Cantor Gaming Insists No Connection to Online Gambling Crimes

System designed to prevent misconduct from rogue employees, execs say

by , Oct 31, 2012 | 4:59 am

Cantor Gaming officials on Monday said the company has been working closely with Nevada gaming regulators after the arrest of Mike Colbert, now a former vice president and director of risk management with the Las Vegas-based company.

Colbert was one of eight people arrested Wednesday in Southern Nevada in connection with a nationwide illegal bookmaking operation that generated $50 million in seven months.

Robert Hubbell, a spokesman with Cantor Gaming in New York, said Colbert was no longer an employee with Cantor Gaming. He said to date the company has “found nothing to indicate that (Colbert) was using our system or accounts for wrongdoing.”

“Although the charges were not related to his responsibilities at Cantor Gaming, it is important to note that our account wagering system is designed to prevent misconduct,” Hubbell said in a statement.

“The former employee’s responsibilities with Cantor Gaming had nothing to do with accepting or distributing patron money.”

Colbert on Monday did not speak during his brief initial procedural hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court.

He is charged with enterprise corruption, conspiracy to operate an illegal gaming enterprise and three counts of money laundering. A 259-page indictment out of Queens County, N.Y., alleges Colbert arranged for the transfer of $100,000 in gambling proceeds between Las Vegas and New York in July 2011.

More than $2.8 million in cash and casino chips were seized in Las Vegas, and 25 people were arrested nationwide and charged with 225 felony counts as part of a New York Police Department Organize Crime Bureau investigation dubbed “World Wide Wagers.”

Those arrested were charged with enterprise corruption, money laundering, promoting gambling and conspiracy. Authorities also served dozens of search warrants in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California. All told $7.6 million in case was seized.

Jerry Markling, chief of enforcement for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said Monday the investigation continues.

Colbert’s next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 8. He remains free on $50,000 bail.

Michael Cristalli, a Las Vegas-based attorney representing Colbert, declined to comment on the charges, saying he hasn’t “even seen the indictment” from New York.

Colbert appeared at the hearing with Joseph David Paulk and Steve Santo Diano, who also face charges in connection with the sports betting operation. Five other people in Las Vegas and Henderson were arrested for aiding an illegal sports betting scheme.

“Needless to say, we are shocked and extremely disappointed that one of our employees was arrested and charged with criminal activities, but in no way does this hinder our business,” said Lee Amaitis, president and CEO of Cantor Gaming, an affiliate of the brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

Cantor Gaming operates seven sports books in Southern Nevada at the M Resort, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Venetian, Palazzo, Tropicana Las Vegas, Hard Rock Hotel and Palms. The privately held gaming company was licensed in Nevada in 2006.

“We prize our privileged license and the way Cantor Gaming does business,” Amaitis said.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said its agents worked with authorities on the case for 15 months. In their investigations, New York police discovered a large-scale bookmaking operation with ties to traditional organized crime operating in several states and in offshore locations.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.
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