Brothers Operated Busted Online Gambling Site From Belize

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Dec/24/2009

The MajorWager.com website stumbled upon an interesting report on Thursday.

channel5Belize.com, a local Belize television news outlet, claimed to be separating the truth from the web of deceit spun by the Raviv brothers, two men busted last week for running the online gambling venture Net Games Inc. and its Internet1X2.com soccer brand.

According to Lincoln Blake of the Ministry of Economic Development, not only have they not issued a license to the gaming operation, they have never heard of the Raviv brothers, the report says, suggesting that the Raviv Brothers have not operated out of Belize.

But they have!  And it appeared that they were indeed licensed. 

The Raviv Brothers operated their business from a remote "tax-free" zone outside of Belize City, an area that at one time was going to be designated for similar online gambling ventures. 

I visited Belize in the year 2000 with a then representative of the Belize Gaming Association and the head of one of the country's largest banks who ran the business park.  I even met with a government official in the very remote capital of Belmopan (population 16,400).  And, yes, I even met the Raviv Brothers, who had just begun operations from the park in Ladyville.  At the time, that free trade zone housed newly built homes and offices along with towering satellites.  The businesses here included one of the oldest established offshore sportsbooks catering to North America, Carib, which was also among the first licensed Web gambling firms in Antigua.  Looselines and a fairly major online gambling software company also operated out of Ladyville at the time. Two major credit sports betting groups had just left Belize, one claiming it was "an absolute Hellhole". 

Today, the Ladyville free trade zone complex is full of empty houses and offices. It is unclear whether the Raviv brothers were still operating there at the time of their arrests last week.  Ido (Idan) was the man who stayed in Belize after the brothers began their nearly decade long business.  He also tried to sell the company on numerous occasions.  Brother Shai was believed to spend most of his time in Israel.  The company they ran was frequently plagued by complaints of slow payments. 

Via Phone: Lincoln Blake, Ministry of Economic Development

"No it's the first time I hear about that company. It's not licensed under the laws of Belize. The Government of Belize recently discovered that several online gaming websites are claiming to have licenses in Belize. We want to advise the Internet community and the general public that there are only two with license to operate from Belize. These are Fulton Data Processing Limited and Sports Offshore Limited. Any other company that claims to have such a license from Belize is clandestine. We ask all Internet users to refrain from doing business with these. All online gaming businesses in Belize are required under the Gaming Control Act and its online gaming regulations, to apply for a license. They must follow strict requirements and they must have a proven track record in gaming. The other companies that from time to time, operating online and claiming to have license, sometimes it's hard to find out who are the persons behind these operations. But what we try to do in 2007, what we did is to take out a public advisory and now we're doing it again in 2009 because from time to time these clandestine websites do come up and try to do something about it."

Blake may be correct about the licensing now, but most certainly at one point the Raviv Brothers were welcome with open arms by the Belize Government, which ran the free trade zone in Ladyville.  A representative of the complex introduced me to the brothers and Ido operated from that location for a number of years thereafter. 

Sports Off Shore (www.playlegal.com) was a long time established Antigua-based sportsbook that moved from that island nation in October 2009 to Belize.  Fulton is the same as Carib.

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher 

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