The kingpin of an illegal sportsbook that catered to professional athletes cultivated a network of A-list contacts whose names have emerged in court filings and media reports, drawing scrutiny to the unusual case.
Wayne Nix, a former minor league baseball player who prosecutors say ran an illegal sports betting ring for 20 years, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to federal tax and gambling charges last year.
In December 2021, just three months before his arrest, Nix was listed in a member-member tournament at Michael Jordan’s ultra-exclusive private golf club Grove XXIII, where memberships are invite-only and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The tournament list, which leaked two years ago and was highlighted in a recent Washington Post exposé on Nix, included Jordan himself as well as sports and Hollywood A-listers such as Mark Wahlberg, Wayne Gretzky, John Elway and Ari Emanuel.
During the sprawling federal investigation into Nix’s gambling empire, no evidence has publicly emerged to suggest that Jordan, who recently sold his stake in the Charlotte Hornets NBA team, was a client of the Nix gambling ring.
However, Nix, who operated his illicit gambling ring in the shadows and sometimes described himself vaguely as a ‘concierge’ or ‘consultant’, appears to have cultivated longstanding ties to the Jordan family, after Jordan’s son Marcus in 2016 tweeted a ‘shout out’ to him.
Michael Jordan is seen with son Marcus, who in 2016 tweeted a ‘shout out’ to Wayne Nix, the kingpin of an illegal sportsbook that catered to professional athletes
Nix, an elusive figure, is seen in a 1999 baseball card during his time with an Oakland A’s farm team. Nix has not been publicly pictured in the two decades since his playing days
Marcus, who added the hashtag #teamjordan to the tweet, shared a photo of himself at Las Vegas nightclub 1 Oak, where he posed next to VIP seat embroidered with Nix’s name.
Representatives for Marcus and Michael Jordan did not respond to inquiries from DailyMail.com regarding the nature of their relationships with Nix.
Michael Jordan’s longtime agent David Falk, who also golfed in the 2021 tournament, told the Post he does not know Nix ‘at all’ and declined to comment on his client’s ties to the bookie.
For the most part, the names of the current and former professional athletes who used Nix’s network to place illegal sports bets have remained concealed in court records.
However, the Post revealed last week that Scottie Pippen, the retired NBA Hall of Famer and Jordan’s longtime Chicago Bulls teammate, admitted to placing at least one bet with Nix.
Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ business partner, also told federal investigators he bet on NBA games through an illegal bookie, according to investigative documents citied by the Post.
James, the Los Angeles Lakers star, brushed off the revelation in remarks to the LA Times, saying: ‘Maverick’s his own man and at the end of the day, gambling is legal.’
‘I mean, you can go on your phone right now and do whatever you want. And he has no affiliation with the NBA or NFL, so, he can do what he wants to do,’ added James.
NBA union rules prohibit agents from betting on basketball games, but do not restrict business managers such as Cater.
Carter and Pippen reportedly cooperated with the investigation and have not been charged in the case, which has focused primarily on prosecuting those accused of operating the gambling ring, rather than clients.
So far, prosecutors have only charged one pro athlete who is accused of placing bets through the Nix ring: former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
Last year, Puig pleaded not guilty to a charge of lying to federal agents about bets he allegedly placed through Nix’s agents.
Puig’s attorney has insisted that any misstatements he made were due to a language barrier. He is due to face trial in January.
Michael Jordan’s son Marcus in 2016 tweeted a ‘shout out’ to Nix and shared a photo of himself at Las Vegas nightclub 1 Oak, where he posed next to VIP seat embroidered with Nix’s name
Nix (pairing #14) was listed in this December 2021 member-member tournament at Michael Jordan’s ultra-exclusive private golf club Grove XXIII
The clubhouse at Grove XXIII, where memberships are invite-only and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars
Scottie Pippen (left), the retired NBA Hall of Famer and Jordan’s longtime Chicago Bulls teammate, admitted to placing at least one bet with Nix
Industry experts tell DailyMail.com that federal prosecutions of gambling offenses in the post-9/11 world are quite rare, with more resources devoted to violent crimes, fraud, terrorism and child abuse.
Nix may have drawn special scrutiny from investigators due to his high-profile associates, said one legal expert unconnected with the case.
‘From the sounds of it, some of the clients of this sportsbook were bigger names than, perhaps, the generic sportsbook customer,’ John Holden, an associate professor at Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business and an expert in gaming law, told DailyMail.com in August.
‘So there is value to the DOJ there in terms of the optics of the case,’ he added.
Since the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to legalize sports betting, more than 30 states have done so, ushering in gambling as a mainstream part of American sports culture.
Still, illegal sports gambling appears to continue to thrive for a number of reasons, including the ability to bet on credit and evade taxes on winnings, experts tell DailyMail.com.
Nix is accused of running his gambling ring from California, where sports betting remains illegal today, over the course of two decades prior to his March 2022 arrest.
Prosecutors say he catered to current and former professional athletes, some of whom assisted with running the business, and others who placed massive bets on games.
Though specifics vary from league to league, the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all prohibit active players from betting on their own sports, or betting illegally on any sport.
Nix, 45, launched his illicit bookmaking business some 20 years ago in Los Angeles after his six-year minor league career with the Oakland A’s ended in 2001, prosecutors said in charging documents.
His client list was created from contacts he had made in the sports world and included current and former pro athletes. The agents he hired, who included former MLB players, helped expand that clientele base.
The ring operated through a network of personal contacts, as well as a Costa Rica-based website called Sand Island Sports, according to prosecutors.
Nix’s agents would steer new clients to the network and accept their bets, usually taking a 20 percent cut of the money clients lost and passing the rest along to Nix, a source familiar with the matter previously told DailyMail.com.
The agents also were tasked with collecting money when clients placed bets on credit and lost, a task that could quickly turn unsavory, the source said.
A fixture in high-roller Las Vegas circles, Nix touted his connections to lure new high-profile clients. In 2019, he threw a Super Bowl party and bragged about inviting a former NBA player and the Hawaiian Tropic girls, according to an indictment.
Prosecutors say that for the same Super Bowl, he accepted a $5 million bet from one of his clients, who is not identified in the legal papers.
Nix, 45, launched his illicit bookmaking business some 20 years ago in Los Angeles after his six-year minor league career with the Oakland A’s ended in 2001
So far, prosecutors have only charged one pro athlete who is accused of placing bets through the Nix ring: former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, seen above playing in South Korea
LeBron James’s business partner Maverick Carter, seen with the NBA star above, admitted to placing a bet with Nix, but has not been charged in the case
Court filings show an unnamed professional football player paid Nix $245,000 for gambling losses in 2016. An MLB coach paid $4,000 in losses that same year. It was not disclosed if either bet on their own games, or their own sports.
In September 2019, a professional baseball player who was already in debt to Nix pleaded in text messages for the bookie to raise his credit limit so he could place additional sports wagers, prosecutors say.
In November 2019, the business manager of an NBA player was given a $25,000 per-game limit to wager on ‘NBA games’ through the Nix network, according to prosecutors.
Court filings also allege that an unnamed sports broadcaster told Nix by text message in 2019 that he was refinancing his home mortgage to pay off personal gambling debts owed to Nix.
Nix pleaded guilty in April 2022 to conspiring to run an illegal gambling operation and failing to report $1.4 million in income in 2017 and 2018.
He has agreed to pay back taxes and interest of $1.25 million and forfeit $1.3 million seized from bank accounts and faces up to eight years in prison.
In July, celebrity accountant William ‘Eric’ Fulton, the founder and managing partner of Fulton Management, pleaded guilty to one count of lying to federal agents about his role in laundering illicit proceeds from the Nix gambling ring.
Nix’s longtime partner in the gambling operation, 45-year-old Edon Yoshida Kagasoff, pleaded guilty in April 2022 to one count of conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business.
Kagasoff, whom prosecutors say acted as an enforcer and collected gambling debts for Nix, was sentenced on July 5 to six months of probation, fined $1,000, and ordered to forfeit $3,164,563 in ill-gotten gains.
However, Nix’s sentencing hearing, originally scheduled for last July, has repeatedly been delayed, and is currently scheduled for March 6, 2024.
Since he entered a plea, many documents related to his case have been filed under seal, which among other things could mean they pertain to an ongoing investigation.
General Billing Rules
The early settlement function is only applicable to some live betting markets, and members can make early settlement when the betting is live. Please forgive me if you find any inconvenience caused by "all transactions will be canceled after a live ball is scored".
The advance settlement amount already includes the principal, please note!
The "Odds" or "Markets" for all events determine the amount of early settlement. If the amount changes or the opening of the market is suspended during early settlement, it may lead to the failure of early settlement. If the event has not yet concluded, the early settlement function may appear again.
If the system successfully accepts the early settlement of the bet, the member will not be able to cancel the transaction that has been settled in advance. The amount of bets that are successfully settled in advance will be directly returned to the member's account, and the bet will no longer be affected by the final settlement and official results of the betting event.
If the bet that was successfully settled in advance is canceled for some reason (such as VAR assistance-goals are not counted), the amount of the bet that was settled in advance will be deducted from the member's account. If the event has not ended yet, the early settlement function may appear again, otherwise the betting will be based on the event or official final result. The company reserves the right of final interpretation, please pay attention!
When this website announces the early settlement amounts of all events, if any typos or unintentional human errors occur, the company reserves the right to cancel any bets with wrong early settlement amounts and publish them with information, please pay attention!
The company reserves the right to turn on or off the early settlement function of any event, and to cancel or reject the player's early settlement transaction.
In case of event cancellation or cut in half, the bets settled in advance after the interruption of the event will be cancelled, the amount settled in advance of the bet will be deducted from the member's account and the original betting amount will be returned; the bets settled in advance before the interruption of the event will still be considered It is a "valid bet slip".
Sports Event Casino Handicap Description
|It means not giving in to each other, and winning 1 point wins all.
|Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses 50%.
|Indicates that when the handicap team is tied with the transferee team, the team betting on the handicap loses.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 2 points.
|Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the two teams will tie and win by 2 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 2 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 1 point, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins by 2 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50% and wins all 3 points.
|Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the two teams will tie and win all 3 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 3 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 2 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 3 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap wins 50%, and all 4 points win.
|Indicates that when the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the two teams will tie and win all 4 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses 50% and wins all 4 points.
|When the handicap team wins the handicap team by 3 points, the team betting on the handicap loses all and wins all 4 points.
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Here are some common sports betting plays:
Winning the Game: This is one of the most common sports betting variants where players bet on which team or athlete will win the game before it starts.
Handicap Market: This bet is based on point difference, and punters must predict whether the winner's point difference is greater or less than a preset point difference.
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Specific Event Markets: This type of betting usually involves specific events in the game, such as first score, player scoring, free throw percentage, etc., and the punter must predict whether the specific event will occur or be achieved.
Online betting: This type of play refers to betting while the game is in progress, and the punter can change the bet at any time and make a decision based on the real-time situation of the game.
It should be noted that sports betting is a high-risk gambling activity that needs to be treated with caution. It is recommended to gamble on legal betting websites and bet according to your own financial ability.
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