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Sports-Betting Operation Shuts Web Site

Online GamblingOnline Gambling: Sports-Betting Operation Shuts Web Site

An offshore sports-betting operation targeted by U.S. prosecutors shut down its Web site Tuesday night, a day after a federal judge ordered the company to stop letting Americans place wagers.

BetOnSports PLC said it was temporarily stopping all transactions while it reviewed the situation.

Earlier on Tuesday, the site had appeared to be operating normally, offering bets on Major League baseball and season-opening college football games.

The company's founder, Gary Stephen Kaplan, the biggest target in the indictment, was somewhere in Costa Rica. He had nothing to say about the case, according to a spokesman.

Trading of the company's shares was suspended in London on Tuesday. They fell as much as 24 percent Monday following news that the company's chief executive, David Carruthers, had been arrested and closed down 17 percent at 122.50 pence ($2.24).

In the fiscal year ended Feb. 5, BetOnSports reported a 65 percent gain in operating profit on continuing operations to $20.1 million. The company said it handled $1.77 billion worth of bets for the year, up 25 percent.

On Monday, federal officials unsealed a 22-count indictment that charges 11 people and four companies with conspiracy, racketeering and wire fraud in taking sports bets from U.S. residents. Authorities said BetOnSports falsely claimed that Internet and phone wagering on sporting events was legal and licensed.

Five of the 11 individuals were arrested, including Carruthers, who remained in custody in Fort Worth pending a detention hearing on Friday. Carruthers was arrested Sunday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as he waited for a connecting flight to Costa Rica.

The Justice Department is seeking the forfeiture of $4.5 billion, plus several cars, recreational vehicles and computers from the defendants. Prosecutors convinced a federal judge in St. Louis to order BetOnSports to stop accepting bets placed from within the United States.

BetOnSports hesitated for a full day before shutting down, however. A company spokesman, Kevin Smith, had said attorneys were deciding what to do next.

Americans accounted for virtually all of the company's business until recently, when it began aggressively courting bettors in Asia.

Even if BetOnSports shuts down permanently, there are plenty of sites to take its place. Costa Rica has become a haven for Caribbean online sports books and casinos in the past decade because of its light approach to regulation, experts said.

"There are probably at least 140 sports books operating down there," said Sue Schneider, president of a suburban St. Louis firm that tracks the industry.

Some online sports books might stop taking bets from U.S. residents, but only if the United States is a small part of their business, Schneider predicted.

The indictment is likely to have even less effect on online casinos — those that take bets on poker or other games, but not on sporting events.

In the past decade, federal officials have prosecuted many operators of online sports books with U.S. ownership or operations because federal law prohibits using phone wires to place those bets, said Anthony N. Cabot, a Las Vegas lawyer who has represented traditional and online casinos.

In a celebrated case from 2000, prosecutors won a conviction against Jay Cohen, a U.S. citizen who ran an operation in Antigua that took sports bets from Americans over the Internet. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

But the wire law doesn't cover other types of casino betting, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled. That has left some doubt about whether prosecutors can shut down poker and other casino games that target American players, Cabot said.

And unless the operators set foot in the United States — as Carruthers and Cohen did — it's difficult to extradite them, Cabot said.


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8 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by SassyOhio.
Page 1 of 1
liberal47's avatar - Rowlf
Holt MI
United States
Member #2244
September 4, 2003
69 Posts
Posted: July 19, 2006, 10:10 am - IP Logged

God help anyone who can be a target in an election year!



    Morristown, TN
    United States
    Member #20593
    August 21, 2005
    366 Posts
    Posted: July 19, 2006, 11:04 am - IP Logged

    with all the trouble in the world right now you would think that our government would other more pressing issues to deal with. I quess high energy costs, NorthKorea,Irag, and Iran , not to mention the mess in Israeland illegal immagratiion are not very imprtant. Prohibition should be a lesson that we cannot legilate peoples morals.... they will just use illegal bookmakers at home...tnwinner

      bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

      United States
      Member #12618
      March 18, 2005
      2060 Posts
      Posted: July 19, 2006, 5:38 pm - IP Logged

      Geez, I wonder how long this is going to last. I agree tnwinner, you'd think the government could focus their energies on something more important, like poverty or crime the war going on.

      Dance like no one is watching.

        Jimiam's avatar - ICONATOR 4af8c649273bc68ca3f95ed9dd755e65.jpg

        United States
        Member #39406
        May 15, 2006
        287 Posts
        Posted: July 19, 2006, 8:23 pm - IP Logged

        Repeat, I love a politician like I love a thief and a liar. and I hate a thief and a liar.  ..............Please don't get me wound up today

          United States
          Member #7853
          October 15, 2004
          11350 Posts
          Posted: July 19, 2006, 8:31 pm - IP Logged

          the whole thing is like a real bad joke.politicians are evil,corrupt,lying,backstabbing poseurs.at least most of them are.....BS

            United States
            Member #1424
            April 25, 2003
            696 Posts
            Posted: July 20, 2006, 9:26 pm - IP Logged

            But the wire law doesn't cover other types of casino betting, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled. That has left some doubt about whether prosecutors can shut down poker and other casino games that target American players, Cabot said.

            This may be the key to our problem with Pick 3 and Pick 4 betting.  If the law doesn't cover it, we can't be affected by the Wire law the government is using to presecute the gentleman from Costa Rica.  This is going to get very interesting.

            Orangeman                                                    BS

              United States
              Member #7853
              October 15, 2004
              11350 Posts
              Posted: July 20, 2006, 10:11 pm - IP Logged

              oreangeman.its the financial way of getting money to and from the betting place.if the place you play is lottery and they deal with casino stuff in financial transactions they are still going to be shut down.you do have a point........

                SassyOhio's avatar - Picture012
                Columbus Ohio
                United States
                Member #35946
                March 25, 2006
                234 Posts
                Posted: July 21, 2006, 9:02 am - IP Logged

                I just think that the goverment is getting ticked at the fact that they were making more money then them  LMAO Naughty I dont know I dont like to bet on line like that for any reason ... I just been got to many times ya know what I mean! I know that people do and they get paid but I am just to leary of it .... I am not to sure about this one I will continue to read and learn :D

                Hopin To Be The Lucky Ones!!

                COME ON MEGA! MEGA-ME-RICH!


                Please feel free to visit my sisters memorial page that I have now completed