Opinion

5Dimes settlement to leave Wedge Index unmoved?

The potential entry of previously offshore operator 5Dimes into the regulated sports-betting arena in the US grabbed the headlines, but it would barely register on the Wedge Index.

The transformation of the Costa Rica-based 5Dimes into a legitimate business is almost complete after it reached a settlement with the US authorities over its previous illegal gaming activities.

5Dimes suggested the move, which involves the forfeiture of $46m in assets, would pave the way for the group to enter regulated markets. A statement from the company said it was “free and clear” to enter regulated markets.

Not so clear

5Dimes might now have a shot at going legit but according to the criteria of the Wedge Index its weighting as a brand would need more work.

Should the company manage to gain a license in any state, it would be awarded a third-tier rating by the Wedge Index.

That is one off the bottom and would place it in the same category as Unibet, bet365 and newer offerings such as VigTory.

The downgrading would be due to two main issues:;

  • social media criticism regarding payouts to players,
  • the banning of credit betting in regulated market – one of the main draws of offshore betting.

It means that the effect of 5Dimes’ entry in any given state would therefore me minimal.

Regulatory attitudes

The same issues would undoubtedly be assessed by any potential state regulator; as and when 5Dimes puts itself up for regulatory scrutiny.

The 5Dimes statement made it clear it would be seeking to offer regulated sports-betting and casino. As such it would be eyeing up regulatory approval for both New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Yet the attitude of both regulators to a 5Dimes application turning up in their in-trays is unknown.

New Jersey regulators have already commented on the record that former offshore operators would face a “heavy burden” when hoping to enter a legal market.

Checkered past

5Dimes has a colorful history. The settlement with the Department of Justice was reached with the widow of the founder William Sam Creighton, known as 5Dimes Tony.

Creighton was kidnapped and killed in September 2018. His widow Laura Varela subsequently reached out to the US authorities to seek a settlement.

5Dimes stopped taking bets form US citizens last month, clearly in preparation for the settlement. Existing US customers have 12 months to clear their accounts or face forfeiture by the Federal authorities.

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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