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High-Profile Case Prompts Call For Legalized Sports Gambling In Colorado

DENVER (CBS4) - One Nevada betting company called Monday's football championship the most heavily bet on college game ever, and that was just the legal wagers. CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger has been following the story about one big time Denver bookie who is headed to federal prison, but some say his crime should be a thing of the past in Colorado.

Kerwin Sande ran a multi-million dollar gambling operation from plush country clubs in four states. He handled bets on college and professional football, Major League Baseball, hockey and more.

Sande's attorney, David Savitz, argues that prosecuting him is just not fair.

"Government and society condones gambling, but in this situation they have chosen to place Mr. Sande in prison for doing something that society has condoned," Savitz said.

Sande also ran an international sports betting website called PlayFastSports based in Costa Rica. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to own and operate an illegal gambling business as well as money laundering.

Sports agent Peter Schaffer says betting on games is an enormous, illicit business.

"Organized crime runs sports betting now. They are probably the biggest lobby. I am probably going to get my legs cut out from me for saying this," Schaffer said.

Schaffer believes sports betting should be legalized in Colorado to raise revenue for worthwhile projects.

"I think it's a lot like marijuana -- let's legalize it, let's tax it, let's regulate it, let's control it; and let's make sure it's out in the open," he said.

Schaffer points to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who recently came out in favor of legal sports betting.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver,
NBA commissioner Adam Silver (credit: CBS)

But unlike some other states, there has been no call yet for legalization in Colorado. State Rep. KC Becker represents the Black Hawk and Central City casino area.

"Coloradoans over and over have indicated that they want gambling to stay in the three communities originally authorized in our constitution," Becker said.

KC Becker
CBS4's Rick Sallinger talks with state Rep. KC Becker (credit: CBS)

Sande's case was called rare by federal prosecutors because of the size and scope. He has been ordered to forfeit $2million -- to the displeasure of his attorney.

"There will come a time when sports betting will be legalized," Savitz said.

CBS4 learned Sande's clients included well-known people in the community, but the list has been sealed.

RELATED: Guilty Plea In Gambling Ring Could Lead To Prominent Client List Reveal

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