BetonSports Boss Wife Sits Down With Gambling911

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:

Holly Kaplan is angry.  The wife of BetonSports founder, Gary Kaplan, is growing impatient with the US justice system.  It's been nearly two years since her husband was incarcerated and to date there has been no sign of a trial looming.

Gary Kaplan, along with nearly a dozen other co-defendants, a few of whom are family members, has been charged with money laundering, tax evasion and moving gambling devices across state lines, among other things.  All charges are in connection with what had been the largest offshore sportsbook catering to the North American public.  BetonSports at its height employed well over 1000 people in Costa Rica where it was based.  Immediately following the indictments in July 2006, BetonSports shut down.

While Gary was widely considered among the more controversial figures in online gambling, the Brooklyn born tough guy was also one of the industry's best marketers and he would ultimately earn the respect of his peers.  Kaplan, who built his company by working 7 days a week, 12 hours plus a day, had relinquished much of his control over BetonSports during the two years proceeding the indictments following the firm's trading on the London Stock Exchange. 

Gambling911.com's Jenny Woo caught up with Holly Kaplan in an effort to get the latest updates on Gary's plight.   


JENNY:  One of the most frustrating things has to be why it is taking so long to schedule a trial.  If I recall properly, the folks from Enron were even tried right away.  What is going on here?  Why the delay?


HOLLY:  Gary's lawyers who practice all over the country, and even the world, agree that they have never seen an alleged white-collar criminal be treated the way my husband is being treated. Well over a year ago, Gary's legal team moved to have him released on bond and the Court denied that motion on the grounds that he was a flight risk. We're not the only defendants in the country with financial means and the ability to travel.


Approximately six months ago, based on the extreme amount of time that he has been incarcerated and other changed circumstances, we again petitioned the Court that he be released on bond or more importantly be given a speedy trial date. The Court continues to refuse to rule on the Speedy Trial Motion. Needless to say, we never anticipated that 18 months into the litigation there would not even be a trial date or that he would not be home with us.


JENNY:  Can you tell us how Gary is holding up?


HOLLY:  Those that know Gary would probably describe him as strong and stubborn, with a tenacious will to succeed. These are the very traits that made him a successful businessman, get him through everyday and will see him successfully to the end of this ordeal. He is a strong man, and it is an honor to call him my husband. His lawyers often comment on the fact that he works on his case with them more than their other clients, which is a testament to his dedication, intestinal fortitude and positive mindset.


The real tragedy in this situation is the impact that it is having on our children. My children and I moved to St. Louis from Costa Rica in order to be by his side and support him through these events. They are now enrolled in school here and participate in extra curricular activities.


JENNY:  Does Gary intend to fight this to the bitter end or are there some aspects of the complaint where he feels the Government does have a strong enough case?


HOLLY:  Of course Gary intends to fight this to the end because there are no aspects of the complaint where the Government has a strong case. The Government's case lacks merit, as evidenced by the dismissal of the tax counts; and as everyone has known from the onset of this litigation, the government's case is overreaching, especially as it concerns the RICO charges.


JENNY:  What was running through Gary's mind when the Lenis pleaded out and will most likely testify against your husband?


HOLLY:  The Lenis family should never have been a part of this case in the first place. They were no different than any of our other advertisers like Google, The Sporting News, Maxim or Charter Communications. The fact that defendants have taken a plea should indicate the government wants this matter resolved.


JENNY:   Weren't these the same people who transported a gambling bus across state lines and may have acted without Gary's consent?


HOLLY:  Yes.  It was Gary's intention for the RV to be used for mobile advertising.  It was never his intention for bets to be taken on the RV.  DME was hired by Bet On Sports to drive a mobile home across the country to different sports venues in order to promote the company. 


JENNY:  We don't recall Gary ever employing the use of a "gambling bus" when he was in full control of the company.


HOLLY:  I know that my husband would never have authorized bets to be taken on American soil.


JENNY:  With a new administration coming into power, will this have any affect on the BetonSports case that you are aware of?  There is talk that Catherine Hanaway (the state attorney who is overseeing this matter) might make a run for governor of Missouri.


HOLLY:  As of the last election the Democrats won the Governor's office. Hanaway will have to wait another four years if she wants to run.


Most likely with the change of administration there will be a new U.S. Attorney in this district. However, in this current political climate, with so many more pressing issues, it is unlikely that this issue will be at the top of the new administration's list.  Internet gambling has always been a gray area. We remain optimistic that the new administration will take a softer stance against online gaming, which would be in line with the rest of the world. As we all know, the progressive alternative would be to license and regulate the online gaming industry.


JENNY:  How have you been coping since this matter unfolded and do you have a strong support base in Costa Rica?  We know from speaking with other operators they all seem to have great admiration for Gary.


HOLLY:  We have a very strong support system, both in Costa Rica and the United States, which continues to help us through these trying circumstances.


Although Gary was not always loved by the industry due to his sometimes heavy-handed approach to advertising, it is evident by the support we continue to receive from the industry that he is both admired and respected. We greatly appreciate that support.  


JENNY:  Who exactly are Gary's main attorneys?  We have heard Allan Dershowitz, Chris Flood and what is the story with Ben Brafman - the rumors are Gary fired him?


HOLLY:  Although Ben Brafman is no longer a member of our team, he has made himself available for consultation when needed.


Our lead attorney is Chris Flood, from the law firm Flood and Flood in Houston Texas. The other attorneys of record are:


Samuel Buffone and Ryan Malone of ROPES & GRAY

Dan L. Cogdell of The COGDELL LAW FIRM  

Arthur Margulis, Sr. of MARGULIS AND GRANT 



Of Counsel:  Alan M. Dershowitz, Victoria B. Eiger, and Nathan Z. Dershowitz


JENNY:  Does Gary still follow the industry closely?  Does he have Internet access?


HOLLY:  Gary enjoys staying abreast of the industry by reading articles from your site when provided by his attorneys. Since he has been incarcerated, he has become an avid reader.  He stays up to date on most current events by reading newspapers and magazines daily.


JENNY:  What exactly is behind the story that surfaced this week having to do with other attorneys complaining that Gary was spending all hours of the day meeting with his attorneys while public defendants were being deprived from meeting with their clients?  Is there a chance he can be transferred to another facility?


HOLLY:  Due to the magnitude of this case and the charges involved, it is necessary that my husband and his legal team spend numerous hours working together. The problem with the present facility is that the jail only has two interview rooms for attorneys to meet with their clients. As a result, understandably, other attorneys have complained that they are not getting enough time to meet with their clients. However, in a normal 9 - 5 day, with all of the mandatory breaks by the facility, Gary often works less than 2.5 hours as it is. As a result, the defense team is actually spending less time with my husband than before.  All of his attorneys are continuously working with the facility's staff to make sure that all parties are treated fairly.


This is the federal government we0re dealing with.  Based on the treatment Gary has received thus far, there is always the outside chance that he could be moved to another facility.


JENNY:  Does it appear that your husband might have any success getting a trial scheduled at another venue - anywhere outside of St. Louis let's say - where he stands a better chance of getting a fair trial?  Is this a key strategy of his legal team?


HOLLY:  As a mystery to us, the court has gone over a year and a half without ruling on the Motion for a Change of Venue and this is in light of the fact that this is one of the simplest motions submitted to the court.  From the outset of this litigation, we have never fully understood why this case was initiated in St. Louis.   As evidenced by the way the court has treated us, it is our belief that we would receive the most unbiased and truly just trial outside the jurisdiction of Missouri.  At the very least, my husband should have a trial date set or be given an opportunity to make bond.


JENNY:  Gary is very highly regarded by those of us here at Gambling911.com.  We will continue to monitor this situation closely and wish him all the success with this case. 



Jenny Woo, Gambling911.com Senior Correspondent


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