Jagr insists he paid gambling debt in full
WASHINGTON — Jaromir Jagr acknowledged Wednesday that he made mistakes when he lost $500,000 betting through an Internet gambling site, but he insisted he paid the debt four years ago and did nothing illegal.
“It was 1998, and I made mistakes,” Jagr told reporters after the Washington Capitals’ practice. “I just wasn’t smart. It was stupid. It wasn’t illegal, and it was five years ago. Everything was taken care of in 1999. That’s all I can tell you.”
Jagr owed the money to William Caesar, owner of the gambling Web site CaribSports, based in Belize. Sports Illustrated reported that Jagr agreed to pay $450,000, split into monthly payments, to settle the debt — and that Caesar leaked the story to the press after Jagr stopped making the payments.
Jagr disputed that part of the magazine’s story, reiterating that the debt was settled in 1999, and that he didn’t know why the story was coming out now.
There was no allegation that Jagr bet on NHL games, which would be violation of league rules. Caesar told the magazine he had technicians configure Jagr’s betting page so the hockey star could not bet on the NHL.
“We did that for our own protection, not just his,” Caesar said. “That would destroy us, if he destroyed the game.”