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Illegal Online Gambling Outfit Threatened High-School Kids, Cops Say



Posted on: May 7, 2024, 05:52h. 

Last updated on: May 7, 2024, 05:52h.

Ontario’s provincial police are investigating allegations of an online illegal gambling outfit targeting high-school students who were then threatened with violence if they didn’t pay up, Bradford Today reports.

Underage gambling, TopBets, Orillia, Ontario, high school
The Ontario Provincial Police, above, said they have arrested an underage “agent” of TopBets for making threats to kill a high-school gambler who owed the operation money. (Image: National Observer)

Police in the town of Orillia in Central Ontario said they have received reports that the site, TopBets, and its agents have encouraged underage students to sign up to play casino games and bet on sports.

Investigators said they began receiving reports from students in April who said they had been threatened because of unpaid gambling debts.

Orillia Community Mobilization unit sergeant, Matt Stoner, said that one individual under the age of 18 had been arrested and charged with two counts of uttering threats to cause death.

Stoner told Bradford Today police believe the situation is localized and involves students in at least one high school in the city. They also believe there are other victims out there who have yet to come forward.

“We are looking to speak with any individual who can assist with the investigation, and then if there are any other victims because we only know of a few that are localized,” Stoner said.

Price-Per-Head Operation?

It’s likely the gambling operation uses a price-per-head (also known as pay-per-head) service. This is where an unlicensed bookie can offer online gambling services to a specific, localized clientele by using the services of an offshore pay-per-head software provider.

The provider charges the bookie a small fee for every active bettor tied to his account, regardless of betting volume or weekly wins and losses.

The software provides the bookie with automated business tools to run his operation. No financial transactions are made online, but details of bets are stored and tracked by the software. Collections and payouts are made in person, by the bookie or his “agents,” which in this case appears to have been an underage kid.

Move to Online Casino

Beginning life as a facilitator of illegal sports betting, price-per-head providers have begun to branch out into online casino platforms and race books.

In several recent cases, Mafia gambling and extortion rackets disrupted by authorities were found to have used the pay-per-head model.

Ontario is the only province in Canada with an open, regulated online gaming market. Elsewhere, online casinos and sports betting services are operated through provincially run monopolies.

A study by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario published in April found that 86.4% of those who gambled online used regulated sites as opposed to black market operators.

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