Friday, October 26, 2012
Nevada sports book director arrested - how are PinnacleSports.com involved?
Cantor Gaming sports book director Mike Colbert was arrested Wednesday in Las Vegas by state gaming agents in connection with a warrant filed by the district attorney in Queens County, N.Y.
Cantor Gaming has leased space in seven Las Vegas-area casinos - M Resort, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Venetian, Palazzo, Tropicana, Hard Rock and Palms - where it operates race and sports books - but legal sources say that this arrest has nothing to do with Cantor Gaming's activities.
Instead, it appears that stories are circulating that law enforcement officials are trying to tie Colbert and seven other men arrested in Las Vegas on New York warrants as acting as agents for bookmaking activity associated with an operation dubbed "World Wide Wagers".
( SOURCE : Nevada Gaming Control Board Release )
Seven homes were searched, and accounts and safe deposit boxes frozen and seized. Approximately $2.8m in cash and chips has been nabbed by the Feds.
Now, major sports network ESPN are reporting that "the owners of Curacao-based Pinnaclesports.com, one of the most prominent sports betting websites, were named in the indictment." ( ESPN source )
WTF? PinnacleSports are active in the United States? That doesn't ring true.
Online sports bettors will know the PinnacleSports stopped accepting US players on their website in January 2007, shortly after UIGEA was enacted, and in December 2008 stopped offering odds on US Horse races. Additionally, PinnacleSports.com closed their poker room in June 2011 over concerns about US poker players playing on the nework.
Furthermore, PinnacleSports.com has a significant list of countries that are excluded from playing including the United States, France, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands - all potentially lucrative markets that were turned away by the company as different national gambling regulations were passed.
PinnacleSports seem to have tried hard to remain compliant with the various laws and regulatory issues around the globe.
So if PinnacleSports are not accepting wagers from United States based players directly, then what is this all about?
It appears that a third-party "Agent System" offered by PinnacleSports.com to dozens of agents around the world may be the cause. These agents use the system to take bets from players using PinnacleSports lines - but the betting and the money stays between the agents and the player.
Agents pay a fee to use the software and the bets taken have nothing to do with the company providing the software.
But if this system was being used to facilitate gambling from US players even remotely via proxies, phone calls to "robot" clients that enter the bets or any other means, then I could see a possible connection that is not legal according to current United States UIGEA laws.
What do PinnacleSports say?
Pinnacle released a statement asserting that ”No Pinnacle Sports employees have been arrested or charged, and Pinnacle Sports itself was not charged in the indictment. We expect no interruptions to our day to day business activities at this time.” ( Pinnacle statement at PokerNews.com )
What should bettors at PinnacleSports do with their accounts?
It's the first time that I've even heard a whisper about the Agent system being used in the United States - I was pretty sure that PinnacleSports had decided to get completely out of the US betting action.
With the details of the "Agent System" in mind - WHO REALLY KNOWS what the ramifications might be for Pinnacle in the long-term.
I think that any player who is worried about their Pinnacle funds should probably take action to reduce their balance. There is no harm in using your free monthly withdrawal to reduce your balance to a level you feel comfortable at.
Bring back 50%, 75% or even 100% of your bank at PinnacleSports if you are uncomfortable with the current situation - there is nothing wrong with being cautious and minimizing risk - that's part of being a good punter.
I have the word from a couple of players that they got paid out today via e-wallets and it only took 10-20 minutes ... so right now liquidity is still good.