The man in question, Haden Ware, was the co-founder of an online sports gambling site based out of Antigua and had been on the run for 13 years. The long-time fugitive from the US government has just recently been spared from serving a prison sentence as declared by a federal judge. His website, World Sports Exchange (WSEX), is considered to be one of the very first sports betting sites on the internet.
Online Gambling Pioneer Taken Down
Many believe that Ware, along with co-founders Jay Cohen and Steve Schillinger, were the pioneers in online sports gambling, as their main website was said to be responsible for taking in hundreds of millions of bets each year. Their enterprise took off in 1990’s, but by 1998, the US Justice Department charged the owners for allegedly operating the offshore sportsbook that allowed Americans to place wagers.
Cohen was the first to fall, as his indictment occurred due to the Wire Wager Act, allowing the government to convict him for violating that law, and was sentenced to 21 months. The other two owners remained in Antigua and continued to run the website. From then on, Ware was considered to be a fugitive.
Ware Voluntarily Returns to Face Consequences
By 2013, the online sportsbook took a hard hit and shut down operations due to lack of capital, which is usually what happens when you are blacklisted by the US government. Ware turned himself in voluntarily back in January, where he said he would plead guilty for his past crimes. However, to everyone’s surprise, he was sentenced to six months probation. This may seem like a small amount of time, but he has been a fugitive since 2000, and Ware did not consider those years to be his best,
“It’s not fun to have any country, whether it’s the most powerful country in the world or any country, deem you to be a criminal.”
It was the Manhattan federal Judge William Pauley that gave him the light sentence, telling Ware,
“Why you waited so long to come back to the United States, only you know. But I sympathize with the fact that this hung around your neck all these years.”
It seems that Ware is not a threat to anyone anymore, which is why he was given such a lenient sentence. With more and more online casinos and sportsbooks popping up around the United States and the world, we may see Ware again in the future, but hopefully doing things legally this time.