Illegal Sports Book Arrests Made In Ontario
Illegal gambling and sportsbook operations remain a major challenge for Canadian lawmakers. This once again made news headlines when Ontario Provincial Police charged several people following an illegal gambling ring raid conducted provincewide. The Canadian Revenue Agency within a matter of weeks executed at least 12 warrants leading to assets to the value of CA$24 million being effectively seized by government.
The operations raided are all assumed to be somehow connected to notorious motorcycle corporation, the Hells Angels. He recently seized assets include three residences, a vacant property, eight passenger vehicles, and a motorcycle. Police also managed to seize CA$82,590 and US$25,398 in cash, along with Psilocybin and Marihuana with a street value of CA$66,986.
About Project HOBART
The recent raids and arrests are part of an ongoing illegal gambling and sports betting investigation. Ontario Provincial Police in December last year announced having teamed up with Project HOBART – with more than 18 agencies tasked with working together in an attempt to bring down illegal sports betting operations thought to have accumulated some CA$131 million (generated between January and July of 2019) in illegal earnings.
Headquartered at the time in Mississauga, the 5 illegal operations went by the names of Ultimate SB, PlayToWin SB, Players SB, Privada SB, and Titan SB. At the time of the December 2019 arrests, police managed to charge a total of 28 individuals with 228 offenses. The assets seized at the time included residential properties, several vehicles, expensive jewelry, and cash. The value of the assets seized back then amounted to at least CA$12 million.
Emphasis On Regulation
The 8 individuals most recently arrested resulting from the end-of-July raids are now set to appear before the Brampton-based Ontario Court of Justice on September 17. The raids, reported to have taken place across London, Toronto, Pickering, Oakville, Thornbury, and Welland, also led to the arrest (among others) of notorious Hells Angels member Robert Barletta. The outlaw was arrested on charges of tax evasion and money laundering.
The recent raids and arrests highlight yet again the urgent need for a fully regulated Canadian sports betting market. And regulation, so says Canadian Gaming Association CEO and founder Paul Burns, is now officially a matter of “when” and not “if”.
Canadians, said Burns during a recent session before parliament, are voicing their desire for regulation by accessing offshore and other illegal sports betting avenues. And it’s a desire, says Burns, Canadians will continue to fulfil illegally until such time as legal local offerings become available.