Hell’s Angels-Operated and Mafia-Linked Online Sports Book Techie Fined $400,000

Posted on: September 13, 2016, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: October 12, 2016, 03:25h.

Platinum Sports Book
The London, Ontario Hell’s Angels, were in court this week for links to Platinum Sports Book. (Image: Toronto Star)

The tech guy for an online sports book operated by the Hell’s Angels and with links to the Canadian Mafia has been fined CA$400,000 by a Toronto court.

Gordon Baird, 59, pled guilty to being the web administrator of Platinum Sports Book, a credit betting operation with servers based in Costa Rica. Police say Platinum used members of the London, Ontario Hell’s Angels Chapter and the Mafia as bookmaking agents and enforcers.   

The sports book was shut down in 2013 following a police raid on a Super Bowl party spread for the site’s VIPs in Toronto. With 2,700 guests and an open bar, the court heard that it cost $100,000 to put on.

Police arrested 31 people at the party and later confiscated $4.6 million in illegal betting proceeds, as well as seizing the PlatinumSB.com domain.

But within hours the gambling ring loaded an identical website using a .tk domain, which signifies registration in Tokelau, a tiny island in the South Pacific.

One Hundred Million in Revenues

Baird, who was not one of the site’s owners, was spared a lengthy prison sentence because he pled guilty and has no previous convictions. He has one year to pay the fine and will receive three years in prison if he fails to do so.

“He was not a controlling mind of the criminal organization but through his actions he contributed to the criminal organization,” said Justice John McMahon, sentencing.

“This was an extremely well-organized, professional criminal organization making millions of dollars,” he added. “It could not have functioned without his technical expertise.”

Police wiretaps revealed that Platinum employed several hundred bookies who catered to thousands of customers within the Toronto area. Company records seized by police show that between 2009 and 2013 the outfit generated over $103 million in revenues.

Sophisticated Pyramid

“The operation is best viewed as a highly sophisticated and organized pyramid-type structure,” court documents read. “The pyramid structure involved a number of ‘cells’ consisting of bookies and their sub-agents signing up bettors/clients. These cells in turn are all connected to the top of the pyramid structure by those managing the organization.”

Meanwhile, in the same courthouse, Rob Bartella, a former president of the London Hell’s Angels, and co-accomplice Andrew Bielli, pleaded not guilty to charges that included bookmaking for the benefit of a criminal organization and possession of the proceeds of crime.

Bartella walked over to watch Baird’s plea after his own case had adjourned.