RealTime IT News

U.S. Detains Another Gambling Site Exec

UPDATED: Another offshore gambling executive is in U.S. custody.

Peter Dicks, CEO of SportingBet PLC, a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange, was arrested Wednesday night at New York's JFK airport on an outstanding Louisiana gambling-related arrest warrant issued in May.

"It was an active out-of-state warrant and we acted upon it," Pasquali DiFulco, a spokesman for the New York Port Authority, told internetnews.com.

Calls to the Louisiana State Police for comment were not returned.

In a brief statement issued Thursday morning, the London-based SportingBet said Dicks, 64, was detained by U.S. authorities while in the country on non-company business.

Pending further information, SportingBet asked the London Stock Exchange to temporarily suspend trading in its stock.

SportingBet claims to be the world's largest online betting and gaming company with a market value of almost $2 billion. It operates in three different time zones in the United States, Europe and Australia.

The company has approximately 2.5 million registered users who place more than 1 million bets a day on casino games, poker, sports and virtual games.

Dicks, who has been with SportingBet since 2000, is the second London-based gaming official to run afoul of U.S. authorities this year.

In July, the DoJ arrested BetonSports CEO David Carruthers while changing planes in Fort Worth enroute to Costa Rica, where the London-based company maintains Internet gambling sites aimed at U.S. bettors.

Carruthers, along with 10 others, faces charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud. Shares in BetonSports were suspended and the company pulled the plug on sites directed at U.S. gamblers.

Days later, BetonSports fired Carruthers.

The DoJ interprets the 1961 Wire Act, which was originally passed to ban wagers placed over the telephone, as extending to Internet gambling.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation specifically clarifying the Wire Act to cover Internet wagering.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Tuesday he hopes to pass similar legislation before the 109th Congress adjourns on Oct. 9.