In 2011, shortly after online gambling site World Sports Exchange (WSE) went insolvent and began struggling to pay out players’ winnings, co-founder Jay Cohen reportedly became a recluse, gained over 100 pounds, and was seen as potentially suicidal.
But it’s Steve Schillinger, one of Cohen’s co-founders of WSE, who is now being mourned, after being found dead in his Antigua home of a single gunshot wound to the head in what reports are suggesting was a suicide.
Legal Issues and Prison Time
The co-founders of World Sports Exchange, which was founded in 1996 (making it one of the world’s first online sportsbooks), were previously indicted on illegal gambling charges by U.S. federal authorities. While Cohen chose to return to America to plead his case in court and accept his fate, (which led to an almost 18-month prison sentence), Schillinger and Hayden Ware, another partner, both decided to evade the authorities by remaining in Antigua, from where the business had been operated.
Following this indictment, the increase in competition meant that WSE never managed to regain its former glory, and was even stripped of its Antigua gaming license in 2010, due to the increasingly unsteady finances of the operation.
Millions Owed to Bettors
In the more recent past, World Sports Exchange announced that it was “forced to halt business activities” for financial reasons, and reportedly owed millions of dollars to sports bettors.
This was perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back for Schillinger, as the Antigua Observer newspaper reported that the 60-year-old’s body was discovered in his St. John’s apartment next to a .38 revolver which had triggered the bullet which killed him. The body was discovered around five o’clock in the evening, after neighbors had visited in order to invite him to a function that evening.
While yet to rule out the possibility of foul play, the local authorities are continuing to investigate the scene, but acting on the assumption that Schillinger chose to opt out of the rat race, and take his own life.