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Richardson Wants George Clooney: Not Leonardo DiCaprio

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jun/18/2009
George Clooney

After learning that Leonardo DiCaprio's production company was slated to begin filming on a project that would focus on the world of Internet gambling in Costa Rica, Gambling911.com suggested that DiCaprio would likely play the role of Mickey Richardson, CEO of the oldest and most entrenched Costa Rican sportsbook, BetCRIS.com.  The reality is that any film about the Costa Rican sports betting industry that doesn't consider BetCRIS will be laughed at by any serious gambler, the very target viewer of the proposed flick.

"There has got to be a real depiction," said Payton O'Brien of Gambling911.com. 

The industry in Costa Rica got its start in 1997, following some unstable times in early 90's sports betting call center havens like the Dominican Republic, Panama and a pre-1996 unregulated Antigua.

Richardson's company caters to some of the biggest sports bettors in the world. 

"It's hard to imagine any professional sports bettor gambling offshore who hasn't placed a wager at BetCRIS," says O'Brien.

Richardson's only reservation about the film:  He would prefer George Clooney play him. 

There are enough stories that have emerged from the Costa Rican online gambling industry to allow for 20 sequels, 10 of which could focus exclusively on BetonSports.

In order to get those creative juices flowing, Gambling911.com has offered up a few "true" stories from the world of Costa Rican online gambling that might aid DiCaprio and his team with this project.

Bookmaker Turned Drag Queen - Before there was a Sparky Collins, there was a Monty - a one time bookmaker at BetCRIS who was later "let go" and opened his own disaster of a sportsbook.  Monty would often host rave parties dressed as a woman and he wasn't exactly ashamed of the idea that people knew about his "alternative lifestyle". 

The BetonSports Shooting Range - Before it was BetonSports, it was NASA International.  Gary Kaplan had split with his partners, who also maintained the "NASA" name (neither of which had anything to do with the space program but rather ‘North American Sports Association").   Gary's NASA was later referred to as "Big NASA" since its office was five times the size of anything else in Costa Rica at the time.  At its peak, the company operated from 7 floors in the relatively new Mall San Pedro, encompassing some 60,000 square feet with more than 1000 employees.  The office space included a nursery, which was strategically placed (on the 9th floor) directly above the indoor shooting gallery (on the 8th floor).  Whomever constructed the shooting gallery forgot to pad the walls.  An associate of Kaplan's was shot in the leg one day when one of the bullets ricocheted off the wall.  Another went through the ceiling through the floor of the nursery.  Fortunately it was night and no children were in the nursery at the time.

Gary Kaplan Shoots His Computer - Gary loved his guns.  Before moving into his 9 floor office, Gary occupied one floor in a building full of other sportsbooks.  One day, following a "bad game result", Kaplan pulled out his gun and shot his computer monitor, causing everyone to run for cover.  Nobody was injured, though Gary did destroy his computer.  By the way, if Steven Seagal hasn't retired yet, he can play Gary Kaplan.

Alcoholics Anonymous  - There is actually one specifically for sportsbook operators and their employees and they talk about it like going to church.

Number of Sportsbook Employees Physically Beaten Up By Their Bosses - 8.

Number of Attempted Hostile Acquisitions - 17.

Number of Near Deaths Passing Slow Moving Trucks Up Bending Mountainsides With No Guardrails on Way to Jaco Beach - 100.

Costa Rican Gambling Industry a Success, Crime Wave Goes Up - We here at Gambling911.com know of a few instances where vehicles driven by sportsbook owners and/or their bodyguards were shot up, owners pulled over along side busy highways and held up.  Guys have been mugged by assailants with machetes.  One of our associates here at Gambling911 was mugged after entering a pirate cab and stripped down to his underwear.  In the whole sceme of things, Costa Rica is relatively safe though...relatively. 

The Hotel Del Rey - It's the centerpiece of the Costa Rican sportsbook lifestyle and the first place any diehard goes upon entering the country.  Back in 1997, none of the girls (sometimes referred to as hookers) spoke a lick of English.  Today, nearly all of them do.  Some went on to marry their favorite sportsbook operators and employees. 

Janet Reno in Costa Rica - Talk about some irony.  After the DOJ charged 21 individuals with illegally operating online gambling websites (half of which were based out of Costa Rica) in March of 1998, Janet Reno would later visit Costa Rica.  She was driven around by a chauffer of one sportsbook operator (who shall remain nameless).   Ms. Reno was well away of the burgeoning industry in Costa Rica as she passed by one massive satellite dish after another.  Apparently she engaged in quite a conversation with the driver about the industry, commenting that something along the lines of "they (the sportsbook operators) just need to stop rubbing it in our faces." (that they are catering to US citizens).  The Clinton Administration never went after online gambling after this (even though they could have squashed the industry at that time).  Most of those indicted in 1998 were given nothing more than a slap on the wrist. 

The concern among industry folks is not so much that they will be depicted as rebellious, free spirited, gun, hooker and mobster loving, partying wannabe gangsters.  They are more concerned that the film will not depict them correctly: as rebellious, free spirited, gun, hooker and mobster loving, partying wannabe gangsters.  No offense to DiCaprio, who was fantastic in The Departed playing Billy Costigan, but a lot of these guys are scared DiCaprio might play them.  Let's put it this way - DiCaprio is skinny.  The average bookmaker is probably about 250 pounds (a conservative figure perhaps). 

In closing, we all know who Jack Nicholson will be playing (cigar in hand) should he be cast.   Shhhhhhh

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher        

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