Weekend Side Bet: Swiss Off Book, Bitar Offshore, Nuts Are Hit


The PokerListings Weekend Side Bet is a quick roundup of the week's most notable and/or humorous off-the-felt happenings.

There's always a poker connection in there somewhere but you definitely won't find the latest tourney results.

This week we look into the burgeoning Swiss crime scene, count Ray Bitar’s bank accounts and pay respect to the humble nut.

1) Switzerland Goes Off Book

If you're asked what you associate with Switzerland, "crime" is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. But crime is growing in the little country in the Alps and gambling is the reason for it.

The Swiss Federal Police have carried out an increasing number of raids this year leading to arrests and trials. It is still Switzerland so “numerous” here means about 100 cases in court right now. But still.

swiss army knife
Lots of tool options; not so many ways to get a bet down.

This year police have seized 140,000 Swiss Francs (equaling $147,000), but it has been estimated that actual profits made with illegal gambling amount to about 150 million Francs per year.

The bigger scandal? Guess which institution has estimated that dark figure – 1,000 times the money seized in 2013:

The Swiss Casino Association, also known as the only governmental body allowed to offer gambling for money.

The thing is they don’t do it very well and the offers are very limited, leadding to the proliferation of "illegal" options. The Association's influence is so strong, though, that even a simple home game can bring you to the verge of prison.

So, really, the Swiss aren't exactly a nation of gangsters after all. They just want to gamble like the rest of us.

2) Bitar Spreads the Wealth

Guess how many bank accounts and companies were under the name of former Full Tilt Poker executive Ray Bitar?

Ray Bitar
Not afraid to move money around.

The real answer is "nobody knows," but authorities have released details on where they got the $40m Bitar was sentenced to pay up as part of his Black Friday indictment.

As reported on FlushDraw.net the DoJ tok funds from 18 different bank accounts in five countries. Bitar also agreed to step down as the owner of 23 different companies related to Full Tilt. As a nightcap he sold four houses and commercial properties in California.

If you’re interested, these are a few of the banks that were happily attending to the money of Ray Bitar.

  • Royal Bank of Scotland International (Scotland)
  • Bank of Ireland (Ireland)
  • Bank of Scotland Ireland, Inc (Ireland)
  • National Irish Bank (Ireland)
  • Allied Irish Bank (Ireland)
  • Bank of Valletta (Malta)
  • Wirecard Bank AG (Germany)
  • Comerica Bank (Dallas, Texas)

Read the full details at FlushDraw.net.

3) Hit the Nuts?

If you live in the UK or the US you might have celebrated “National Nut Day” this week.

Screen shot 2014 10 25 at 1.52.38 PM
Why not, right?

At the very least, we're pretty sure Humberto Brenes celebrated.

While this is intended as a day to promote nuts as a replacement for meat as a protein source, the poker industry wouldn’t be what it is if we didn't take it upon us to use it for our own purposes.

Casinos like the Borgata smartly jumped on board and hosted its own “Poker Nuts Day” with special prizes and bonuses for players hitting the nuts.

Interestingly for everyone in and outside of casinos:

National Nut Day isn't an official public holiday but some schools were closed and some people stayed home from work. Maybe related to nuts; maybe not.

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