Ex-Baseball Pitcher Pleads Guilty in California Betting Case

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Ex-Oakland A’s minor league pitcher Wayne Nix is facing up to eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty on Monday to federal charges of conspiring to run an illegal sports betting operation in California. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Pair plead guilty

A former minor league baseball pitcher and his business partner have both pleaded guilty to operating an illegal sports betting ring in Southern California.

The pair of Californians, former Oakland A’s player Wayne Nix and his business partner Edon Kagasoff, entered their guilty pleas to the federal charge of conspiracy on Monday, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Nix — a fourth-round draft pick for the Oakland baseball franchise in 1995 — also admitted a failure to disclose $1.4m in income in 2017 and 2018, according to his plea agreement.

hired three former MLB players to help with the business

The illegal Southern California sports betting ring dates back two decades. Prosecutors said Nix set up his bookmaking business around the same time. Via his contacts in sporting circles, Nix attracted a client base that included current and ex-professional athletes. What’s more, Nix hired three former MLB players to help with the business.

Big bets involved

Kagasoff joined the ex-Oakland A’s pitcher’s gambling ring in around 2014. The pair set up accounts for bettors using a call center and a website. Nix’s operation paid winning wagers and kept almost all the profits it collected from bettors, prosecutors said.

Federal authorities first announced the major illegal South California sports betting case on April 1. In Nix’s plea agreement on Monday, he admitted guilt for taking payments for betting losses from a pro football player, an MLB coach, and a baseball analyst.

a gambler who bet $1m a year with his Californian operation

Nix’s plea agreement, reports Fox 11, also mentions a gambler who bet $1m a year with his Californian operation, a $5m wager made on the 2019 Super Bowl, and a sports presenter who confessed he was going to “refinance his home to pay off gambling debts.”

On April 1, feds said that Nix and other ringleaders had agreed to enter guilty pleas. At that time, Nix admitted his operation was illegal under California law. This is because the business involved a minimum of five people, was operational for at least six years, and frequently made gross revenue of more than $2,000 on a single day.

A long jail term

The scheduled sentencing for Nix is July 20. Kagasoff’s sentencing is for one week later at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse. According to ESPN, Nix faces up to eight years in prison.

The Department of Justice first announced cases in February involving two others who took part in the illegal sports betting scheme — Joseph Castelao and Kenneth Arsenian. Castelao, allegedly the owner of the gambling website, and Arsenian have already pleaded guilty.