Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments Poker Stories Podcast U.S. Poker Markets

Men Plead Guilty For Involvement In Illegal Sports Betting Operation Out Of San Diego Card Room

Lucky Lady Casino And Card Room Still Faces Uncertain Future


After a couple of guilty pleas on Tuesday, nearly all of the 14 people indicted by the feds in July 2016 over an alleged illegal sports betting operation in San Diego have admitted to involvement.

Sanders Segal and Sydney Segal, a father and son, this week pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The government said that an illicit sport books run out of the Lucky Lady Casino and Card Room made some $1 million in profits facilitating high-stakes bets at property via offshore gambling sites.

In Department of Justice terms, the sports book was “an illegal enterprise that connected bookies, sub-bookies and significant bettors with sports gambling websites located outside the United States, some of which were owned and controlled by members of the enterprise.”

Under federal law, sports betting is only legal in Nevada and to a limited extent Delaware.

The Lucky Lady is one of about 90 licensed poker rooms in the state of California. It has about 10 poker tables. According to the government, the card room provided a legitimate front for the illegal bookmaking operations principally led by Segal, with the coordination and help of Stanley Samuel Penn, the owner of the Lucky Lady.

Penn is one of the two men who hasn’t pleaded guilty.

“By grafting onto legitimate businesses, organized criminals and shady bookies have too long shielded themselves from law enforcement scrutiny and hidden huge illegal bookmaking profits,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “These indictments demonstrate the Department’s commitment to stemming the influence of racketeering activity in San Diego.”

Authorities reportedly began looking at the card room back in 2008, and nearly 10 years later charges were filed. The investigation employed wiretaps and undercover agents.

The card room is still in business pending the case, but California is considering revoking the license. Penn is set to go to trial in October.