Massachusetts Gambling Den Allowed Bettors to Wager Thousands on Backyard Volleyball

  • The authorities seized $10,000 in cash and made two arrests
  • Police have been observing the illegal operation for months
  • The illegal betting ring reportedly netted almost $500,000
Volleyball game
Police in Milford, Massachusetts have dismantled an illegal gambling ring that was using volleyball tournaments as a front. [Image:]

Volleyball and betting

Police in Massachusetts have taken down an illegal gambling operation using backyard volleyball tournaments as a front. Milford Police Department officers have confirmed that they recently executed a search warrant at one particular property and seized about $10,000 in cash.

They found cards and cash on a picnic table, people betting on volleyball games, and an illegal concession stand. Authorities arrested two individuals, one of whom was the owner of the property. A court hearing is due to take place on Friday for one of the suspects, with more arrests potentially in the pipeline.

charges of facilitating illegal gambling at his residence

Luis Loja-Caguana faces charges of facilitating illegal gambling at his residence, while Zoila Castro was selling liquor without a permit. The former received fines on two occasions during COVID-19 lockdowns for hosting parties.

Causing major disruption

According to CBS News, police observed the illegal gambling operation for a number of months, first alerted to the issue after neighbors reported the large levels of traffic coming and going from the house. To make matters worse for the suspects, the Milford Police Department’s headquarters is only down the street.

Talking to local media, one neighbor described how every night about a hundred people would gather at the back of the house that features two full-size volleyball courts with stadium lighting. Visitors would take up parking spaces so locals couldn’t get out of their driveways in some cases.

One anonymous neighbor described the situation at the property as: “Just loud, beer bottles, yelling and screaming, and kids there at night. It’s like a big carnival.”

Teams taking part in the volleyball competitions often played for thousands of dollars in prize money, according to police, with some even coming from as far as South Carolina to play.  

Online sports betting is legal in Massachusetts and three casinos are also up and running in the state. However, offering betting is restricted to official sportsbooks approved by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. FanDuel, DraftKings, and WynnBET are all active in the state, among others.

A significant operation

A confidential informant ultimately told police about what was taking place in the gambling den, which led to the formation of a task force four months ago. They used drones and undercover operatives to gather evidence, revealing that the operator of the illegal gambling ring had earned nearly $500,000.

Authorities estimated that people would bet as much as $30,000 on volleyball games each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night.

as many as six other similar tournaments are taking place in the region

Milford Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Tusino commented. He said he was “amazed it was going on to that level and it was that much money changing hands.” He believes that as many as six other similar tournaments are taking place in the region, with investigations ongoing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *