5Dimes, a popular Costa Rica-based sportsbook, has reached a $46.8 million settlement with the U.S. government following a federal money-laundering investigation, according to a settlement agreement obtained by ESPN on Wednesday.
5Dimes agreed to pay $15 million in cash, forfeit more than $30 million in assets and stop accepting wagers from U.S. customers while operating out of Costa Rica, according to the settlement agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Easten District of Pennsylvania.
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The settlement also absolves Laura Varela, the widow of 5Dimes owner William Sean Creighton, of any criminal conduct alleged against the sportsbook. Varela assumed responsibility for 5Dimes' assets after her husband was kidnapped in September 2018 and found dead a year later, but she did not have 'day-to-day authority' over its operations, according to the settlement.
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'The investigation was a complete success from our perspective,' Michael Lowe, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, told ESPN. 'There was gambling going on, but we discovered it, we put a stop to it.'
The non-prosecution agreement allows 5Dimes and Varela to pursue opportunities in the expanding American sports betting market. Varela, who fully cooperated with the investigation, made 'significant changes' to 5Dimes's operations that make it 'suitable for participating in lawful gaming operations across the world,' according to the settlement agreement.
'We achieved the objective, which is, she is compliant with U.S. federal law right now,' Maria M. Carrillo, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, told ESPN. 'What that means for her is she is not operating in violation of U.S. law, and she is not actively taking bets from U.S. bettors.
'Whether she's positioned well for regulators, that's up for the regulators to decide,' Carrillo said. '[5Dimes] certainly is no longer in violation of federal law.'
In an interview with ESPN, Varela said she is ' very, very happy and very excited about what the new chapter of 5Dimes can be.'
Creighton, a native of West Virginia, launched 5Dimes around 2000. At a time when sports betting in the U.S was restricted to primarily Nevada, 5Dimes grew it into one of the most popular online sportsbooks that served American bettors and eventually attracted attention from federal investigators.
In 2016, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, revealed it was investigating 5Dimes for money laundering, according to a seizure warrant filed in U.S. District Court that year. In the warrant, an agent detailed how he believed 5Dimes instructed bettors based in the U.S. to use gift cards as a way to place and later cash out bets. Creighton was never formally charged; however, the investigation remained open for years.
5Dimes used third-party payment processors to accept illegal payments from U.S. customers, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in the settlement agreement. The third parties processed credit card transactions for 5Dimes that concealed the nature of the charges, and received funds from U.S. customers' credit cards that were then transferred to bank accounts of shell companies operated by Creighton, according to the settlement.
Varela, through her attorneys, contacted the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in the spring of 2019 and offered her cooperation to settle the case. According to the settlement, she helped retrieve assets, but the parties agreed that her cooperation 'did not include information about the identities of individual U.S.-based customes.' Gold coins, cryptocurrency, funds from the sale of season tickets to the Pittsburgh Pirates and West Virginia University basketball and football, and a 1948 George Mikan rookie basketball card that Creighton purchased for about $400,000 are among the forfeited assets.
The Department of Homeland Security gifted the Mikan card to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C, according to the settlement agreement.
On Sept. 7, 5Dimes posted a notice on its website that it would stop accepting online bets from U.S.-based customers and instructed them to withdraw funds by Sept. 25. Any funds not requested by bettors before the deadline will be turned over to Epiq, a third-party claims administrator who will help the distribution process. Any funds not claimed by Sept. 30, 2021, will be forfeited to the U.S government, according to terms in the settlement.
Varela's attorneys, Stephen A. Miller and Barry Boss of firm Cozen O'Connor, said 5Dimes has established a new corporate entity, 5D Americas LLC, in the State of Delaware, as the sportsbook eyes the U.S. betting market. Legal sportsbooks are operating in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
As part of the settlement, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said, at Varela's request, it will answer questions from interested parties, including state regulatory authorities, regarding 5Dimes and Varela.
Creighton was abducted by four men in a rented grey pickup truck around 10 p.m., on Sept. 24, 2018, after leaving the 5Dimes office in San Pedro, the Costa Rica judicial investigation department (OIJ) said last year. The kidnappers demanded a $5 million ransom and received $1 million from Creighton's family, but Creighton was not returned, OIJ said.
A year after Creighton's disappearance, the OIJ reported finding his body in a cemetery in the small fishing town of Queops, Costa Rica, approximately a three-hour drive from where investigators believe he was abducted.
In January 2019, authorities conducted raids in Costa Rica and Spain, leading to the arrest of 12 people believed to be involved in Creighton's disappearance, according to an OIJ statement at the time. Three suspects were extradited from Spain to Costa Rica in April 2019 and, as of September 2019, were being investigated for the crime of extortive kidnapping, according to the Costa Rica Office of Public Ministry.
The Assistant Prosecutor's Office against Drug Trafficking and Related Crimes for Costa Rica told ESPN in an Sept. 17 email that the case against Creighton's alleged kidnappers is in the 'final investigation phase.'
According to the settlement, Creighton was the founder and had exclusive control of 5Dimes until his disappearance and death. Varela told ESPN she had never been involved with the operation of 5Dimes and that the management team in place continued to run the sportsbook following Creighton's disappearance.
'Months kept going by, and he was not coming back, and the reality also starts hitting, that's really when I realized the best thing for me and my family to do was to look for legal counsel,' Varela told ESPN in an interview conducted on Zoom.
Creighton grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia. After graduating from West Virginia University in 1998 with a degree in business administration, he moved to Costa Rica with a small group of friends to launch 5Dimes. He was 43 at the time of his disappearance.
Varela says the loss of her husband, the father of her two young children, is a tragedy she doesn't believe she'll ever get over. 'You just learn how to live with it,' she said.
5Dimes has been in the sports wagering business for a long time. They have been accepting your internet wagers since 1998.
5dimes Important Update – 9/8/2020 we learned that 5Dimes is leaving the US market for the time being. We do not encourage anyone to deposit or wager there at this time. Futures bets are being cancelled and or refunded where applicable. If you have a balance with them you have until the 25th of September to get your money out.
5Dimes Review for Historical Reasons
5Dimes has early-morning lines; 5Dimes is known for posting odds before any other gambling site, so if you like to get a leg up on other bettors, make 5Dimes your home for sports wagers.
Sports Available for Wagering
5Dimes is a sports wagering site, so don’t expect prop bets on reality TV or commodity futures. They have a wonderful selection of sports available for US bettors, including the following:
- Pro & College Football (5dimes tops many of our toplists for NFL 2018 including best place to bet the favorites.
- Pro & College Basketball
- MLB Baseball
- Olympics (when in session)
- Darts / Snooker
- Horse Racing
- Soccer (FIFA & other Clubs)
- Motor Sports (NASCAR)
- Golf (PGA & Other Leagues)
Okay, so you may not be able to vote on who gets kicked off your favorite reality show, but the betting options are good enough for the vast majority of American-based sports punters.
Betting Types That Are Available
We like the variety of betting types, including prop bets on pro sports (such as which NFL team or teams will or will not make the playoffs, along with other sport playoff props), and points spreads on literally every D1 and D2 college football and college basketball games. Lines on D2 basketball games are hard to find, but 5Dimes has you covered. 5Dimes also makes teasers available at a rate of up to 20 points for football and 16 for basketball, though parlays are not yet part of their betting options.
Five Dimes Sportsbook And Casino
With no VIP or loyalty program, it may seem like 5Dimes is a slouch when it comes to bonuses.
But in reality, you get to take your pick of lots of different bonus plans:Ultimate poker literature pack games. a reduced juice offer, a cashback program, or a more traditional sportsbook bonus offer.
If you are a regular bettor we recommend the reduced juice plan. (screenshot above).
You can bet with lower juice than anywhere else if you choose this option.
Otherwise, you can choose from either a 20% or 50% free-play bonus for all sportsbook action, depending on the size of your deposit, and this offer comes with promises of future reload bonuses.
Be aware that reloads are only available on deposits over $250.
This option is best for people who place lots of bets and deposit large amounts of money.
The 5Dimes cashback offer is worth 15% cashback on all of your sportsbook losses two times a year.
You have to request the rebate!
- Once before the Super Bowl
- and once before the start of the NFL pre-season
There are other details attached to the cashback program, so read the terms and conditions before you pick this version.
Bettors that put down a large number of wagers may prefer the reduced juice option, which cuts you out of the flashier bonuses and rebate offers.
However, reduced juice does save you money on a day-to-day basis, since you’re putting less cash in the book’s pocket for each bet.
Deposits & Withdrawals
5Dimes accepts customers from around the world, so American gamblers need to look for methods that are legal and available to US bettors. These include:
- Person to Person transfers
- Money Orders by mail or courier
- Cashier’s Checks by mail or by courier
- VISA / Mastercard (available to some American residents)
- Sportsbook Transfer
- Account to Account Transfer
5Dimes is the first main stream online sports betting site to begin accepting bitcoin for deposits. They convert will the bitcoin to USD as soon as you make the deposit.
Are USA Players Allowed to Wager at 5Dimes?
Yes, 5Dimes is open to bets from Americans, no matter what state they’re from. Remember that the US government isn’t interested in arresting individuals who bet on sports, only sites that operate illegally on US soil. If you live in the USA, you can wager at 5Dimes.
Where Does 5Dimes Get their Odds?
Like other top-notch sportsbook sites online, 5Dimes writes their own odds, with input from the lines appearing from Vegas, Atlantic City, Macau, and other big jurisdictions for sports betting. You’ll have a hard time finding arbitrage betting chances involving 5Dimes, since they try to set their lines close to their competition.
What Are the Wager Limits at 5Dimes?
5Dimes has a wide range of bets, though it depends on if you’re placing bets on the phone or online. Online bettors can wager as low as $.50 up into the thousands per contest, while phone bettors must bet at least $25 on parlays and $50 on all other bets.
What is Juice?
Well, to explain it best, let’s get the info straight from their website:
The industry standard for juice requires a player to normally risk $110 for every $100 they would want to win on a wager. With 5Dimes Reduced Juice a player risks less and wins more. 5Dimes has the widest variety of Reduced Juice options saving you money every time you bet. 5Dimes players can bet reduced juice on NFL, NCAA football, Canadian Football, NBA, NCAA basketball, WNBA, MLB, NHL, grand slam tennis, PGA golf, boxing, MMA, and special events.
5Dimes Reduced Juice offerings on football and basketball include 10-cent moneylines, 10-cent sides and 10-cent totals (-105 pricing). When wagering at -105 odds you are wagering $105 to win $100. This equals a discount of 50% when compared to standard -110 odds.
5Dimes has made the MLB 5-cent overnight money line famous. These lines are available overnight until 8:00am ET. Our 10-cent run lines and 10-cent totals on MLB will be available overnight and through game day right up to the first pitch of every regular season game.
Reduced Juice offerings are available in straight wager format and these lines are generally posted on the day of the event. Parlays, If Bets, and Rolling If Bets are NOT available using Reduced Juice lines.
New Player deposits from $100 to $400 will receive a 50% Free-Play Reward, up to a total of $200 in Free-Play. Here’s the Plus… if the deposit amount exceeds $400, and is up to $2000, it will also qualify for an EXTRA 20% Free-Play Reward. That is up to $520 in Free-Play Rewards!
|First Deposit Amount||50% Reward||20% Reward||Total Free Play Reward Applied|
With this offer you are able to receive up to $500 in Free Play to use in the 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The amount of your reward will be based on the amount of your reload and you can make the reload using any of the payment methods available. There is however a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $2500.
The Free Play Reward equals 20% of the reload amount. Deposit amounts of $100 and $249 will have a fixed Free Play Reward amount applied of $40.
Your reward will be credited to your account incrementally based on the amount you have wagered.
The following types of play will not qualify toward earning this reward –
- Live Betting Ultra
- Live Betting Extra
- Poker Rooms
3 Pros of Using 5Dimes versus an Actual Sportsbook in a Casino
5dimes Lottery Room
Unless you live near a brick and mortar sportsbook, there’s no comparing the convenience of the online wagering game. In America, betting on sports is mostly only legal in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, a decent roadtrip or chunk of airfare for most US gamblers. Here are three pros of using 5Dimes versus real sportsbooks.
- You can bet on sports in your underwear. No one can see you. No need to get dressed up.
- The lines are basically identical to what you’d get in Vegas.
- Bonuses and promotions available at 5Dimes simply aren’t an option at traditional sportsbooks.