PETER DICKS, SPORTINGBET CHIEF, RELEASED ON $50,000 BAIL

09 September 2006

BBC NEWS
09/09/06

The chairman of UK-based online gaming firm Sportingbet has been granted a $50,000 bail by a US court.

Peter Dicks was held in New York on Thursday under a warrant issued by state authorities in Louisiana accusing him of “gambling by computer”.

The court in Queens, New York, also ordered him to surrender his passport.

Mr Dicks is to face another hearing on 14 September when the New York court will consider a request by the Louisiana authorities to extradite him.

News of the arrest triggered a sharp drop in gambling shares on Thursday, but stocks have since steadied.

Sportingbet’s shares have been suspended, but shares in rival Partygaming closed just 0.25% lower after slumping 10% on Thursday, while 888 Holdings added 1.04% after slumping 16% a day earlier.

Business as usual

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Sportingbet vowed to continue operating as normal, including continuing to accept bets from the US.

It also added that it had not received correspondence from any US authority regarding “this or any related matter”.

The company, which also owns the Paradise Poker brand, has more than 2.5 million registered customers and an annual turnover in excess of $1.2bn (£630m) – about 70% of its profits are generated in the US.

Mr Dicks is really not a flight risk. This is not some mobster who has connections to the crime world…

READ THE COMPLETE STORY AT BBC NEWS | BBC.CO.UK