Second Internet Gambling Executive Arrested in U.S.

The chairman of British online gambling company Sportingbet has been detained in New York on a fugitive warrant, two months after the chief executive of BetonSports was arrested in the United States on racketeering charges.

The United States House of Representatives passed the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act July 11 by a vote of 317-93, but defeated an amendment that would extended the proposed ban on Internet gambling to horse racing and state lotteries. The legislation, which also modernizes the Wire Act of 1961, attempts to stymie Internet gambling by outlawing use of credit to make bets and mandating criminal penalties. Its primary target is offshore online casinos that take wagers from U.S. residents.

Chances for introduction and passage of an Internet gambling bill by the Senate remain unclear. Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has championed similar legislation in his chamber since the late 1990s.

Customs, performing a routine name check at about 11:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 6, discovered Sportingbet chairman Peter Dicks had an outstanding warrant issued by the Louisiana State Police Gaming Enforcement Division. The July 12 warrant charged Dicks, who lives in London, with gambling by computer, which is punishable by up to a year in prison.

Just a week after the House passed the Internet gambling legislation, federal officials charged 11 people, including the chief executive of BetonSports, with conspiracy, racketeering, and fraud in taking sports bets from United States residents.

BetonSports and three other firms were also charged in the 22-count indictment, which was unsealed July 17 in St. Louis, Mo. A federal judge ordered BetonSports to stop accepting bets placed from within the U.S.

The company's chief executive, David Carruthers, and four other defendants were arrested. The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking the forfeiture of $4.5 billion, cars, and computers from the defendants.