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Former major league outfielder Yasiel Puig has decided to withdraw his agreement to plead guilty to a charge of lying to federal agents investigating an illegal gambling operation. Puig is changing his plea to not guilty because of “significant new evidence,” according to a statement from his attorneys in Los Angeles. The former All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers says he wants to clear his name and he never should have agreed to plead guilty to a crime he didn't commit. Puig's lawyer says he had untreated mental-health issues and did not have his own interpreter or criminal legal counsel with him for his interview via Zoom with federal investigators in January.

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New Jersey gambling regulators have fined Caesars Sportsbook for wrongly refusing to pay out over $27,000 to a gambler who made winning bets on an international hockey game last year. The dispute involved whether goals scored in overtime should count in determining whether bets are winners or losers. It's the same type of pitfall many soccer bettors may soon face during soccer’s World Cup tournament, where bets are usually graded based on what happens during regular time. The state Division of Gambling Enforcement fined Caesars $500 for wrongly insisting that the man’s hockey bets were losers.

New Jersey’s casinos, horse tracks that offer sports betting, and the online partners of both types of gambling outlets won over $445 million in October. That's a decline of less than 1% from the same period a year earlier. The news Thursday for the most important metric for the Atlantic City casino industry was mixed. Money won from in-person gamblers at the casinos fell by over 7% from a year earlier, but had surpassed the level of Oct. 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Four casinos _ Borgata, Hard Rock, Ocean and Resorts _ had higher in-person revenue last month than they did in Oct. 2019.

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A statement from Yasiel Puig's agent says the former major league outfielder did not have a criminal attorney with him and felt compromised partly because of his mental health issues at an interview with federal agents investigating an illegal gambling operation. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that Puig, 31, will plead guilty to lying at that interview. Court documents say he has agreed to plead guilty to one count of making false statements and after doing so could face up to five years in federal prison. He also agreed to pay a fine of at least $55,000. Puig’s agent, Lisette Carnet, says the former Dodgers star was not a member of a gambling ring, did not bet on baseball and has not been charged with illegal gambling.

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Americans will bet $1.8 billion on the World Cup this year, according to the casino industry’s national trade group. The American Gaming Association estimates that 20.5 million American adults plan to bet on the biggest soccer tournament in the world, legally or otherwise. The survey is the organization’s first for World Cup betting. This World Cup is the first to be held while legal sports betting is widespread in America. The U.S. was the top choice to win at 24%, followed by Brazil at 19%, Argentina at 17% and Germany at 10%.

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Authorities say former Major League Baseball outfielder Yasiel Puig will plead guilty to lying to federal agents investigating an illegal sports gambling operation. The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that Puig acknowledged in unsealed court documents that he denied betting on the operation when in fact he made hundreds of bets in 2019.  Puig played six seasons with the Dodgers, where he earned an All-Star selection in 2014. He played for the Cincinnati Reds and the Cleveland Indians in 2019 before becoming a free agent and last year signed a million-dollar contract with a South Korean team.

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Competing measures to allow sports gambling in California have lost big despite the most expensive ballot question races in U.S. history. About $460 million was raised to sway voters in competing efforts by Native American tribes and the gaming industry to try to capture a potential billion dollar market in the nation’s most populous state. The dueling measures would have allowed either sports betting at tribal casinos and horse tracks or on mobile devices and online. But California voters did not want a piece of that action. The amount raised more than double what Uber, Lyft and other app-based ride and delivery services spent in 2020 to prevent drivers from becoming employees.

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Residents of Nebraska have approved a new photo identification requirement for future elections. The measure was one of several decided Tuesday that could affect the way votes are cast in the next presidential election. Arkansas voters defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have raised the threshold to pass future ballot initiatives. A proposal to expand early voting passed in Connecticut and was leading in Michigan. The measures were among 130 state ballot issues. Others touched on contentious policies such as abortion rights, marijuana legalization, gun rights and gambling.

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