Bears

Gambling site Bodog seized by U.S. authorities

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Gambling site Bodog seized by U.S. authorities

From Comcast SportsNet
BALTIMORE (AP) -- The sports gambling site Bodog was shut down and four Canadians indicted, including founder Calvin Ayre, for illegal gambling that generated more than 100 million in winnings, U.S. prosecutors announced Tuesday. The website's domain name was seized Monday and the indictments, which were returned Feb. 22, were unveiled Tuesday in Baltimore, prosecutors said. The indictments follow federal prosecutions last year of three of the biggest websites involved in online poker. More than 75 company bank accounts in 14 countries have been frozen, and authorities are seeking 3 billion in fines and restitution, in that investigation. In addition to the 50-year-old Ayre, prosecutors say the indictment names website operators James Philip, David Ferguson and Derrick Maloney. Gamblers in Maryland and elsewhere were sent a least 100 million by wire and check from 2005 to 2012, the U.S. Attorney's office said, adding Bodog conducted a 42 million advertising campaign between 2005 and 2008 to attract gamblers to the Bodog.com website. The operation allegedly moved funds from Bodog's accounts located in Switzerland, England, Malta, Canada and elsewhere to pay winnings to gamblers. The four Canadians face up to five years in prison for conducting an illegal gambling business and 20 years for money laundering. Bodog.com faces a fine of up to 500,000 for gambling and money laundering. Initial appearances for the individuals have not been scheduled. Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Baltimore, said the four are not in custody. Spokeswoman Vickie LeDuc said later Tuesday that arrest warrants had been issued for the four. An affidavit filed along with the warrant to seize the site said investigators created accounts with Maryland addresses and received checks in the mail for winnings. The affidavit also said investigators interviewed a former Bodog employee who named top officers and directors and said the company had hundreds of employees in Canada and Costa Rica handling day-to-day operations. "Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "Many of the harms that underlie gambling prohibitions are exacerbated when the enterprises operate over the internet without regulation." Prosecutors say the investigation was led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations in Baltimore and also involved the Internal Revenue Service, Anne Arundel County Police and Maryland State Police. HSI agents seized the domain name on Monday.

Madden 20's QB ratings were released so you already know it's time to get Mad Online about Mitch Trubisky's number

Madden 20's QB ratings were released so you already know it's time to get Mad Online about Mitch Trubisky's number

Don't get it confused, the people over at Madden know what they're doing. 

Like 2 weeks ago, they released their rookie ratings, and people got kinda mad!  

Today, the QB RATINGS are out, and hoo boy, friends, people are still mad: 

Storm the studios! Craft your snarkiest tweet!! Boycott Madden!!!! /T.O. voice THAT'S THEIR QUARTERBACK. 

With that said, there's perhaps at least some legitimate beef to be had with these ratings; Trubisky is probably not THAT much worse, if worse at all, than Marcus Mariota, or Derek Carr, or Andy Dalton. Bears Twitter fiercely defends Trubisky (*PFF nods solemnly*) so being told that their QB is -- in a video game -- the 24th-best will probably not sit well, but hey, let's find out: 

It goes on and on and on and on and on but you get the point. 

I pity whoever's in charge of running Madden's Twitter account today. 

Cubs not yet considering ways to get Victor Caratini and Willson Contreras in lineup together

Cubs not yet considering ways to get Victor Caratini and Willson Contreras in lineup together

Offensive production is very much judged in a "what have you done for me lately" manner.

And by that measure, the Cubs offense is just fine and there's no need to tinker.

However, overall, this lineup has weaknesses, including second base (Cubs rank 21st in MLB with .675 OPS from their second basemen) and center field (19th in MLB with .698 OPS). Before the trade deadline hits, it seems apparent Theo Epstein's front office will add another hitter of some sort to augment this offense. 

But what if the Cubs had an in-house solution?

Victor Caratini had another big game Sunday — going 2-for-3 with a sacrifice fly RBI and his only out was a 109.1 mph liner to left field — and is now hitting .301 on the season with a .383 on-base percentage and .505 slugging percentage.

Caratini wasn't initially scheduled to be in the Cubs lineup Sunday, but with Willson Contreras nursing a sore foot, he got the call and continued to do what he's done all year — play very solid defense behind the plate with quality production at the dish. 

Between Caratini's emergence this season and Contreras' huge bounceback year, Cubs catchers are pacing baseball in OPS, average, OBP, SLG, runs and RBI and rank second in homers and hits.

So with Contreras' ability to play the outfield, will the Cubs try to find ways to get both Caratini and Contreras in the starting lineup at the same time in search of more consistent offense?

"We haven't talked about that," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said after Sunday's game. "We have a lot of guys who have to be in the lineup when things are rolling properly. I haven't looked at that right now, honestly."

Maddon conceded that as a switch-hitter, Caratini is still utilized almost exclusively as a left-handed hitter. The second-year player is hitting .556 with a homer and a double from the right side this season, but that's come in only 10 plate appearances.

Maddon also admitted the best way to get both catchers in the lineup at the same time is if there's an injury or a natural day off for a regular player. For example, Contreras played a game in right field in Pittsburgh before the All-Star Break while Caratini started behind the plate with both Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward nursing minor injuries.

Caratini has also drawn some starts at first base over the last couple years when Anthony Rizzo is either ailing or getting a day off. 

But beyond that, it doesn't appear as if we're gonna see Contreras and Caratini as cohorts in the starting lineup on even a semi-regular basis.

"Maybe part of the reason they're both playing so well or Victor's hitting as well as he is or playing as well as he is is based on the amount of usage," Maddon said. "Everybody sees a guy do well and all of a sudden, that immediately indicates he should play more often. Maybe just playing the right amount."