Two New York state men are looking at a mountain of legal troubles after their massive football pick ‘em was shut down by the US Department of Justice last week for promoting illegal gambling.

Ron Kronengold and Mike Bernstein are the organizers of a long-running, and pretty massive, football pick ‘em site called, “Ron & Mike’s Football Pool.” The site featured a number of pools in the survivor format, wherein players can only choose a team once per season and are eliminated completely if they miss a single pick.

According to a report on, the site has been around for at least eight years; hosted thousands of players; and features a prize pool of nearly $2.5 million (USD).

None of this would really be a problem for Kronengold and Bernstein save one little, the Feds believe that they were skimming roughly ten percent of the prize money for their own use. Under New York State and Federal law, that moves the football pick ‘em from a friendly wager between friends to a serious violation of the laws regarding illegal gambling.

According to, Kronengold and Bernstein seemed to vacillate between hiding their operation from view and bringing it into the public light. For example, while the men had no problem trademarking the term, “Ron and Mike’s Football Pool,” they also had players make out checks to the name of a non-existent mortgage company while sending those same checks to an anonymous PO box.

So far the men haven’t been formally charged, but it’s likely they’ll face charges of bookmaking and profiting from a gambling activity.

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