TikTok Livestream Gambling Scheme Nets Two Minnesota Brothers

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

You've read about so-called "Twitter bookies" here on the pages of Gambling911.com.


Appearing as part of a riveting podcast with Vegas Horse Pools this week, Albany, Georgia-based attorney Joe Durham discussed the scourge.

Individuals have amassed large followings via Twitter using anonymous handles.  They offer to book games with more attractive lines than gamblers will find elsewhere.  Folks fall for this tactic hook, line, and sinker, including one of the individuals appearing alongside Joe on the podcast.  What good is a generous line if the so-called bookie is not going to pay out?  Durham has made it his mission to go after these individuals.

Durham and victims of these scams can be thankful this holiday season that authorities appear to be taking notice.

Blake C. Fitzgerald, 40, of Farmington, has been charged with running a remote bookie business for at least four months until January 2023 while at Mystic Lake Casino in the Scott County city of Prior Lake or Treasure Island Resort & Casino just outside of Red Wing in Goodhue County. His social media platform of choice for promotion of the gambling scheme was TikTok.

Additionally gross misdemeanor illegal gambling counts charges were filed against Fitzgerald's brother, Christopher J. Mattison, 34, of Warren, Minn. 

The complaint alleges the brothers arranged bets for 81 people in that three-week period that totaled more than $48,000.

Bettors received back about a third of their money, either in winnings or refunds if the brothers ran out of time to get the wagers down, the complaints read.

A 53-year-old woman from southeastern Minnesota mentioned in the complaint told investigators she was a gambling addict.

Fitzgerald collected funds via cash apps and applied an initial $5.99 subscription fee and then $25 that he kept for every $100 deposited for wagering, which he streamed live on TikTok.  To put this in perspective, the typical vig for a bookie sports bet is around 8 to 10 percent.  Fitzgerald's amounted to 25%.

The Minnesota Star points out that archived videos on his main TikTok account revealed 165,000 followers from around the world with videos showing wads of cash and slot machines rolling up occasional big jackpots.

At one point, Fitzgerald bragged about receiving a a permanent trespass notice from the Mystic Lake Casino.

"Why risk yourself unless there is some reason you think this Twitter bookie is going to work out for you?" Durham asked during the summer podcast. "Just move on past him because you're gonna end up not getting paid, contacting me then, you know, hoping that we can recover something and even if you get a judgment knowing that it may be decades before that judgment is paid, if they even have anything, you never know.  It could be a pure guy who never amounts to anything in life and is just out there trying to screw people and trying to take advantage of them on Twitter."

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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