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22 September 2006

UK newspaper reports possible involvement of "Deep South" gambling rivals in Dicks arrest

The UK newspaper The Observer published a startling report over the weekend that the recent New York arrest of Sportingbet ex-chairman Peter Dicks may have been at the behest of unidentified American gambling firms.

Writing on the Dicks arrest, which resulted in the respectable British businessman being briefly jailed and millions lopped off online gambling stocks in London, reporter Nick Mathieson claimed that "Deep South rivals" may have pressured the Lousiana authorities to issue the warrant for the arrest of Dicks and a reported further 49 online gambling company executives. Mathieson does not elaborate further.

Dicks was arrested in response to a covert warrant for alleged violation of Louisiana state laws relating to "gambling by computer" (see previous InfoPowa reports).

New York police acted on the warrant from Louisiana state officials and arrested Dicks. The Observer claims that sources close to the investigation say that the evidence against Dicks is not convincing enough for him to be extradited. They believe the state's lax attitude to gambling has created a thriving local industry and that Sportingbet's success may have antagonised local firms.

Dicks is due to return to New York to contest the Louisiana extradition request on September 28, but was released on bail and allowed to return to Britain after he resigned his chairmanship of Sportingbet.

The company which, at its peak, was valued at GBP 2 billion has seen its value halved in recent times following U.S. law enforcement actions against Dicks and David Carruthers, another British executive arrested on US soil for alleged online gambling offences. Sportingbet took 48 million bets last year, generating GBP 1.5 billion, and has 2.7 million registered customers. Shares have recovered somewhat following Dicks' release.

Online Casino News courtesy of InfoPowa

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