New Jersey Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling Websites

Ken Edwards face
Ken Edwards
New Jersey Cracks Down on Illegal Gambling Websites

The news that six men have been charged with running illegal gambling sites highlights the commitment of legislators to protect people who enjoy betting.

The sextet from Staten Island and New Jersey are accused of facilitating around $11 million in bets through two websites over a six-month period.

District Attorney eager to see justice done

Among the charges placed with the court were fifth-degree conspiracy, first-degree promoting gambling and first-degree possession of gambling records.

Ross Branca, of Freehold, N.J., who was identified as the leader of the operation, was also charged with second-degree money laundering.

Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez, said that the indictments proved the state was working hard to clamp down on illegal betting operators.

“Illegal gambling is not a victimless crime, but an unlawful conduct that is often connected to loansharking, money laundering and to organized crime,” he said.

“These defendants are charged with allegedly running lucrative gambling operations that took in millions of dollars in bets. We have now shut down their enterprises and will seek to hold them accountable.”

While the Supreme Court’s decision during 2018 to lift the ban on sports betting has undoubtedly proved beneficial to many states, there is clearly still plenty of work to do before illegal gambling is completely stamped out.

Much of the emphasis for achieving this rests on the shoulders of legislators and the gambling industry itself, but the major leagues in North America also have a part to play.

NBA working hard to embrace sports betting

NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, first advocated the legalization and regulation of sports betting in the United States more than five years ago.

Silver was eager to see a landscape created where fans could gamble in a safe environment and the organizations position remains the same today.

Scott Kaufman-Ross, the NBA’s senior vice president in charge of fantasy and gaming, has been tasked with ensuring the integrity of basketball is protected under the new laws.

“We are trying to crowd out the illegal offshore market, and so what we are doing commercially is kind of trying to move in the direction we set five years ago,”.

“What we’ve done over the past fifteen months or so is form a series of non-exclusive partnerships across the sports betting industry.

“So, we have two partnerships with data distributors: Sportradar and Genius Sports. They are distributors of official data, and we now have nine non-exclusive sports betting partners.

“And our goal here is to put NBA assets into the legal and regulated ecosystem so that we can differentiate the legal, licensed operators from the offshore operators.”

NFL still finding its way with the gambling industry

The NFL has historically had an uneasy relationship with the gambling industry and it is fair to say that it is still finding its way around the revised rules.

Much like the NBA, one major area of concern for the NFL has been maintaining the integrity of the sport where betting is concerned.

While the league has started to slowly embrace the benefits that legalized sports wagering can bring from a revenue perspective, one area where it hasn’t budged are its rules regarding players placing bets.

Josh Shaw’s recent hefty suspension for placing a bet against his own team highlighted that the NFL remains unmoved on the issue.

The Arizona Cardinals’ defenseman placed a three-team bet during November that included a wager against his own team.

He was handed a one-year ban by the NFL – significantly greater than many players have been given for acts of domestic violence, drug abuse and other more ‘serious’ offenses.

“The continued success of the NFL depends directly on each of us doing everything necessary to safeguard the integrity of the game and the reputations of all who participate in the league,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

“At the core of this responsibility is the long-standing principle that betting on NFL games, or on any element of a game, puts at risk the integrity of the game, damages public confidence in the NFL, and is forbidden under all circumstances.”

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