Cantor Gaming Claims Former Director Acted Alone: US Gov Investigation Ongoing

Written by:
C Costigan
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Cantor Gaming Claims Former Director Acted Alone: US Gov Investigation Ongoing

The New York Times on Tuesday unveiled a lengthy investigative piece into Cantor Gaming and the ongoing investigation into potential improprieties surrounding the firm.

A series of state and federal court filings by prosecutors has alleged links between Cantor's operation and an illegal gambling world encompassing New York bookmakers, offshore gambling companies that aren't allowed to do business in the U.S., and "runners" paid to move money and bets in and out of Nevada casinos, the Times reported.  Cantor Gaming is one of the leading sportsbook operators in the state of Nevada.  The firm runs a number of Las Vegas’ largest sportsbooks.

The investigation follows an indictment against former Cantor Gaming Director Michael Colbert, charged with conspiracy and accepting illegal bets.  He has since plead guilty and, in doing so, apparently implicated other high ranking officials at the company, most notably chief Lee Amaitis. 

An attorney for Mr. Colbert, who hasn't yet been sentenced, declined to comment for the Times report.

A representative from Cantor Gaming, however, was quick to throw Colbert under the bridge. 

"the company knows of no wrongdoing other than by Mr. Colbert."

An internal investigation "concluded that Colbert's wrongdoing, to which he has pleaded guilty, was his alone and did not extend to other executives... or the company as a whole," said the spokesman, Robert Hubbell, who added that the former executive's "illegal actions did not benefit Cantor Gaming."

Hubble also noted that Cantor complies with a federal requirement to report cash transactions of $10,000 or more.

Amaitis declined to be interviewed for the Times report.

Colbert’s wrongdoing is described by the Times and brought on through Cantor’s sophisticated new model that permits large bet taking from pros:

The challenge with encouraging bets from the pros, some of whom have developed sophisticated models, is finding a way to balance their sometimes large wagers. To reduce the risk, Mr. Colbert "sought to obtain bets that would cancel out large wagers," bets known as "buyback," prosecutors of the former Cantor official said in a charging document filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York this year.

The prosecutors alleged that Mr. Colbert knowingly accepted bets placed by runners working for an illegal gambling organization called the "Jersey Boys." That practice, "messenger betting," is illegal in Nevada if the runner is paid.

There is also a civil forfeiture case, whereby federal attorneys alleged that on numerous occasions, illegal bookmakers moved bags of cash in and out of Nevada casinos, including some sports books operated by Cantor.  Some of the forfeiture defendants have settled while continuing to fight potential money seizures.  This has led to further speculation that other high-ranking officials from within Cantor could be implicated as part of the ongoing probe.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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