U.S. gambling and the law: Important milestones 2009 –


David Caruthers and BetOnSports

In April, David Caruthers – the CEO of BetOnSports – pleads guilty to federal racketeering charges. BetOnSports is based in the United Kingdom, but accepts wagers on sport from U.S. gamblers.

In January 2010, Caruthers is sentenced to 33 months in prison. He doesn’t serve the full time, he is released in 2011.

The federal authorities freezes poker player’s money

In June, the U.S. federal authorities freezes approximately $30 million in payouts intended for poker players. The poker players had requested withdraws from their accounts, so the poker rooms had sent the requested sums to their payment processors, but before the payment processors could send the money on to the poker players, the U.S. federal authorities seized the money.

Between June and September, the U.S. federal authorities seize ten U.S. bank accounts allegedly related to online gaming.

Douglas Rennick

In August, Canadian citizen Douglas Rennick is indicted in the U.S. for processing payments for online casinos through U.S. banks. In May 2010, Rennick pleads guilty to moving gambling money and agrees to forfeit $17 million. He risks 6-12 months in prison, but when he is sentenced in September he only gets six months of probation.


In November, the payment processor FirePay (Optimal Group) settles with the U.S. Department of Justice and agree to pay $19 million to U.S. authorities to avoid prosecution for processing payments for online gambling sites between 2004 and 2006, i.e. before UIGEA existed.



In April, Australian citizen Daniel Tzvetkoff, founder of the payment processor Intabill, is indicted by U.S. federal authorities in New York. He is charged with money laundering, bank fraud and conspiracy.

In June, Intabill’s Andrew Thornhill pleads guilty to conspiracy to conduct an illegal gambling business and bank fraud. In October, he is sentenced to three months in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Allied Wallet

In August 2010, Ahmad Khawaja of Allied Systems and Allied Wallet forfeits $13 million that has been seized by U.S. federal authorities. Allied Systems / Allied Wallet are payment processors for PokerStars.


In November, U.S. federal authorities seize money in accounts held by the payment processor eWalletXpress. EwalletXpress leaves the U.S. market.


PokerStars, et al

In January, U.S. federal authorities seize almost $8 million from payment processors serving PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. In May, payment processor Bradley Franzen pleads guilty.

In April, U.S. federal authorities seize domains belonging to PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. 11 individuals are charged with illegal gambling, money laundering and bank fraud.

In May, U.S. federal authorities size domains belonging DoylesRoom (a poker room) and to several companies that accept sports bets from U.S. gamblers. The federal authorities also issues indictments against the companies that owns these domains.

In July 2012, Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar is arrested. Also, Absolute Poker’s owner Brent Beckley is sentenced to 14 months in prison after pleading guilty to misleading banks about Absolute Poker’s transactions.

District of Columbia

On April 11, District of Columbia become the first U.S. jurisdiction to expressly legalize online gambling in the U.S. Before the measure becomes active, it is repealed (February 2012).

Roland Benavides

In May, Roland Benavides – an Oklahoma police officer – is charged with gambling online. This is not a federal case or a case pertaining specifically to online gambling. Officer Benavides is charged with violating Oklahoma state’s general anti-gambling law. In 2012, Benavides recieves a deferred sentence.

1961 Wire Act

In December, the Department of Justice finally agrees that the 1961 Wire Act applies only to sports betting, not to poker or casino.



bodogIn February, four Canadian’s are indicted by U.S. federal authorities and charged with money laundering and operating online sports betting businesses. One of them is Calvin Ayre, founder of Bodog. The federal authorities seize the domain Bodog.com, but by this point, Bodog had already established itself on alternative domains.


On June 28, the state of Delaware legalizes online casino gambling. It will take until November 26, 2013, before online casino gambling is launched in Delaware.



On February 21, the state of Nevada legalizes online poker and interstate online poker. On April 30, online poker is launched in Nevada.

New Jersey

On February 26, the state of New Jersey legalizes online poker and online casino. Online poker and online casino are launched in New Jersey on November 25.