10 September 2006

24.COM | FIN24.COM
Gaming chiefs not safe in US
10/09/2006 13:49

St Louis – Gambling industry experts agree: If you operate an offshore gaming website, stay out of the US.

Moments after stepping foot on American soil on Thursday, Sportingbet plc Chairperson Peter Dicks became the second British offshore sports betting executive arrested in recent months for illegal online gambling in the US. Former BetOnSports plc Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers was arrested on federal charges in July.

It’s still unclear if the arrest is a coincidence or part of a government crackdown, but some experts suspect the latter.

And as millions of dollars in bets for the NFL’s opening weekend roll into thousands of websites, the pressure on the internet gaming industry has intensified.

“You don’t need legal expertise to know if you are running an offshore gambling site, don’t come to America right now. You stand a good chance of being arrested,” internet gambling expert and lawyer Nelson Rose said.

Dicks, 64, was arrested at Kennedy International Airport in New York after flying from London, where his websites operate legally and are traded on the London Stock Exchange. More than $1.5bn shares in the company were suspended by the LSE at Sportingbet’s request on Thursday.

Dicks was detained on a Louisiana state warrant from May for gambling by computer, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $25 000 fine. Similar warrants have been issued for other Sportingbet associates, but authorities would not release information on who or how many of them are wanted.


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