Illegal Online Sportsbook earns Ontario man 2 Years in Prison

Illegal Canada online sportsbook lands Ontario man behind bars for 2 years.

A 2013 police raid on an illegal online sportsbook ring is in the news once more. One of the operation’s head honchos will spend the next two years behind bars for his role in the illicit sports betting website.

50 year old David Hair of London, Ontario (approx. 200km southwest of Toronto) learned his fate after pleading guilty to criminal charges in court on Wednesday. Crown attorney Henry Poon read the facts in the case from an admission statement signed by the defendant.

Hair is described as “a leading member of the upper-echelon management group” for Platinum Sports Book (PlatinumSB.com). The website was deemed “an illegal bookmaking operation” by authorities in Ontario. According to court documents, PlatinumSB was operated through servers based in Costa Rica.

2 Years + $3M for Online Sportsbook Manager

At yesterday’s hearing, Hair plead guilty to bookmaking for an illegal betting organization, stemming from charges filed in February of 2013. Justice John McMahon sentenced him to 2 years in prison, plus a fine of $3 million.

The first $2 million must be paid immediately, before his sentence goes into effect on February 21, 2018. Hair will be given three years to pay off the remaining $1 million. Currently out on $400,000 bail, the defendant continues to reside in his upscale home on McCracken Court in London.

In February 2013, police entered that very residence with a search warrant, where authorities found $680,000 in bundled cash. Police believe that money is proceeds from the illegal online sportsbook operation.

Police Raid on Canada Online Sportsbook

Illegal Canada Online Sportsbook Busted in 2013Platinum SB was ostensibly in operation for at least 8 years prior to the 2013 raid. Authorities got wind of the activity when managers invited more than 2,000 members of the sportsbook to a Super Bowl party at a banquet hall in Markham.

Police raided the by-invitation-only ‘customer appreciation‘ event, exclusively open to members of the sports betting operation. The PlatinumSB.com was disabled by police during the raid, but minutes later the operation was up and running again under alternate domains. Authorities say that shows just how sophisticated the sportsbook ring was.

Hair was one of more than 30 people arrested at the Markham banquet hall, which was advertised as Platinum SB’s “8th Annual Super Bowl Party”. The event cost operators more than $100,000, and attracted over 2,300 members – as well as some unexpected guests via the local police department.

Online Sportsbook a Multi-Million Business

According to audit records, the Canada online sportsbook generated some $103 million from 2009 to 2013. Countless ‘agents’ took on the task of signing up new members through a toll-free telephone service, while upper-echelon managers like Hair scooped a percentage of their profits.

Poon described the operation as a “highly-sophisticated and organized pyramid-type structure”.

Oddly enough, Mr. Hair’s 2 year prison sentence, plus $3 million fine, follows a much more lenient decision by Justice McMahon in 2016. In September of that year, another manager of Platinum SB, Gordon Baird, then 59, plead guilty to contributing to the illicit activities of an illegal online sportsbook. Having no prior record, Baird was sentenced to 18 months house arrest, followed by 12 months probation and a $400,000 fine.

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