US GAMBLING BILL IN SPOTLIGHT AFTER INDUSTRY ARRESTS
18 July 2006
WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) – The indictment of BETonSPORTS Plc (BSS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) executives for racketeering should add momentum to U.S. legislation that aims to ban broader types of Internet gambling, two Republican backers said on Tuesday.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill earlier this month that would prohibit most forms of Internet gambling and make it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.
A similar bill is pending in the U.S. Senate, where supporters are scrambling to win passage before an August recess.
The $12 billion-a-year online gambling industry was shaken this week after a grand jury in St. Louis indicted BETonSPORTS Plc (BSS.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and some of its executives.
Chief Executive David Carruthers was arrested while changing airplanes at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and three other men linked to the company were arrested in Florida. An arrest warrant was issued for BETonSPORTS founder Gary Kaplan, who lives in Costa Rica.
The high-profile case is being prosecuted by a newly appointed U.S. Attorney in St. Louis, Catherine Hanaway, and accuses Kaplan of taking bets from undercover federal agents. The government said in court documents it could seek forfeiture of more than $4.5 billion and other assets from the company and its executives.