Iran Dismantles Huge Gambling Network, Blames UK


Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced on Saturday a significant breakthrough in their ongoing efforts to combat illicit online activities, revealing the dismantling of what they described as the largest organized online gambling network targeting Iranian citizens. Dubbed Nitro Bet or “Nitrobet,” the operation was accused of exploiting regulatory loopholes and operating with impunity, with alleged roots traced back to a London-based syndicate.

Pointing fingers at the UK government, Iranian authorities accused them of turning a blind eye to the activities of this so-called “London-based Mafia network,” purportedly in exchange for substantial revenues generated from illicit sources. The ministry further alleged that Britain’s lax oversight facilitated criminal activities, including money laundering, raising serious concerns about international cooperation in combating cybercrime.

Despite strict prohibitions against gambling in Iran, dating back to the 1979 revolution, authorities face persistent challenges in enforcement due to the borderless nature of online operations. Nitro Bet’s takedown, following a meticulous 14-month intelligence operation, marked a significant victory in Iran’s battle against such transnational criminal enterprises.

According to Iranian intelligence sources, Nitro Bet controlled a vast network of approximately 35,000 domestic bank accounts and 1,200 payment gateways, highlighting the scale of its operations. These accounts, reminiscent of the notorious “farmer accounts” employed by online gambling operators targeting illicit markets, facilitated the movement of funds across borders, exploiting regulatory gaps to evade detection.

Beyond its financial implications, Nitro Bet’s insidious influence extended to social media, where it sought to undermine Islamic-Iranian values and normalize gambling within Iranian society. The Ministry of Intelligence disclosed plans by the network to enlist influencers to promote gambling, reflecting a broader agenda aimed at subverting cultural norms.

In a decisive move, Iranian authorities apprehended five individuals suspected of orchestrating Nitro Bet’s operations within the country, charging them with offenses ranging from economic sabotage to running illegal online casinos. While Iran’s legal framework imposes penalties such as imprisonment or corporal punishment for gambling-related offenses, recent debates within the country’s legislature have even contemplated harsher measures, indicative of the seriousness with which such activities are viewed.

As Iran reaffirms its commitment to upholding moral and legal standards, initiatives like the crackdown on Nitro Bet underscore the resolve to safeguard societal values against the encroachment of illicit enterprises. The recent developments serve as a poignant reminder of the global challenges posed by cybercrime and the imperative for coordinated action to preserve integrity in the digital age.

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