Attorney Talks Going After Stiff Bookies and How Certain State Laws Make it Possible

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Albany, Georgia-based attorney Joe Durham on Tuesday sat down with Vegas Horse Pools to answer questions pertaining to some recent lawsuits he has filed against various bookies alleged to be operating in bad faith.  Skip the Netflix tonight and check this out.  It's just over an hour but full of juicy information.

Find consenus plays and leaderboard picks for free

Vegas Horse Pools starts off by asking about what he says is all the rage these days, betting partnerships.  But are the legal?

Durham answered in what he termed "typical lawyer fashion" by saying "it depends".

It's not just states but there is federal law involved.

"The issue becomes, 'where is the bet placed' and there hadn't been any true prosecutions or law enforcement getting into that particular issue as it relates to the player.  You never hear about the players getting in trouble.  There is a lot of legal academics out there that have written articles in law reviews and journals that have taken the position that because the server where the bet is being done is in Costa Rica (or) somewhere that there is a strong argument that the bet was actually placed outside the United States and might be legal whereas the bookie who is collecting the money is doing everything in the United States."

Durham believes it is a grey area but the level of safety is much higher for the player.

Here is a description of a betting partnership per The Hammer:

When you enter into a betting partnership, you are handing over your account(s) to a professional betting group. Call them a betting group, call them a syndicate, call them whatever you want. But it’s usually a relatively small group of professionals working together as a team to fill your account with winning bets. You give them your username, password, the location from which your bets should be placed, credit limit on the account, and the equity stake for each side. The betting group then uses your login to place bets into the account.

Every interaction with the bookie is still handled by you, NOT the betting group. There’s a very, very strong possibility your bookie will not appreciate the fact that a group of sports bettors, with a proven track record of success, are now placing bets into your account. So when it’s time for the weekly settle, that’s still on you. When the bookie starts giving you shit for what you’re betting on or for being a winner, it falls on you to calm the situation. It’s a nice little three-way: you have a relationship with the bookie, a relationship with your betting group, but the betting group and bookie aren’t getting together on the side.

Joe set the record straight that he is representing a major group that has formed a limited liability company that outlines the management of everything that they do "because they are doing it legally".

"When you draft these joint agreements, you in Vegas, he's in Tennessee for example, what I say is we are going to put in that joint venture agreement certain language that says 'hey, for purposes of this agreement, we both agree that either there is an arbitration revision that says what state law it's going to be governed under, and if you don't want to do arbitration you still have something saying this agreement will be governed under the laws of state whatever you want.  I always recommend my clients, even though they may not be in Georgia, to use Georgia law because that's what I am familiar with and say that both parties will be subject to jurisdiction and venue in Georgia, which is perfectly legal.  It's done all the time in commercial contracts."

Joe also discusses gambling contracts as being unenforceable but there is one quirk in Georgia law he's been relying on.  This law can even be applied to so-called "Twitter bookies", who the gentlemen believe not always to be among the more honorable. Durham is familiar with the Georgia law that can be applied but advises that other states have similar laws on the book.

"Every bet that I make is a contract between you and me," Durham explains.  "And the consideration for that is what the bet amount is.  So that's easy enough to figure out.  And what the law says is that, while gambling laws are unenforceable, we're going to make an exception. 

"Number one, if you're the loser on that gambling contract, you have six months to sue to get your money back. But after that six months, any person - doesn't have to have placed the bets, doesn't have to have done anything - it's very akin to being like a whistle blower, can come in and sue the bookie, the Twitter bookie, for every gambling bet winning they ever had and get it back from them."

This money is split with the education fund for the state county.

The analysis that the appellate courts have done basically says "we are not going to enforce gambling contracts but someone, i.e. the Twitter bookie, does not deserve to get rich off making money off these illegal things, so we're giving you an opportunity to go out there and call this money back."

And what if you are the winner and he didn't pay you?

"You can't sue if you were not paid, so what you do is, you have to take the analysis and ..... I'm going to go ahead and talk about the Twitter bookie that we talked about earlier here.

"That Twitter bookie is still out there operating.  He's huge.  We all know the dollar figures thrown out (and) the states he's lived, the different sub agents he's put out there.  It's crazy."

Durham names this individual as one Leighton Thetford III and notes that he's talked to various family member of his activities.

"So we can't go out and sue him and say 'hey, you didn't pay Brian my client'.  But what we can do, because we have certain records that give me the ability to have jurisdiction in Georgia, because of the electronic payments, now we're not worried about you and Brian, we know how much money you've made over the years.  We're coming for every nickle of it.   

"What that does is it puts the guy, Leighton in this case, in a really tough spot.  And let's think about that.  So he can either pay, whatever that amount is, it can be a negotiated amount, or we can do discovery.  We've sent out dozens of subpoenas for Venmo records, Apple Pay records, you know money other than crypto - crypto is a bit of a different animal - you can't hide that stuff because we are able to... get all the transactions, then we can send the subpoena to the bank so we can track every dollar."

The so-called Twitter bookie once would laugh at the idea that someone would sue him or her for taking bets.

"Yeah, that's exactly what I am going to do," Durham said.

"If people would just be honest and do what's right we wouldn't be in this position.  There should be honor.  It's like a hand shake.  You're gonna bet on something, pay when you lose and pay the man when he beats you."

Durham also discusses some of the matters he's involved in now including the Alabama car dealership owner bookie along with his partner who got shot up years back during an attempted home break-in, as well as the former Texas Longhorns player-turned-bookie.

You will need to watch above for more.

- Chris Costigan, Publisher

Gambling News