analyze the various line movements and interpret what they meant. In some ways it was similar to what day traders might do in the stock market. By , middling and steam betting had made Spanky what he deemed a fortune, and he had made a name for himself. After Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in , it became next to impossible for American gamblers to deposit and withdraw money from offshore gambling sites.

Not all bookmakers decamped from the Caribbean, however. Those who stayed behind had to largely forgo doing business with the American market. Johnny Aitken, who went from working as a runner for a major gambling syndicate in Australia all the way up to becoming CEO of the Australia-based sportsbook PointsBet, watched it happen. But recreational gamblers either get lucky and win or they go broke, and if they get too lucky, too often they get banned. Either way there is a law of diminishing returns for the bookmaker who will tolerate no risk, unless that bookmaker can continually locate new, untapped pools of players, like an energy company constantly looking for new pockets of oil or gas buried beneath the shale.

These became the two prevailing models of bookmaking. On one side were the European-style books. On the other side were companies like Pinnacle, who offered lower odds and took on larger bets. Pinnacle and BetCRIS were known to let certain sharp players bet their lines before they went public.

One side gets a bet at house limits, the other side gets valuable information. This is the way it worked for many years, more or less. But according to Peabody, the days of posted limits and sharp players being able to bet started to end when William Hill arrived in Nevada.

Of the physical sportsbooks in Nevada, William Hill operates more than If someone is good enough to beat you why not use that information internally? Take the bet at a smaller amount and use it to move your line. It is completely false to say that we ban people simply for winning. There are literally tens of thousands of customers in Nevada that are winners at William Hill.

In the rare situation where we do prohibit someone from wagering with us, there are a variety of reasons why. If someone tells you that the reason that they are prohibited from wagering with William Hill is because they are winning, they are not telling you the whole story. Total, total, utter bullshit and you can quote me on that. By , Spanky says he was allowed to bet directly in only five places in the entire world. He had three kids, with a fourth on the way.

His business had been profitable and predictable. His employees were happy. He was becoming a wealthy man. But the European-style changes in the market could potentially kill his livelihood. That meant that he needed to keep millions of dollars in action to earn enough to support his family and his employees.

And with so many sportsbooks refusing his action, he needed to get creative. They would provide Spanky with their own accounts to bet into with other bookmakers, and they could split the proceeds. These bookmakers already knew he was a winning player, and most leaped at the opportunity to make a profit off his plays, while at the same time taking a bite out of their competition.

Bookmakers were more skittish about taking on risk than Spanky had ever seen before. With so little independent data and analysis of their own lines, bookmakers were flinching at every shadow. I give him the money and take the betslip, then return to my chair in the front row.

The game then appears on the screen, only the line is now Xavier They should have given Toledo MORE points, not fewer, to get someone to take the other side of the game and balance out my bet. Instead, by moving the line in my direction, they were trying to entice me to bet more! I clutch my backpack and go back up to the counter to speak to the manager. He punches it into the computer and waits for word from the trading office in Las Vegas.

When I return to my seat, the game flashes again, and this time the line goes back to Back to the counter, and another bet approved. This time, the line moves to You can keep sending people with new names and fresh money. He was betting much smaller amounts. Instead of reacting to my bet, William Hill reacted to the lines moving at all the places Spanky was betting, from -5 to When I left the casino the line was already at One of the people Spanky partnered with in to make bets for him was a bookmaker in Allentown, New Jersey.

Investigators overheard Spanky talking to the bookmaker about money he was owed. I was just a bettor. Through those wiretaps, investigators traced an intricate web of bookies and bettors that stretched across the globe, and involved both illegal street bookies and a major Wall Street financial firm, Cantor Fitzgerald.

They took him away in handcuffs. In all, they arrested 25 people in five states. Spanky says he was a victim of a misunderstanding about how his business worked, that he was mistaken for a bookmaker when he was merely a bettor. He was placing bets through so many accounts and with so many partners, often with bookmakers who themselves were operating illegally in the United States, that it created a confusing web of cash moving back and forth among many parties on both sides of the law.

In all, Spanky was charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; first-degree promoting gambling; and fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy. As Spanky and Mike sat in jail, they contemplated their future.

Perhaps they should get out of the gambling business. Mike suggested they open up a hot dog stand. He took his first break from betting in 12 years. He joined a touch football league. He played in board game tournaments. Eventually he wondered what he was doing with his life. This is all I know how to do. His Princeton guys got scared and quit. His betting partners worried he was hot, maybe working with the feds.

American law enforcement caught up with Ms. Davis; an indictment, unsealed in , charged her with gambling-related offenses, for which she eventually received probation. Those charges, though, did not dissuade Pinnacle from hiring her and eventually elevating her to chief executive, though by then she had a new name — Paris Smith. Davis has never hidden her use of an alias. Neither Mr. Molsbarger nor Mr. Tomchin has the profile of an old-time gambling boss. Tomchin is an active donor to a variety of liberal political causes.

The gambling site could certainly spare the money. When times were good, it processed bets worth billions annually, records show. Tomchin said, to buy his Pinnacle stock. But a crisis was brewing. Just months after prosecutors took down Ms. But with so many Americans eager to bet on sports, Pinnacle must have realized it could not abandon such a lucrative market — a fact that did not escape the Queens prosecutor.

Brave said. Soon, investigators would begin wiretapping conversations of gamblers and their agents. When they passed sacks of cash, investigators were on hand to photograph them. Gamblers and agents in the field had to find ways to hide large sums of money, which must be reported under anti-money-laundering regulations.

Some gamblers passed bulging envelopes in country club parking lots and from bar stool to bar stool. Others stuffed money into casino safe deposit boxes and used casino chips as currency to transfer funds.

To penetrate this system, the investigators relied on wiretaps to pinpoint the place and time of these cash transfers so they could take surveillance pictures. In May , undercover agents watched Mr. Molsbarger enter a California restaurant with a brown suitcase.

Molsbarger handed it to a man named Scott, who put it in the trunk of his car. Local deputies stopped the car in Pico Rivera and confiscated the cash. They need not have worried. Pinnacle replaced the money in less than a week, records show. Suspecting that the police might be listening in, bookies and agents tried to disguise their business conversations. Also under scrutiny was Michael Colbert, a risk manager for sports books at eight casinos in Las Vegas, where betting is legal.

According to a later indictment, Mr. Colbert, who worked for the gaming unit of Cantor Fitzgerald, the Wall Street trading firm, allowed so-called runners to place bets for out-of-state customers at Las Vegas casinos, which is illegal. The Queens district attorney made his move in the fall of , charging 25 people in connection with offshore sports books, particularly Pinnacle.

The company was not charged, and asserts that none of those charged were employees. Brave, the rackets bureau chief. We had 25 people, but we could have charged people. Colbert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy related to illegal gambling. Despite the coded language with his sister on the sacks of cash, Mr. Tomchin said he believed the money had come from legal betting.

Tomchin said. An investigator for the Alderney gambling commission also visited Mr. Brave, carrying documents that showed numerous American accounts. The investigator said he had stopped counting at 1,, but there may have been thousands more, according to Gerard McNally, a New York City detective, now retired, who worked on the case.

Pinnacle had come up with a handy, not terribly high-tech way of hiding action in the United States, the Alderney investigators found: Simply list the accounts as originating in a foreign country. One account listed as Canadian originated in Pompano Beach, Fla. Another account, logged as Vietnamese, came from Garden Grove, Calif.

One from Singapore actually belonged to a bettor in Poughkeepsie, N. Some of that equipment is operated by a company called CDNetworks, a so-called content delivery network. Such networks can be traced back to , when Tim Berners-Lee of M. He issued a challenge: Find a better way to deliver content over the Internet.

No signal can move faster than the speed of light. In practice, signals move much slower than that, because nothing travels in a straight line on the Internet. Signals traverse stretches of copper or fiber, and are shunted to other segments via routers and switches as they zigzag to their destinations.

That has led to the rise of countless local hosting services and the content delivery networks. The delivery networks often have servers distributed around the world. A website pays to have its content available on all those servers so that when a customer types in a query, it is directed to the nearest server, which may be only a few miles away. Delays vanish. But hosting gambling websites in the United States carried an obvious risk. Doing that was much easier before splashy graphics and data-rich presentations took the place of simple, written text.

To compete, gambling sites needed faster communications to bring the data secretly home, a fact apparently realized by Pinnacle. Hiding in plain sight, it remains elusive. To help identify how and where Pinnacle and other gambling companies hosted their websites, The Times turned to Dyn, the Internet performance company, which archives billion data points a day on patterns in web traffic.

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