State Attorney General Luther Strange claimed DFS in Alabama illegal and sent letters for daily fantasy sports operators DraftKings and FanDuel demanding to stop their respective businesses in the Heart of Dixie.
After declaring DFS illegal in Alabama, AG Strange ordered DraftKings and FanDuel to stop their real money operation in the state by May 1. He argued that real money daily fantasy contests qualify as illegal gambling according to Alabama gambling laws.
Latest gambling news quoted Strange, saying, “As Attorney General, it is my duty to uphold Alabama law, including the laws against illegal gambling. Daily fantasy sports operators claim that they operate legally under Alabama law. However, paid daily fantasy sports contests are in fact illegal gambling under Alabama law.”
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) April 6, 2016
According to Alabama gambling laws, illegal gambling also occurs when somebody makes a wager on a contest of chance, even if skill is involved. Strange argues that skill is needed to assemble a fantasy sport team indeed, but the bettors have no control over the performance of their fantasy players. Any unforeseen event like an injury can influence player performance, so these contests rely on chance and therefore was claimed DFS in Alabama illegal gambling.
Using tricks to take down an illegal betting ring didn’t work for the FBI. Now a high-ranking member of the 14K triad society could slip through its fingers due to “procedural errors.”
Last week, the word got out that FBI agents went into Paul Phua’s apartment at Caesars Palace disguised as cable guys, to gather evidence without a warrant. As more “procedural errors” come to light, the alleged gambling kingpin could get away with his illegal betting operation because the bureau itself broke a few rules while trying to get the bad guy.
US federal agents say Paul Phua Wei-seng is a high-ranking member of Hong Kong’s 14K triad society. Phua and his son Darren Phua Wai-kit have been charged with operating an illegal betting ring from a hotel in Las Vegas, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But they could both get away with it because of alleged breach of procedure by the FBI.
According to the latest gambling news, Phua’s lawyers filed a motion to suppress testimony he provided during a police raid, because agents didn’t follow the rules.
South China Morning Post: Procedural errors may kill FBI gambling case involving Asian kingpin Paul Phua
Phua and his son were arrested and charged with operating an illegal gambling ring in Las Vegas, during the World Cup. Now prosecutors have to prove that the two Malaysians used and operated these betting platforms from the luxury suites they rented at Caesars Palace.
Lawyers called the triad allegations unfounded and said the 50 year-old man “absolutely maintains he is innocent of the gambling charges in the United States”. Now they’re also trying to suppress statements where the defendants said Phua held a stake in IBC Bet, one of the largest betting operations in the Philippines.
Before obtaining these statements, police allegedly violated the defendants’ constitutional rights by failing to give a so-called Miranda warning, which informs suspects that they have the right to remain silent during an interrogation, until they get legal advice.
The two Malaysian men said they were staying at a villa which was offered to them free of charge by Caesars Palace. The motion says their defense lawyer was not allowed to meet them while they were being questioned.
In his affidavit, Phua wrote: “The first agent I saw pointed a machine gun at me and shouted, ‘Put your f*ing hands up’. Everyone in the villa was handcuffed, herded into the dining room, and told to get on our knees and face the wall.”
Before the World Cup, several illegal bookmakers have been arrested in Southeast Asia. Dozens of people were charged with breaking gambling laws by running unlicensed sports wagering services. Some of them pointed to IBC.
PokerNews: Did Caesars Palace and the FBI Collude in the Arrests of Paul Phua?
This July, eight people were arrested at Caesars Palace Las Vegas for being involved in an illegal betting ring. Among those arrested was 50-year-old Malaysian high-stakes poker player and alleged high-ranking member of the 14K Triad Paul Phua.
The arrests were part of an FBI sting and Phua’s lawyers claim the defendants’ Fourth Amendment rights were violated because the raid was conducted under an unlawful search warrant.
Investigations began this summer, when the defendants rented the villas and asked the casino staff for an “unusual amount of electronic equipment”. According to newspaper reports, the venue’s security personnel became suspicious and called the FBI, then worked together with agents to cut off Internet access to have an excuse to send undercover agents inside.
Posing as service technicians, FBI agents gained access to the villas and collected evidence to obtain a warrant in court. The defense argued that the warrant was obtained through an unlawful scheme.
“A ruling upholding these intrusions would cause innocent Americans to live their daily lives burdened with the palpable sense that their government is regularly scheming to spy on them in their homes,” lawyers said.
The federal government is expected to respond soon.
GamingZion: Gambler, Bookie, Diplomat, Gangster: the Fantastic Story of Paul Phua Wei-seng
Each year, illegal betting generates billions of dollars for criminal syndicates around the world. The largest scandal this year was when the FBI busted an operation run from two villas at the Caesars Hotel in Las Vegas. The head of the operation, reports said, was Paul Phua, a high-stakes poker player, former diplomat and alleged gangster.
Less than one month before being caught in Vegas, he had faced the same charges in Macau but posted bail and fled from the city. Newspapers said he flew straight to Sin City and continues his illegal business from here.
In addition to being a suspected black market bookmaker, Phua is also a legitimate businessman, owner of Sat Ieng Sociedade Unipessoal junket in Macau, where he likes to take a personal interest in entertaining his customers. He also holds a majority stake in IBC Bet, a company based in the Philippines which has grown to become one of the world’s most profitable sportsbooks.
From 2011 until his arrest in Las Vegas, Phua also held the title of San Marinese ambassador to Montenegro, although reports say he never properly checked in with the authorities in Podgorica, but did gain the advantage of traveling freely almost anywhere.
Phua is known in the world of high-stakes poker too. He makes regular appearances at the Poker King Club in Macau, and in 2012 he played in the $1 million buy-in tournament at the World Series of Poker.
Federal investigators say he is also a high-ranking member of the 14K triad, thought to be one of Hong Kong’s oldest and most powerful criminal organizations. It remains to be seen if the case against him stands or not, given the procedural errors committed by the FBI.
They will receive varying charges according to their activities on site. Children were released to relatives and 118 fighting cocks will be exterminated due to the ruling of a judge on the matter.
Police raided an illegal gambling cockfight in a small town near Fort Worth, TX, and arrested 169 viewers (among whom 15 children as young as 7 were present) and cock owners, and seized over 100 roosters condemned to fight to the death.Cockfighting is illegal in 39 states including Texas, and an illegal gambling misdemeanor in the remaining 11, but it continues to flourish.
Steroids , illegal gambling and other supplements are often given to the birds to heighten aggression. Sometimes metal knives are strapped to their legs to ensure that fights end in the death. Law enforcement authorities say that cockfighting rings are often tied up in drug smuggling and money laundering rackets.
Illegal gambling cockfights often have up to $30,000 purses riding on them. Owners pay about $300 to enter a bird for an event, and spectators pay a further $30 to enter. Last month saw several raids on fights around the US.
Authorities in Texas said 169 people were arrested and 114 roosters were seized during a raid on a local cockfight. Saturday afternoon’s raid occurred after authorities kept the site under surveillance for two weeks.
County Sheriff Larry Fowler said charges will vary among those arrested in the area barn but illegal gambling will be one of them. “The people who were arrested for illegal gambling will go before a judge and be charged with a gambling offense,” Fowler said. “We will look into charging some who were arrested with federal charges. A charge of engaging in organized crime is a possibility for some.”
The Star-Telegram said authorities found a number of dead and injured roosters at the cockfighting site, along with an unspecified amount of drugs and money.
Over 100 Arrested in Cockfighting Bust
Over 100 people were arrested as of Saturday night after police raided an illegal gambling rooster fight. The Parker County Sheriff’s department found over 100 birds, injured and dead, along with drugs and children abandoned by fleeing parents as officers raided the scene. The kids were taken into the custody of Child Protective Services while dozens of adults were sent to jail.
Cockfighting is a crime Sheriff Fowler says he’s never seen in Parker County. Those arrested will face gambling charges and possibly felony charges for their involvement in the cockfighting operation.
Texans illegal gambling on a illegal cockfight that was raided Saturday leading to the arrest of 169 people were arrested, amongst them children as young as 7.
Early this week, authorities in the US state of Georgia launched a campaign called “Operation Jackpot”. While this sounds like a lucrative gambling opportunity, the truth is not quite as nice, for it is the code name of a series of raids against illegal gambling operations.
The sting is the result of a three month investigation, and involved 150 FBI agents, US Marshals and Immigration Customs Enforcement officers.
The target of the raids is a series of illegal gambling houses. Police have seized hundreds of gambling machines and thousands of dollars in cash. Fifteen people have been arrested since the raids began a few days ago. A slot machine manufacturing company called All Star was also raided, and its owner was among those arrested.
“We stumbled on a pretty major organization,” explained Sheriff Kem Kimbrough. “Turns out these operations are supported by a company that manufactures gambling devices out in Rockdale County. What makes them illegal is the fact that they are utilized with cash payouts.”
Those arrested will face charges related to the manufacturing and possession of gambling devices.
LaForte directed players to an internet sportsbook hosted offshore, supplying them with user names and passwords for online sports betting. The website gave LaForte a share of the profits. LaForte now faces a possible prison sentence.New York Man Admits Role in Sports Betting Ring
A man from New York admitted last week that he helped to run an illegal online sports betting website that offered services in several US states, including New Jersey.
Joseph W. LaForte admitted to the crime in U.S. District Court in Trenton last Wednesday.
LaForte, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to operate an illegal online sports betting business. LaForte is already serving time in New York on separate charges, and now faces a sentence of up top five years in prison along with a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced April 6th.
LaForte’s admission said that between 2005 and 2006, he and several others helped punters to place wagers through an online sportsbook hosted outside the United States, then shared in the profits from the sports betting business.
NY man admits role in sports betting ring
A man from Staten Island, New York, recently pleaded guilty to setting a former employee’s Mercedes-Benz on fire in 2004 out of revenge.
James LaForte Jr., 32, also admitted last Wednesday to offering high-interest loans, then using threats and violence to collect on them. Loan sharking carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Additionally, LaForte’s brother Joseph W. LaForte admitted to a federal court that he had participated in an illegal online sports gambling business in New Jersey, New York, Florida and elsewhere. Joseph LaForte, 39, is currently serving a sentence in New York state prison on unrelated charges. He admitted to conspiring with others in 2005 and 2006 to helping bettors to place wagers at a foreign internet gambling site. They provided punters with user names and passwords so they could wager on online sports betting, LaForte admitted. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine; sentencing is set for April 6.
Breaking Local News from Staten Island, NY: Staten Island man admits role in sports betting ring
Joseph W. LaForte, a Staten Island native who most recently lived in Huguenot, admitted on Wednesday that he helped operate an illegal online sports betting ring in New Jersey.
Joseph W. LaForte made this admission Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Trenton.
Thirty-nine year old LaForte pleaded guilty to charges he was accused of, including conspiracy to operate an unlawful online sports betting business. LaForte, currently serving a prison term in New York on unrelated charges, faces up to five years and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced on the 6th of April.
In his admission, LaForte revealed that in 2005 and early 2006, he and his associates directed bettors to a particular online sports betting website located outside the United States. LaForte shared in the profits from the online business.