Mob-Backed Sportsbook Operator Gets Sent To Big House By New Jersey Court

A mob-backed online sports book — BetEagle.com — saw one of its leaders sent to prison in U.S. district court in New Jersey.

The story of a mob-backed online sports book nearly came to a close in U.S. district court in New Jersey.

One of the men behind the sports book Beteagle.com was sentenced in Newark last week, and in a lot of ways the case sounds like a Mafia vs. the government tale, updated for the internet age. The sportsbook was based in Costa Rica, but allegedly run through New Jersey.

The mob goes online

The case comes ready-made with a villain with an Italian name. Joseph Graziano, a 78-year-old from Springfield, N.J., was apparently one of the ringleaders, according to a story at NJ.com about the case. Graziano was sentenced to 18 months in prison under a racketeering charge.

Joseph “Pepe” Lascala, a member of the Genovese crime family, is allegedly the head of the operation, according to the story; charges against him are still pending. The Genovese clan is one of the “Five Families” that run organized crime in New York City. Another man associated with the site, Dominick Barone, was sentenced to 18 months in June. All were arrested in 2012.

Frankie the Flea is gonna break your legs?

Some of the “agents” involved in the operation went by names that appear to come from a bad mob movie, like “Frankie the Flea,” “The worm,” and “Harpo.”

More from NJ.com:

The U.S. Attorney’s office said mob associates were given access to Beteagle and worked “sub-agents,” under them, each responsible for a group of bettors they called “the package.” But no money or credits were made or transferred through the website. Instead, winnings were paid out in person, and losses were collected directly. If a bettor failed to pay, prosecutors said threats would be made.

In one meeting captured on surveillance tape, one informant was told there were no escape routes.

“The only thing you can do is pay the money,” he was told, according to the 2012 criminal complaint. “These are gangsters.”

BetEagle gets a D+

Despite allegedly using intimidation tactics to get people to pay, the site still got a D+ from the website Sportsbookreview.com.

Apparently, this report wasn’t enough to warrant an F:

Players claim over $21,000 was stolen by rogue betting agents. BetEagle has no oversight of agents using its platform, and will not stand for player funds.

A story at Gambling 911 offered a glowing recommendation in 2011:

BetEAGLE.com is known to have a good reputation overall and has been around the industry for some time.

New Jersey targets illegal sports betting

A sportsbook run by another mob clan — the Lucchese crime family — was also shut down by New Jersey authorities. Some members of the family were sentenced last month.

That book took over $2 billion in sports bets in about a year, according to prosecutors.

At the same time, the state is fighting in federal court to legalize sports betting, after a law passed in 2014 allowing casinos and tracks to take bets. A verdict from the appeals court could come any day, and if New Jersey wins, regulated sports betting in the state would follow soon after.

Photo by Hudconja used under license CC BY-SA 3.0

Mohegan Sun Hopes For Bright Future With New Jersey Internet Gambling Launch

Mohegan Sun is now offering online casino games to New Jersey residents via its new internet gambling site.

New Jersey residents now have another place to play online casino games, courtesy of Mohegan Sun.

Welcome, Mohegan Sun

The Mohegan Sun Casino site went live last week and is operating under the Resorts online gaming license. It will be the second online casino opened with that license, out of a maximum of five. The online casino is apparently in a “soft launch” phase, which could wrap up this week.

Like most online casinos, the site has a lot of the games you would expect to see:

  • A variety of slots
  • Several versions of video poker
  • Roulette
  • Blackjack

Mohegan Sun is offering a 100 percent bonus — up to $1,000 — at launch; the bonus unlocks at a rate of 20 percent of money wagered.

Why is Mohegan Sun in New Jersey?

The Mohegan tribe manages Resorts AC. The Mohegan Sun brand, even without a named resort and casino in New Jersey, is well known in the state, and could be a boon to Resorts. Online gambling is not available in Connecticut, where Mohegan is headquartered.

Bobby Soper, president of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, believes there is still room in the market for the new offering, according to The Press of Atlantic City:

But “we definitely see growth opportunity here,” Soper said, describing analysts’ generally underwhelmed take on the industry as a product of overblown expectations. “We’re bullish on the potential,” he said.

The latest online casino to open

Mohegan Sun’s online casino opened just a few days ago, giving bettors in New Jersey an 11th option for playing online casino games.

It joins these casinos that are already in the market:

Mohegan Sun will not offer online poker, which has struggled while online casinos have grown. PokerStars is believed to be entering the New Jersey online poker market sometime this month.

Photo by AnuradhaW used under license CC BY-SA 2.0.

Pair Of New Jersey Players Reach WSOP’s November Nine

Two poker players from New Jersey reached the final table of the World Series of Poker main event and will play for the top prize of $7 million in November.

Two poker players from New Jersey reached the final table of the World Series of Poker main event and will play for the top prize of more than $7 million in November.

The lucky players are…

Josh Beckley, from Marlton, and Tom Cannuli, from Cape May, both survived a field of 6,420 entries to have a chance at winning the most famous poker tournament on the planet.

The main event played down to a final table on Tuesday; the tournament will resume on Nov. 8, when the players return to the Rio in Las Vegas to play down to a winner over the course of three days. The final table will be shown on a short delay on ESPN.

Both players have been guaranteed a payday of at least $1 million; that is the prize money that will be awarded to ninth place. They are playing for the top prize of $7.6 million and the coveted gold bracelet that goes to the winner.

More on New Jersey’s own

Beckley is the more accomplished live tourney player of the two, with more than $200,000 in cashes in his career. He won nearly half of that total last year in an event at Philadelphia’s Parx Casino, winning a tournament for $98K.

Cannuli had about $50,000 in live tournament cashes before the main event, according to Hendon Mob, which tracks tourney results. His biggest cash to date actually came in last year’s main event, when he finished 691st and won $18K. Cannuli is classified as a cash game and online player in a short profile at PokerNews.com, which also noted he was getting cheered on by some well-known pros, including Antonio Esfandiari.

Both players have work to do if they want to win the title. Chip leader Joseph McKeehen has 63 million in chips, while both Cannuli and Beckley have about 12 million in chips. They are currently sitting in sixth and seventh place, respectively in the chip counts.

Also at the final table

There are also two other East Coast players at the final table:

  • McKeehen, the chip leader, is from North Wales, Pennsylvania
  • Patrick Chan, one of the short stacks, is from Brooklyn, N.Y.

There are also a pair of players California and players from Israel, Belgium and Italy. PokerNews.com has information on every member of the November Nine.

PokerStars pro Daniel Negreanu finished in 11th place.

Attacks On New Jersey Online Gambling Sites Weren’t ‘Hacking’

A cyber-attack against New Jersey online gambling sites this week has been characterized as “hacking” in the mainstream media.

A cyber-attack against New Jersey online gambling sites this week has been characterized as “hacking” in the mainstream media, which is not necessarily an accurate assessment of what happened.

What actually happened in New Jersey?

The Associated Press characterized the attacks in this way in the lede of its story:

A hacker shut down four New Jersey Internet gambling sites for half an hour last week and threatened more cyberattacks over the holiday weekend unless a ransom was paid using the online currency Bitcoin, authorities said Tuesday.

The sites that were attacked were not identified.

While the person who coordinated the attacks might indeed be a “hacker,” what he or she did was not really “hacking.”

The attacks were “distributed denial of service attacks,” according to New Jersey authorities, which is generally different from “hacking.” In a DDoS attack, someone tries to flood a website or network with traffic so that it can no longer function. When “hacking” occurs, it is generally taken to mean that the network or system has been infiltrated by the attacker.

Hacking or DDoS, does it matter?

While calling something a hack or a DDoS attack might seem like a moot point, to the average person, they conjure up different images. Online Poker Report’s Chris Grove explains:

Outright hacking rarely happens to established online gambling sites with security measures in place. As Grove notes, DDoS attempts can happen and are often temporary.

The difference? DDoS attacks to New Jersey online gambling sites mean you might not be able to play there for a period of time, if you are a customer. But they do not cause your accounts or any money associated with them to be in danger.

DDoS attacks are still a threat

That doesn’t mean that DDoS attacks should be ignored. They are capable of crippling sites for periods of time.

As a story at NJ.com notes, another attack could “negatively impact the targeted casinos, but also all business in Atlantic City who share the same internet service provider.”

But the current threat of attack doesn’t have a huge impact on the end consumer, other than affecting their ability to play at a site.

Photo by Colin used under license CC-BY-SA 4.0

Five Days Left To Play In WSOP.com Online Championships

The WSOP.com Online Championships in New Jersey wrap up next week, leaving five days to get in on the action.

There are still 14 events remaining that you can enter; check out the entire schedule here.

Four of the remaining tournaments guarantee prize pools of $5,000 or more, including:

  • $100 buy-in with re-entry, 1 add-on, $5K guaranteed on June 25 at 7:30 p.m.
  • $500 buy-in high roller with re-entry, $25K guaranteed on June 28 at 3:30 p.m.
  • $200 buy-in with re-entry, $12,500 guaranteed on June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
  • $100 buy-in turbo deep-stack with re-entry, $5,000 guaranteed on June 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Interestingly, one player actually won back-to-back tournaments in the series.

The player with the ID “weweweasel” won both events 62 and 63, for a combined $2,200. One event was pot-limit Omaha, while the other was no-limit hold’em. It was his 23rd multi-table tournament victory, according to WSOPStats.com.

There is also an online bracelet event starting at WSOP.com this year, but you can only play in it if you are in Nevada at the time. It’s not open to players in New Jersey, unless they are physically in Nevada. The buy-in is $1,000.

So, if you want to play, you would need to hop on a plane soon. If you’re going for the World Series of Poker main event, anyway, then you can go online to have another chance at a bracelet. The online component of the event starts at noon Vegas time on July 2. Action resumes at noon on July 4 for the live final table at the Rio.