August 17, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — In the United States, the strict laws against online gambling, including the Wire Wager Act and the UIGEA (2006’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), continue to take their toll on the industry. Gary Kaplan, the founder and chief management behind BetOnSports.com, has pleaded guilty to online gambling charges and has agreed to forfeit more than $43 million in profits.
Charged with conspiracy and violation of wagering laws in a United States federal court in St. Louis, Kaplan now faces as many as 50 months in prison because of the guilty admission. The plea comes after years of controversy, in which Kaplan and other BetOnSports figures have been incidicted and have awaited trial in this high-profile case.
"Today's guilty plea should have a lasting effect because Kaplan was not only the founder of BetOnSports, he was also one of the pioneers of illegal online gambling," said John V. Gillies, an FBI agent prosecuting Kaplan, stated, illustrating the mindset of many American officials who are still deeply opposed to the idea of Internet gambling on all levels.
"I accept responsibility for my actions and I realize that as a U.S. citizen, I should have abided by U.S. law," was Kaplan’s response. "Nevertheless, I do not agree with the U.S. stance against offshore telephone and Internet sports betting. But I do accept full responsibility for my decisions."
Since its founding in 1995, Costa Rica-based BetOnSports was a highly successful online betting site, which U.S. prosecutors claimed had almost a million customers worldwide “who bet more than a billion dollars,” according to the charges. The company employed 1,700 people at its peak.
The guilty plea represents another victoy for American anti-online gambling laws. Unlike the PartyGaming settlement earlier this year, however, this development is less likely to have a positive impact on the online gambling industry (which, of course, includes the online gaming affiliate marketing industry).