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Poker Players In Russian Mob Case Win Gambling Rights

One of the biggest illegal gambling busts took place recently involving dozens of defendants who are accused of running an illegal gambling operation in association with the Russian mob. Even with the indictment sitting over their head, some of the defendants want the right to continue to gamble.

Abe Mosseri, a professional poker player, petitioned the court to allow him to travel to Las Vegas to continue to make a living playing poker while he awaits trial. Mosseri became the latest in a string of players indicted in the case that have been granted that permission by the courts.

The contention is that Mosseri and the other players make their living playing poker, and therefore should be allowed to work just like any other defendant would as they await trial. Prosecutors have not attempted to stop the players from working, despite the nature of their charges.

"This is not Mr. Mosseri's desire to get some hot weather in Vegas," said Michael Bachner, defense attorney for Masseri. "he just wants to engage in his livelihood, which is a legal activity he has done for many, many years."

The players are accused of various crimes involving the illegal gambling case, most notably money laundering. When Masseri was arrested, authorities found hundreds of thousands of dollars in a safe in the Bellagio Hotel, where Masseri regularly played poker.

The judge in the case ruled that Masseri could travel to Las Vegas for tournaments, but could not stay at the Bellagio.

The case centers on a bookmaking operation that investigators believe was a multi-million dollar operation. Several defendants have already pleaded guilty in the case, but Masseri's case is still pending.

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