5Dimes Settles With DOJ – To Seek US Licensing
Last month, 5Dimes stopped taking online sports bets from online casino players in the United States. This was a bit odd to some considering that the company had been operating in the United States for many years. Some had even speculated that the company was looking to “turn legit” and begin legitimate online casino operations in the United States.
That speculation became reality last week when the US District Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced a settlement with 5D Holdings Ltd., the operating company of 5Dimes. The settlement was worth $46.8 million. As a result, the company is now seeking licensing opportunities in the United States.
5Dimes Settles for $46.8 Million
The US District Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued a press release last week announcing a settlement with 5Dimes and company owner Laura Varela. According to the settlement, 5Dimes and Varela admitted to wrongdoing primarily committed by Sean “Tony” Creighton, the original owner of the company.
Creighton was kidnapped in September 2018 and his remains discovered a few months later in the small town of Quepos in Costa Rica. Varela is Creighton’s widow and new owner of the company. She reached out to authorities to set things right and confirmed that her husband committed various crimes including wire fraud, money laundering, and illegal transmission of gambling information.
In total, the settlement came to $46.8 million. The funds were a mix of cash, rare coins, and various assets. It also included a $15 million payment from 5Dimes.
What’s Next for 5Dimes?
With the settlement now complete, the company can now attempt to pursue licensing in the United States. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, 5Dimes will be pursuing a license in New Jersey in the near future.
Frankly, we view this as a smart move as New Jersey is the standard-bearer for online gambling in the United States. New Jersey online gambling laws and regulations are strict and if 5Dimes can get licensed in New Jersey, they can do so anywhere.
There are multiple opportunities for growth for 5Dimes in the near future, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia. As other states legalize online gambling and sports betting, 5Dimes will now have a chance to apply for licenses.
Of course, their past could come back and haunt them as they may be perceived as bad actors. One way around this would be for Laura Varela to sell the company. This is what happened with PokerStars following their settlement with the DOJ over Black Friday charges. PokerStars was sold and the new company was able to apply for licensing as a new entity. This could be the best course forward for the company.
Not Every Bad Actor Can Take 5Dimes Path
The 5Dimes situation may prove to be unique due to the circumstances of ownership. We don’t often hear of an online gambling site changing ownership due to murder. The change of ownership and the evolving legal realities of online gambling in the United States led to last week’s settlement.
However, other bad actors cannot expect to make a settlement with the Department of Justice and move forward to legit status. In many cases, companies will have to completely purge themselves of the previous regime similar to what happened at PokerStars. Otherwise, most licensing bodies will question whether the company has truly rehabilitated.
The next six months will be very telling regarding the future of 5Dimes. If they are able to get a license in New Jersey, then the investment in the settlement will likely pay off. However, if they fail, don’t be surprised to see the company change ownership yet again, this time to an organization with a stellar background and the ability to operate in the United States.