A man lost a bid to dismiss his gambling charges in New Jersey when a Superior Court judge ruled on Friday that the state could try the case here.
Felix Ezzio, of Philadelphia, attempted to have his third-degree charges of conspiracy to promote gambling dismissed for lack of “territorial jurisdiction.” His attorney argued that, while Ezzio did not dispute his involvement in a “bookmaking business,” he ran his operation out of his home in Philadelphia, and did not take funds from New Jersey bettors.
Ruling on Friday morning that New Jersey does have jurisdiction in the case, Superior Court Judge John Tomasello set a pre-trial hearing conference for March 11.
Ezzio is accused of allegedly operating a wire room in the city for an illegal sports betting ring.
Officials have named Franklinville resident John B. Garbarino Jr., 35, as alleged leader of the gambling operation. Michael Knobbs, 32, of Clayton, and Antonio “Tone” Capetillo, 37, of Glassboro, are also charged in the case.
State Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced the indictments in August, saying that the operation generated thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal wagers daily. Investigators seized evidence during the execution of search warrants on Dec. 18, according to a spokesperson for the Division of Criminal Justice.
The indictment stated that the men operated an illegal bookmaking, sports betting and gambling network from July through December 2003, authorities said. The wire room on South 28th Street in Philadelphia is said to have accepted illegal bets by way of a network of telephone numbers and code names, tracked bettors’ wins and losses, and provided information for collection agents, according to authorities.
Authorities claim that bets ranging from $100 to $1,000 sometimes netted the ring as much as $60,000 in a single day.
Online Oscar wagering gets its props
As the days count down toward this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, Hollywood’s brightest stars nominated for an Oscar are probably busy working out their chances of winning a much-coveted golden statuette. But thanks to a growing number of Internet-based wagering venues, the public may have already done the math for them.
Betting on the situs poke online qq Oscars has become something of a national pastime in the United States, with offices around the country setting up betting pools. Oscar betting also is becoming big business for online wagering sites around the world, where it is gaining in popularity and proving in some cases to be an uncannily accurate predictor of who will actually win on the night, analysts say.
A case in point is Intrade.com, a Dublin-based platform for trading futures based on sports, politics or other events. Last year, odds offered at the site for Oscar winners in the big categories such as best actor or best director proved to be 90 percent accurate according to Mike Knesevitch, communications director for Intrade.com, which has 45,000 members.
“If you take a snapshot a week before the event, the favorites on [Intrade.com] will be the ones that win,” he said. “It was the same thing for the political election we had last November; if you had taken a snapshot one month, or a week before the election, all of the results that we predicted were 98 percent accurate. We only missed one incorrect market and that was the Alaskan Senate race. All of the rest were dead-on.”
Betting exchanges and betting Web sites are a relatively new phenomenon, having grown alongside the development of the Internet. They are growing rapidly and acquiring a new-found respectability, analysts say, although most of the wagering is done in Europe and Asia, as betting online is still illegal inside the United States.
The theory that betting markets can offer very accurate predictions about future events is also relatively new. The thinking is that when an opinion on an event is backed by a bettor’s hard-earned money, it is likely to be carefully considered. That bettor is likely to have put a lot of thought and research into a decision to place a bet, rather than simply relying on a feeling about the outcome of a certain event, observers say.
More is more in Web site betting
Liquidity is the key. The more bets placed on a Web site, the more accurate its predictions are likely to be. Indeed, during last year’s presidential election, when Web sites like Intrade.com took in millions of dollars from gamblers placing bets on a very close presidential election and a handful of close Senate races, betting sites were more accurate in their predictions than a host of political pundits or public opinion polls.
The amount of money wagered on this year’s Oscars isn’t likely to measure up to the millions spent on the November election, but Knesevitch still expects Intrade.com’s Oscar odds to be just as accurate.
“I think people put their money where their mouth is, and the elegant thing about exchanges, whether it be financial exchanges or exchanges that price entertainment risk, is that when individuals come together to express their opinion through price discovery, it’s a much more accurate prediction of future events,” Knesevitch said.
Betting exchanges are likely to offer the most accurate predictions of who will win a golden statuette Knesevitch adds. When you are dealing with a bookmaker the odds are skewed against the bettor because the house determines the spread, he said. “At the Intrade.com exchange, you have over 45,000 individuals making a market, so I’m going to get the best price here than I will at any bookie shop,” he added.
Intrade.com works like a stock exchange, except that site members trade contracts for various future events (Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” winning the best film prize at the Academy Awards, for example). These contracts have a scale from one to 100 and traders buy and sell them based on how likely they believe an event will take place, just as equity traders buy and sell stocks based on whether they think their value will rise or fall.