Offshore sports betting operator 5Dimes has officially applied for a New Jersey gambling license for legal operations in the United States.
The expected development comes a month after the widow of the Costa Rica-based offshore company’s founder, William Sean Creighton, agreed to pay $46 million to the US authorities to settle its illegal activities in the country.
Following the settlement with federal prosecutors, most analysts had predicted Laura Varela was looking to exploit the booming US betting market in an entirely different way to how her late husband had been doing business until his kidnap and death in 2018. She wanted to “dry-clean” 5Dimes that had until now been attracting the US bettors in a way not acceptable to the authorities.
Plans to “Dry Clean” 5Dimes
Varela became the owner of 5Dimes after her husband, William Sean Creighton (also known as 5Dimes Tony), was murdered in 2018 after a botched kidnapping. Last month, she agreed to pay $46 to the US authorities to settle a tax investigation and money laundering into her deceased husband.
The Costa Rican is planning to make a legal entry to a highly potent betting market, and for this, she is collaborating with lawyers to transform her offshore company into a licensed sports betting company in the US. The initial focus is the New Jersey market.
There is no official confirmation whether New Jersey authorities will approve this application. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) declined to comment on the 5Dimes’ application when it was contacted by the media.
Also, it is important to note that the authorities agreed that the current owner of 5Dimes had not been a part of the illegal business of her late husband. So, it indicates an optimistic chance for Varela’s bid to a legal US market. However, her lawyers expect that it will take months to obtain an initial decision. In order to launch, 5Dimes would require to procure a racetrack or casino partner in the state.
5Dimes’ US customer accounts have been frozen since September 21 as part of the deal under which Varela agreed to stop accepting bets from its US customers.
Will 5Dimes Get What it Wants?
Varela is trying to enter from the “front door” into an emerging US market that was legalized following Supreme Court’s verdict on PASPA in 2018. However, it is yet to see if Varela’s $46 million handshake with the US authorities legalizes her husband’s sportsbook.
New Jersey has become one of the US online sports betting leaders, drawing more wagers and setting record betting handle lately. However, before 2018, most US residents used offshore sports betting sites like 5Dimes to place their wagers. Those operations, which the US authorities considered illegal, handled billions of dollars in the betting handle.
Michael Pollock, a former official of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, considers that the chances of 5Dimes getting a license in the state are a “huge if”. According to him, New Jersey regulars place a premium on suitability, and that licenses reflect honesty and good character. He believes that the competitors will likely take offence at any attempt that might appear to be a shortcut.
Experts believe that if regulated, 5Dimes would immediately capitalize on the US market. As an unregulated sportsbook, it has been handling billions of wagers annually. Currently, it employs 270 people and boasts a customer database of more than a million gamblers. Interestingly, the customer database could be an objectionable point as regulated operators will argue it was obtained while 5Dimes was operating as an illegal sportsbook in the US.