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5/25/2007
02:19 PM
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Online Gambling Firm Pleads Guilty To Racketeering Charges

BetonSports pleaded guilty to violating federal racketeering charges and said it would cooperate in the case against the firm's former executives.

The U.S. Attorney in St. Louis announced that Internet gambling site BetonSports has pleaded guilty to violating federal racketeering charges and would cooperate in a case against the firm's former executives.

"This plea should put an end to the BetonSports illegal gambling empire," said U.S. Attorney Catherine L. Hanaway in a statement. "BetonSports, PLC is presently the corporate parent, based in the United Kingdom, of the companies comprising the vast illegal Internet gambling operations described in the indictment."

The indictment is focused on Gary Stephen Kaplan, the founder of various online gambling businesses. He was arrested recently in the Dominican Republic and along with other former executives will face charges in St. Louis. He has denied he has broken any laws.

While the U.S. continues its drive to outlaw or diminish gambling over the Internet by U.S. citizens, an effort to legalize online gambling is underway in Congress.

In announcing BetonSports' guilty plea Thursday, the U.S. Attorney noted that the gambling operation had admitted conducting "an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering acts, including repeated mail and wire fraud," and had operated an illegal gambling business and laundered money and admitted to violating multiple state gambling felony charges.

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