Former Assistant School Principal Charged With Running Illegal Online Gambling Site

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:
Jun/09/2024

A former Mooresville, Indiana school assistant principal at Assistant Principal at Paul Hadley Middle School has been criminally charged in connection with his alleged role in running an online gambling site.  The Indiana Gaming Commission had conducted the investigation.  Mooresville is located just outside of Indianapolis.

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Morgan County prosecutors charged Timothy R. Vanwanzeele on May 22 with:

  •     Corrupt Business Influence
  •     Money Laundering where the value of proceeds/funds is at least $50,000
  •     Promoting Professional Gambling
  •     Professional Gambling Over the Internet

Vanwanzeele and another man are accused of running online poker room, DDDare Poker Club, and allegedly took bets between the period July 1, 2020, to November 26, 2023. 

“Mr. VanWanzeele is no longer employed by Mooresville Schools,” said Susan Haynes, a spokesperson for Mooresville Schools in an email to WRTV. “As always, we are committed to the safety and security of the district’s resources. The district has not been contacted by any investigative agency, but will fully cooperate if needed.”

Haynes said he was employed from July 1, 2020 through May 28, 2024.

Vanwanzeele’s attorney said his client retired from the school district.

Indiana Gambling Scandal

While Indiana was among the first U.S. states to legalized online sports betting following a May 2018 Supreme Court ruling overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the state is yet to authorize internet casino games for real money, including poker.

The gambling industry in Indiana has been mired in controversy.  As a result, any attempts to legalize i-Gaming are now stalled.

Former Rep. Sean Eberhart, a Republican from Shelbyville, pleaded guilty late last year to a federal felony charge: conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.

Federal prosecutors accused Eberhart of pushing Spectacle Entertainment’s desire to relocate two casinos through a 2019 bill, in exchange for a job paying upwards of $350,000 and an equity stake. Eberhart retired in 2022 after 16 years in office.

And last year, a federal judge sentenced former Sen. Brent Waltz and former Rep. John Keeler — a casino executive — to prison for election finance schemes involving Spectacle predecessor New Centaur.

State Prosecuting Illegal Poker

Last year, an Evasville Indiana underground poker club was busted and charged with a number of felonies.

A former table games supervisor at games supervisor at Bally’s Evansville Casino,Ind, Edward Hill, 53, was charged in March 2023 with corrupt business influence, professional gambling, and promoting professional gambling. These charges relate to the operation of “Ed’s Poker Club,” which was located inside an Evansville office building.

Hill had been running illegal poker games for years. But his business exploded when Bally’s closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a probable cause affidavit.

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