US DOJ Asserts Illegal Offshore Gambling a Priority After Arrest of Antigua Betting Ring Head

  • DOJ reassured regulators illegal offshore gambling was a priority
  • Feds’ assertions backed by arrest of offshore gambling kingpin Richard Sullivan
  • Sullivan allegedly laundered over $10m in wire transfers, cheques.
  • Racketeering conviction comes with a maximum 20 years prison term
US DOJ building
The DOJ has responded to US regulators’ urge to up the ante against illegal offshore platforms with a letter following a major arrest. [Image:]

DOJ finally replies

The US Department of Justice has responded assertively to an April letter from seven state gambling regulators urging it to prioritize its efforts against illegal online gambling. The DOJ’s response is timely, coming just days after the high-profile arrest of Richard Sullivan, head of a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring licensed in Antigua, but operating illegally online in the US.

urging the feds to up the ante against illicit offshore gaming platforms

In April, gaming regulators from multiple states plus the American Gaming Association wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland urging the feds to up the ante against illicit offshore gaming platforms. This week, the DOJ’s response via a letter from its Legislative Affairs Liasion-Detail Megan Bennett, finally arrived.

Bennett stressed that illegal gambling was a DOJ priority and that the federal law enforcement agency takes the issue of illegal online gambling seriously.

The DOJ liaison stated the department appreciates the affect illegal gambling has on individuals and communities and that it “will continue to use all available tools to detect, investigate, and prosecute such illegal activity.”

Walking the talk

The AGA and the state regulators will be hard-pressed to deny the DOJ’s words of commitment to tackling illegal offshore platforms. Especially after catching Sullivan, whose Antigua-registered firm Sports Offshore allegedly made over $22m via online gambling while laundering over $10m in wire transfers and checks.

successfully investigate and prosecute illegal internet gambling”

Without mentioning taking a major scalp in Sullivan, Bennett’s letter nevertheless asserted the DOJ’s continued ability “to successfully investigate and prosecute illegal internet gambling.” Officials arrested Sullivan, 73, on August 20, 2023, at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as he was returning to the US from Antigua.

Maximum 20 years

According to a DOJ press release, Sullivan allegedly managed Sports Offshore from an office in St. John’s, Antigua. The feds allege Sullivan managed around 30-50 employees trained to take telephone and internet wagers from US-based bettors. Federal prosecutors also allege Sullivan sent Massachusetts residents to collect money from his customers and send the cash to him in Antigua via the mail.

Sullivan’s arrest comes after he had been evading the DOJ for 13 years. A federal grand jury in Boston in August 2010 hit him with charges including racketeering, and operating an illegal gambling business.

Sullivan is next set to appear before a federal court in Boston. His main charge of racketeering comes with a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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