5Dimes’ $46.8 Million Settlement Is a Cautionary Tale of Betting Offshore in PA

Posted on October 1, 2020 - Last Updated on October 22, 2020

The monetary hit is several times its name.

Yesterday, the US Department of Justice’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that 5Dimes, a Costa Rica-based internet sports betting company, agreed to forfeit $46.8 million as part of a criminal investigation settlement.

According to the settlement, American gamblers were allowed to place bets at 5Dimes (primarily through its website www.5Dimes.eu) in violation of US law. Since at least 2011, the betting site accepted wagers from and made payouts to US bettors. It also transferred more than $46.8 million in proceeds earned from its illegal gambling activities in a manner that attempted to obscure several aspects of the funds.

The settlement agreement was made with the consent of Laura Varela. Varela’s husband, William Sean Creighton, was the company’s founder. Creighton was a US citizen who moved to Costa Rica and created and operated 5Dimes. From 2011 to 2018, Creighton exercised full control over 5Dimes, although he attempted to hide his role by using an alias and several shell companies. Sadly, Creighton’s story took a dark turn in September of 2018, when he was kidnapped and murdered.

5Dimes players encountered a number of inconveniences this month

According to Legal Sports Report, 5Dimes users were notified earlier this month that all US accounts would be frozen as part of a relaunch effort. However, a few days later, 5Dimes accounts and futures bets were migrated to another offshore site called Betanysports.

And then a few days after that, there was a statement from Varela that the 5Dimes brand was hoping to move its operations and accounts into a more regulated market. As noted in another LSR article, PokerStars made a similar move from the black market to a regulated environment.

5Dimes case shows why it’s best to wager at legal PA sportsbooks

Perhaps the most obvious takeaway from the 5Dimes saga is that all of the aggravation and anxiety from a customer standpoint can be avoided simply by wagering at one of many regulated and legal PA sportsbooks.

With the launch of Penn National’s Barstool Sportsbook earlier this month, Pennsylvania now has 10 online sportsbooks. All of them are fully licensed and regulated. That should eliminate any concerns about the security of your account or the ability to withdraw funds.

As for the 5Dimes brand, the next steps are still uncertain. But the sportsbook seems determined to leave behind its shadowy past and embrace a more compliant future. Perhaps it will follow the same path as PokerStars that leads to full regulation.

Plenty of safe and secure betting sites, depending on your state

And for those 5Dimes users who are suddenly looking for a new site, Pennsylvania should provide quite the welcome.

The state does have those 10 online sportsbooks, and the fact that they’re licensed and regulated means they should be free of drama, conflict and worry.

There’s just no place like home.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans

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Nathan Frederick

Nathan Frederick is an award-winning writer with more than 1,000 published bylines and two decades of journalism experience. His work has won awards from the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists, the Keystone Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has also authored three books, one of which debuted as an Amazon No. 1 New Release.

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