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Sportingbet Pays off US Department of Justice


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Sportingbet Plc is just one of many offshore online gambling firms targeted in
recent years by the US Department of Justice for accepting wagers from American
players, and which to avoid being prosecuted, agreed to pay $33 million in
reparations, the final installment of which it repaid this week.

After being
investigated by the Department of Justice, Sportingbet was found guilty of
provided online gambling facilities to players based in the United States
between 1998 and 2006, as well as taking deliberate steps to hide online gaming
credit card transactions and payouts involving US players.

Sportingbet Plc Agreed to Pay Reparations of $33m

As a result, in September 2010 London-based Sportingbet Plc accepted a
non-prosecution deal offered by the Department of Justice requiring the firm to
pay the sum of $33 million in three payments. And now that the final installment
of $6 million has been paid, Sportingbet is all square with US authorities.

This is very good news for Sportingbet because it has now fallen off the
Department of Justice radar and has a ‘clean slate’,which means if and when
online gambling is licensed and regulated in the United States, the internet
betting firm will be allowed to re-enter arguably the world’s most lucrative
online gaming market.

Explained Sportingbet CEO, Andrew McIver, ‘This final payment formally closes
any risk which the company may have faced from its former activities in the US.
Given that the US market continues to show signs of regulating both by product,
and by state in the near future, various opportunities exist to re-enter the US
market and we are reviewing these.’

The Firm was Targeted by the Department of Justice

Little did Sportingbet realise that when in 2001 it started to use various
payment processing methods specifically designed to hide from US credit card
companies that payments made by US players were actually online
gambling-related, that almost a decade later it would be brought to task by the
‘pit bull-like’ US Department of Justice.

The $33 million in reparations
required by the Department was based on revenues generated by US players at
Sportingbet between 1998 and 2006. Although no small sum, Sportingbet got off
fairly lightly considering how PartyGaming founder Anurag Dikshit had to pay
$300 million in reparations to avoid being prosecuted.

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