Former English Sports Betting Boss Now Training to Preach

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Jan/18/2011
English Sports Betting

A popular TV show called "Where Are They Now?" tracked down people who were famous years ago to find out what became of them.

If there were a version of the show devoted to the offshore gambling industry, one of the more interesting episodes of such a show would be about former offshore sportsbook operator Dennis Atiyeh.

Atiyeh for years owned and operated one of the first offshore sportsbooks in the industry--English Sports Betting, or ESB for short.

The sportsbook, which took bets by phone, fax and e-mail, originated in Antigua, later moved to Jamaica and then ended up in Ireland, before Atiyeh sold it and got out of the offshore bookie business a few years ago.

Atiyeh's reign as an offshore sportsbook boss was fraught with controversy, including lawsuits from and against recently-deceased Web portal operator Ken "The Shrink" Weitzner, tangles with the IRS and a strike by Jamaican ESB employees.

The most controversial incident, of course, was when Federal prosecutors went after Atiyeh for allegedly booking bets out of an ESB marketing office in Whitehall, Pennsyvlania, USA.

The Whitehall office was only used for marketing and advertising ESB, however--if it wasn't, the Jamaican facility wouldn't have been needed--and a jury in a 2001 Federal trial quickly concluded that, acquitting Atiyeh of all charges.

So, as they say, where are they now?

According to Atiyeh's new personal website, at www.dennisatiyeh.com, the former offshore bookie who played football at the University of Pittsburgh is now a farmer in rural Pennsyvlania and is attending classes towards receiving a Masters Degree in theology.

Among other things, his website states: "Jesus states when we feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit the sick and in prison, we are doing it to Him. Christ states, who is my brother? Who is my mother? He who does my father's work."

Elsewhere on the website, Atiyeh states his "current occupation" is "farming and recycling," and that he is a "member" of the "Pennsyvlania Farm Bureau" and the "Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania."

He also states on the website that he was a "double major" at the "University of Pittsburgh" in "economics and history" with a "minor in real estate development" and is "currently working towards Masters in theology."

In addition, Atiyeh notes on the website: "I have neither been convicted of a crime nor have I committed a crime. The legal system confirms this. I am in good standing with St. Joseph the Worker Roman Catholic Church in Orefield, Pa. and St. George's Syrian Orthodox Church in Allentown, Pa. Family, friends, teammates and coaches know my heart."

From bookie to preacher.

Only in America!

By Tom Somach
Gambling911.com Staff Writer
tomsomach@yahoo.com

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