Astoria Law Enforcement Crack Down on Sports Betting Scheme


Illegal Sports Betting Ring Arrested

Law enforcement charged seven people this week for illegal sports betting practices. These charges included promoting gambling, money laundering, conspiracy and enterprise corruption. They operated from their headquarters on 30th Avenue. Another base which they used is an internet wire room which in Costa Rica. Sports gambling is a legal practice within Costa Rica. Gamblers could place bets at the Astoria premises or an agent. They could also place bets via an 800-phone number or a website. The practice has been running since January 2016.

Intercepted Messages and Calls

John Ryan, Queens Acting District Attorney, mentioned that their office is working in conjunction with law enforcement. They have managed to put an end to many illegal operations in the gambling industry. Over the past couple of years, they had already shown some success. They are aiming to save people from financial ruins. They can do this by stopping this illegal industry. They want to close the illicit betting industry down.

The Kingpin

The 61-year-old Michael Regan was identified as the kingpin of the operation. He is from Long Island. Others identified include the 70-year-old Robert Brieger from Rego Park, who is considered to be the master agent of the ring. The primary agent is defined as Luan Bexheti, a 47-year-old from Astoria. The four others who appeared in the Queens Supreme Court before Justice Leslie Leach played minor roles. They probably fulfilled the positions of runners, clerks, agents or room managers. Authorities confirmed that they had seen the accused numerous times while exchanging bags and envelopes. They also had recorded a conversation where six of them were involved in discussions regarding cash transfers, gambler’s accounts and interest rates.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is a massive industry in the USA. Many have seen the goldmine opportunities offered by betting on various sports. After the 1992 federal law came into place which made sports betting and sports gambling illegal the industry grew substantially. The black market became a favourite place to bet on sports. Not only in the US but globally betting on the black market has been a widespread and very lucrative industry. $1.8 trillion illegal wagers are made worldwide. Research from 2014 also indicated that 80% of sports bets were being placed on the black market. New legislation on sports betting is now coming into place. It is being accepted in various states all over the country. This will change the face of the sports betting industry as we know it.