Sportingbet Chairman's Arrest Stuns UK Online Gaming Industry

12 September 2006


Linux Insider
Scotland on Sunday
09/11/06 9:22 AM PT

The New York State Supreme Court released Sportingbet Chairman Peter Dicks on $50,000 Friday. He is required to turn over his passport and stay in New York City under terms of the release. Shares in Sportingbet fell 38.5 percent in London on Monday, having dropped as much as 43 percent in early trading….

New York police pulled him in as he disembarked at John F. Kennedy Airport. As part of an ongoing investigation into Sportingbet, the arrest has sent an intimidating message across the Atlantic to the online gambling industry….

Last night, staff at rival online gambling firm PartyGaming were told travel to the U.S. was a personal decision. Few would blame them if they canceled their visits stateside….

On Thursday, shares were immediately suspended at the company’s request, while other sector stocks plummeted on the news. Analysts who have scrutinized the indictment of Carruthers and seven others on racketeering and other charges have said the U.S. authorities mean business….

Part of the reason is that there is a long history of corruption in sports betting in the U.S., which dates back to the fix of the 1919 baseball World Series. Both the Republicans and Democrats are vying to win votes from the Bible belt electorate ahead of this year’s mid-term elections….

Dicks will now face a hearing on Thursday as to whether he will be extradited from New York, where he was arrested, to Louisiana….

Meanwhile, PartyGaming and others are seeking to diversify into other markets, such as Asia, where gaming is a way of life — while firms, such as Playtech, that supply licensed software to online casino, poker and bingo operators have taken to issuing statements to the market distancing themselves from online gambling….

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