A few days back, the poker community completed 2 years since online poker was considered to be illegal. However, there is an underground racket operating in a number of states and the authorities recently decided to conduct a sting operation to bust some of these high profile operations.
Authorities recently decided to bust a Manhattan art gallery, were reports suggested that an illegal sports and poker betting racket was being conducted. It was reported that this illegal gambling operation featured a number of high profile celebrities, Wall Street employees and a number of professional athletes. The art gallery was located inside the Carlyle Hotel.
Acting on the information received, the police raided the establishment and arrested a number of high profile names who are thought to be multi-millionaires and even billionaires. Reports suggest that this entire racket was being run and protected by Russian mafia.
In a statement, NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said
The subjects in this case ran high-stakes illegal poker games and online gambling, proceeds from which are alleged to have been funneled to organized crime overseas. The one thing they didn’t bet on was the New York City police and federal investigators’ attention.
The best could be both bad and good news for the poker community in the nation. It could turn out to be good news because some states might go with the view that it is better to legalize online gambling and actually make the state profit from the taxes that would be levied on the online gambling industry.
On the other hand, it could be bad news because just as the poker community rallies and gains momentum in petitioning authorities to reconsider its decision on making online poker illegal, these busts might further harden the stance taken by the authorities.
The NYC bust is one among the many recent gambling investigations that have been launched throughout the nation. A few days ago, in Western Oklahoma, the U.S. Attorney’s office had 34 people indicted who were allegedly involved in an offshore sports betting operation.
This latest high profile bust suggests that some of those who were arrested could include Molly Bloom who is considered by many to be the Poker Princess and Hillel Nahmad, who was responsible for running the Helly Nahmad gallery which was located inside the Carlyle Hotel. Molly Bloom is known for running high stakes poker games for Hollywood celebrites such as Tobey Maguire, DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.