ESPN’s Darren Rovell broke the story Friday that Federal agents have reportedly seized documents and cash from one the nation’s largest football survivor pools, Ron & Mike’s Football Pool.
According to players who spoke to Rovell anonymously, there are at least five pools with at least $2.5 million going to the winners.
The pools were run by Ron Kronengold and Mike Bernstein, and those who were still alive in the survivor pools were sent the following message, according to Rovell:
“Please be advised that the Ron and Mike website has been forced to shut down at this time and is unlikely to open again.
“We understand your frustration and anger at this time but closure of the pool is beyond our control. We apologize to those that are still alive in our various pools and we ask for your patience and understanding while we contemplate the next steps. Unfortunately at this time we cannot make any additional comments.”
The warrant against Kronengold and Bernstein was reportedly filed by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York.
According to Rovell, If Kronengold and Bernstein ran the pools and took no share of the winnings, it would not be illegal, per New York state law. However, if they did receive a cut of the winnings, they could be charged with bookmaking and profiting from a gambling activity.
Survivor Pools usually work this way: each pool member chooses one NFL team each week. If their pick is correct, they survive until the next week. An incorrect pick eliminates the player from the pool for the remainder of the season. The goal is to be the the last member standing at the end of the season. Ron and Mike’s pools also featured second chance and high-roller pools.