Two Minnesota Brothers in Trouble with Authorities After Running a Gambling Business on TikTok
The Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division is investigating two brothers accused of running an online bookie business through Tiktok. According to the court filing, the brothers from Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis, have been placing bets on behalf of their TikTok followers in two casinos outside of Red Wing. An agency spokesperson has acknowledged that this is the first time such a case has been reported to them. It is understood that the brothers have not been charged with a crime yet.
Investigations into the remote bookies from Edina began when an anonymous person tipped the Prairie Island Gaming Commission on January 6, 2023. The Edina man had been accused of suspicious online casino slot gaming activities.
According to the tipster from Vegas, the 39-year-old Edina man collects an initial subscription fee of $5.99 via various cash apps from his TikTok followers. He then charges 25% of every $100 deposited with him to wager at the casinos. Slots are played on behalf of the followers at the Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake and the Treasure Island Resort & Casino and the event is live-streamed on various TikTok accounts. Sometimes his younger brother assists him in the operations.
The Edina man has 165,000 TikTok followers from around the world, and videos showing money and slot machines are visible on his main page. In one of these videos, the man won a jackpot worth $15,000. It is unclear if winnings are distributed among the followers who deposit with him.
The Edina man has since been banned from the casino and given a permanent trespassing notice.
The accused has tried to downplay his activities by referring to follower bets as ‘donations’ in videos. However, live stream viewers understand that the money being wagered during the live stream belongs to someone else and is not the TikTokers’ own money, contrary to his claims.
The online gambling industry in the USA is set to become a $100 billion industry by 2026. To ensure gambler safety, certain laws have been set in place for online casinos. Alex Costello, the vice president for government relations at The American Gaming Association, said that “Actions like this violate casinos’ anti-money-laundering protocols and are a threat to our financial system.” Although it is legal to live stream from within casino premises, placing bets on behalf of others is illegal. Guests can only wager their own money and are not allowed to profit from someone else’s wagers.
“It’s not just about making sure people follow the law; it’s about consumer protection,” says Nichole Roddy, spokeswoman of the Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division. “If you place a wager, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get paid if you win. There’s no way to know if the betting will be run fairly,” she added.
In light of his illegal gambling activities online, authorities have requested the Hennepin County District Court to grant them access to the Edina man’s monetary transaction information since October. The requested information also includes other financial records such as cash app login history and customer service notes.