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Sports betting has had a long history in California but never has been legal. However, in other news, a former minor league pitcher ran a multi-million sports betting ring. The betting ring was based in both California and Costa Rica.

How Did the Operation Start

Former Oakland Athletics minor league pitcher ran the illegal operation for over 20 years. The operation accepted millions in wagers over that span. According to the federal documents, this all came about with the help of a call center that is located in Costa Rica called Sand Island Sports.

Having played in the Oakland A’s farm system, Nix was able to get connections in the league, which let him recruit three former Major League Baseball players and a former pro football player to become bookies of the operation.

The MLB will proceed with further investigation in regards to this case as of Thursday. As of right now, these five men have pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges, which include Wayne Nix, Edon Kagasoff, Howard Miller, Kenneth Arsenian, and Joseph Castelao.

Sherman Oaks, which is a check-cashing business, has also admitted to money laundering in relation to the operation. The business cashed over $18 million in bets from two clients who placed straight bet slips.

The MLB is Unaware of Other Parties Involved

The MLB is unaware of others that could be involved in the operation. However, the documents show that an unidentified sports broadcaster refinanced his home to pay the debts that he owed Nix.

Nix admitted;

“The business was illegal because it involved at least five people, operated for at least six years and had a gross revenue well over $2,000 per day.”

No names were identified, but there are transactions on the documents that show the amount of money that was wagered. At the beginning of 2016, Nix received a total of $245,000 in gambling debts from a pro football player.

Nix received $8,000 from a baseball analyst and $4,000 from an MLB coach. It is unknown if both bet on their teams or sport. He also recruits a professional football player to work for him in exchange for a commission for two new bettors. The football player basically acted as the middleman in this scenario.

In 2019, Nix accepted a $5 million wager on the Super Bowl. In the same year. Kagasoff negotiated $25,000 limits for the business manager of a professional basketball player to place bets on NBA games.

Different Professional Leagues’ Stance on Sports Betting

Professional sports leagues believe that sports betting ruins the integrity of the game. MLB prohibits its players from placing illegal bets or wagers on their own sport as it could impact the result and individuals’ performance. They can place wagers on different sports if it is legal.

The NFL prohibits its athletes from betting on games that relate to football. Atlanta Falcons WR, Calvin Ridley, was suspended indefinitely through at least the 2022 season for betting on NFL games.

Sports betting is legal in many jurisdictions across the United States but will take some time in California. Voters across the Golden State will have a chance to legalize it as at least one proposed initiative will be on the upcoming 2022 ballot in November.