Tuesday brought more arrests in the Platinum Sportsbook gambling ring that saw a raid of an invite-only Super Bowl party near Toronto last month.
"Police agencies from across Greater Toronto arrested 18 people, decapitating the 'upper echelons' of Platinum Sportsbook, a sports-betting website allegedly backed by the Hells Angels and other organized crime groups" said a report from the Globe and Mail.
Monthly profits allegedly topped $1 million for the group, which ultimately took its bets from servers in Costa Rica after being routed through the U.S.
"On Tuesday, the combined force acted on 13 search warrants for homes and financial institutions in York region, Barrie, London and Toronto," says the Globe and Mail report. "They seized $1.6-million cash, two handguns, a taser, computers, cellphones, betting lists and ledgers. The 18 arrests included charges for participating or engaging in a criminal organization, bookmaking and conspiracy to commit a criminal offence. Two of the 18 had been arrested during the original Superbowl raid and were charged with failing to comply with release conditions.
The names of the charged will be released Wednesday."
The Canadian Gaming Association (@CanadianGaming) Tweeted Wednesday morning these arrests mark yet one more reason why Bill C290 needs to pass in the Canadian Senate. The bill, which would legalize single-game sports wagering, is now a year old and awaits final approval from the Upper House.
The bill was unanimously passed in the House of Commons, yet political wrangling has stirred controversy and has stalled its passage. If the Senate does not ultimately pass the bill, it would mark the first time in Canadian history that a piece of legislation unanimously passed in the House of Commons was shot down in the Senate.
“Many gamblers do not appreciate negative consequences of what goes on behind the scenes when organized crime is managing the operation,” said York Regional Police Deputy Chief Bruce Herridge, highlighting human trafficking, massage parlors, extortion, money laundering and loansharking as some of the offshoots of illegal gaming.
Recent reports have suggested we are still several weeks away from a vote in the Senate on C290.