A Kentucky man will spend more than a year in federal prison for a years-long illegal sports betting operation and trying to hide the income from it. He must also forfeit more than $700,000.
Douglas Booth of Bowling Green, Ky., located about 60 miles north of Nashville, was sentenced Wednesday in federal court to 15 months in prison. Booth was indicted in 2018 and took a plea deal in early 2019.
Not much has been made public about Booth’s operation other than he used a betting service in Costa Rica. He generated nearly $2.4 million in proceeds from the operation. It’s unclear what the size of the operation was in terms of betting handle.
If Booth had a hold percentage of 7%, which is what the legal industry typically sees, then he handled more than $30 million worth of bets. That’s just an educated guess.
According to the Bowling Green Daily News, Booth said in court that he had about 100 customers in his local area. None of the bettors were charged.
Attorney also in trouble
In February, Bowling Green real estate attorney Harris Pepper Jr. pleaded guilty to helping Booth launder the sports betting proceeds. Pepper was fined $100,000 and received probation earlier this month.
According to a plea agreement, from 2008 through 2016 Pepper conspired with Booth to conceal proceeds of Booth’s illegal sports gambling operation in Bowling Green. Pepper and Booth collaborated to launder proceeds of the illegal gambling operation into real estate investments.
Some of the investments included apartment complexes.
Sports gambling in the Bluegrass State remains illegal, as the state legislature has failed to authorize it for the racetracks in the state. If and when Kentucky has sports betting, it will be highly regulated and not a form of decriminalization. Operations like Booth’s will remain illegal.
Neighboring Tennessee legalized sports wagering in mid-2019, but the Volunteer State has yet to see the launch of online/mobile sportsbooks.