Posted on: September 8, 2020, 03:40h.
Last updated on: September 8, 2020, 04:09h.
The 5Dimes online sportsbook has for years served the US market illegally from Costa Rica. But now it appears to be trying to make a clean break of it.
As first reported by LegalSportsReport, the company announced suddenly on Monday that it would stop taking bets from US customers from September 21. The company said it was “embarking on a new business venture,” before hinting that it was going legit.
“With the evolving legal landscape in the United States, we want to take the opportunity to offer an improved online sports betting experience to our many US customers,” read an email to the site’s database. “In order to do this, we must temporarily suspend our service of the US market so we can launch our new operations with a fresh start.”
The email urged existing 5Dimes customers to claim their balances before a September 25 deadline, after which they will be transferred to a third-party administrator who will seek to return the funds to the account holder. Funds left unclaimed on September 30, 2021 will be deemed abandoned, it added.
Gift Card Indictment
If 5Dimes is banking on transitioning to the regulated market, it’s unclear how it plans to pull it off, as US state regulators are unlikely to welcome the company with open arms.
Founder William Sean Creighton was a pioneer of online sports betting, launching the site in Costa Rica in 1998. At the time, the legality of targeting US players from offshore was a gray area, since there was no specific prohibitive legislation relating to internet gaming. But that didn’t last long, and the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 put the issue to bed.
By that time, Creighton, known professionally as “5Dimes Tony,” was a bad actor in the eyes of the US government.
In 2016, federal prosecutors indicted Creighton for money laundering, accusing him of encouraging customers to deposit and accept withdrawals in Amazon Gift Cards as a method to circumvent the ban on American banks processing unregulated gambling transactions.
In 2018, Creighton was abducted and murdered by a criminal gang in a botched ransom attempt.
The kidnappers demanded $5 million in bitcoin from Creighton’s wife, who paid $1 million before communication went dead. Creighton’s body was found 12 months later in the cemetery of a small fishing village, 100 miles from the scene of the abduction.
Speculation on the suspension claims 5Dimes has come under new ownership since Creighton’s death and the new management wants to do things by the book, hoping the change of hands will get the company off the hook for Creighton’s gift card scheme. It may also indicate that the offshore books are simply beginning to feel pressure from the new regulated markets in the US.