If you're a coder who has ever thought it'd be cool to make online casino software, you might re-think those plans.
The state of New York is charging Robert Stuart and his company Extension Software with illegally promoting gambling due to software he developed and sold to foreign online casino providers.
Stuart reportedly received $2.3 million in cash and money orders in exchange for licensing his software that companies outside the U.S. used to power sportsbetting and online casino sites.
“These defendants abetted large-scale illegal gambling in the U.S. and abroad,” said District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. in October when Stuart was charged. “In doing so, they gave bettors an easy way to place illegal wagers, and created an appetite for further unlawful activity.”
Stuart is adamant that all of his clients were based outside the U.S. and that his software doesn't handle any actual bets, and is used instead to help provide the back-end infrastructure to operating gambling sites.
A hearing for the felony charge of promoting gambling in New York is scheduled for January 8, although the case could take more twists and turns as Stuart claims he was previously offered a plea deal in exchange for ratting out his clients and installing a backdoor in his software.
According to Stuart, authorities pressured him to install the backdoor so that they could gain data such as names, email addresses, and physical addresses for all the bettors that his clients served, helping them potentially build cases against far more people.
Stuart at first agreed but later refused, claiming that he was then charged as retribution for not helping New York state authorities hack into his clients' systems and secretly collect customer data.
Stuart’s company created and supports online gaming software called Action Sportsbook International, which he has been licensing to clients for more than a decade from the company headquarters in Nevada.