Busted: Illegal Gambling Parlors Leads To Four-Year Prison Sentence For Staten Island Man

Written By Mike Mazzeo on April 20, 2022 - Last Updated on February 6, 2023
Illegal Gambling New York Brooklyn

Here’s another reason to get legal poker rooms in New York up and running in downstate casinos sooner rather than later.

As the New York Daily News reported, Abduraman “Diamond” Iseni, a 56-year-old from Staten Island, was given a more than four-year prison sentence for running multiple illegal gambling parlors in Brooklyn from 2017-20.

The Daily News reported that those parlors hosted poker games and illegal sportsbooks.

‘Diamond’ Iseni has history of illegal activity

Iseni had already served time in prison for racketeering and money laundering.

According to a statement from Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams:

“Serving more than a decade in federal prison should have demonstrated to Abduraman Iseni the consequences of serious crimes. But instead, after his release he went back to racketeering, threats, money laundering and other offenses.”

According to the report, Iseni funded the opening of illegal gambling parlors Sports Cafe, Friendly Cafe and Oasis Cafe in exchange for a cut of the profits. He also threatened people unable to pay their gambling debts, including holding a fork to an associate’s eye in 2019.

Per a press release, Iseni also committed criminal offenses related to bank fraud and false statements to a bank. Iseni oversaw a criminal group referred to in the indictment as the “Diamond Enterprise.” According to the release, the criminal group thrived on revenues generated by the aforementioned parlors located throughout Brooklyn. Those establishments hosted underground poker games and illegal sportsbooks.

In addition, according to the release, Iseni laundered some of those revenues “through a series of bank accounts in an effort to conceal and facilitate the Enterprise’s continued operations.”

Crackdown on illegal gambling activity as NY expands

Legal NY online sports betting launched on Jan. 8. However, New Yorkers also continue to wager with bookies or on unregulated sites, which can provide betting on credit, a more expanded betting menu and no digital paper trail.

The final NYS budget included three accelerated downstate casino licenses.

The majority of members of the gaming facility location board must earn selection by the New York State Gaming Commission within 180 days of the governor’s signature: Oct. 6.

A request for applications (RFA) must then be issued within 90 days of the majority of members being appointed.

The three casinos selected for licenses would be able to have legal NY poker rooms and retail sportsbooks at their properties.

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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