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SportingBet Settles with US Department of Justice
And at $33 million it's a better deal than expected
Making the mainstream headlines everywhere mid-week is the news that the UK internet gambling group Sportingbet.com has settled with the US Department of Justice regarding its pre-UIGEA activities. And the good news for investors is that, at $33 million, the deal is better than that experienced by other companies and individuals.
The agreement better positions the company should online gambling be legalised and regulated in the United States, with just such an initiative through the committee stage in Congress and awaiting debate.
“This non-prosecution deal is an excellent agreement,” Barry Slotnick, a lawyer for Sportingbet, said yesterday of the deal with Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “It’s good for the company and for its shareholders. Ultimately some day, Sportingbet may return back to U.S. shores when Internet gambling becomes legal.”
As part of the non-prosecution agreement entered Monday between the company and Bharara’s office, Sportingbet said it would maintain a permanent restriction on providing Internet gambling services to U.S. customers as required by U.S. law, unless the law changes.
The company also agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and an ongoing probe by prosecutors in Bharara’s office. According to news agency reports, Sportingbet agreed to provide the US government with requested documents and make its employees available to U.S. investigators.
“We spent three years coming to this ultimate conclusion,” Barry Slotnick, a lawyer for Sportingbet, told the Bloomberg news agency in a phone interview.
The agreement documentation includes a statement by Sportingbet which admits that from 1998 until October 12, 2006, when the UIGEA passed, it offered Internet gaming to players located in the U.S., including real-money sports betting as well as wagering on poker and casino games. By the end of 2006, most of its active customers were located in the U.S., the company said.
Beginning in 2001, Sportingbet began using payment processing methods designed to misrepresent the nature of its customers’ gaming transactions to U.S. credit card issuers that disallowed the use of their cards for Internet gambling, the company said in court papers.
Sportingbet also took steps to mask payments of gaming winnings to U.S. customers, the company said in the statement filed as part of the accord.
The $33 million settlement is substantially lower than the $105 million which Party Gaming plc paid to clean its slate of similar potential prosecutions.
In return, US authorities have agreed not to prosecute officers of Sportingbet for accepting bets from US citizens prior to passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
Speaking for the government, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara outlined the factors considered by his department in quantifying and making the settlement decision. He said that these were paid down in the Department of Justice Principles of Federal Prosecutions of Business Organizations, namely:
(1) Sportingbet’s cooperation with the Government’s ongoing investigation into the illegal online gambling industry;
(2) Sportingbet’s termination of all real-money Internet gambling services for U.S. customers in October 2006;
(3) its agreement to disgorge $33 million; and
(4) the negative effect that charges against Sportingbet would have on the company’s innocent employees and legitimate activities.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arlo Devlin-Brown and Nicole Friedlander ran the investigation into Sportingbet, assisted by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockard is in charge of the forfeiture arrangements.
Betradar Launches US Sports Betting Solutions -
With only a few weeks to go until the betting and gambling world descends on ICE in London, Betradar have today announced that they will be launching a comprehensive range of tools and services to any company that will be looking to provide sports betting in a post-PASPA United States.
Final 12 For MPNPT Morocco -
Sunday on the MPN Poker Tour Morocco will see several trophies awarded at the Mazagan Beach Resort, with the largest going to the Main Event champion along with a prize of MAD 400,000 (c.€35,400).
MPNPT Morocco Updates -
Leading the 104 combined survivors from both flights is still Said El-Yousfi with 272,000 chips; visit the MPN Poker Tour blog for an end-of-day recap and full chip counts.
MPN Poker Tour Morocco Day 1A -
The MPN Poker Tour has returned to Morocco this week (January 11-14), featuring the MAD 1.5 million guaranteed Main Event, accompanying side events, and the activities and parties for which this tour has now become known on two continents.
2018 MPN Poker Classic -
The MPN announces the return of The Classic tournament series this January. The series is back following its successful €350,000 guaranteed debut in 2017. This time €500,000 is guaranteed, along with a once in a lifetime trip to Monaco for the Classic Champion.
PDC and Sportradar Renew Deal -
Following this month’s hugely successful World Championship, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and long-standing partners Sportradar have renewed their multi-faceted cooperation that will see the leader in sports data and content continuing in their role as official data
Poker Yaar Joins MPN -
Available through download, instant play and mobile, Pokeryaar.com is live with Omaha, Hold’em and Five-Card poker variants, alongside MPN’s Fish Party, the industry’s only progressive jackpot SNGs.
New MPN Poker Rooms Tower Torneos -
Impressed with Microgaming, having already integrated with the Quickfire platform to gain access to some of the industry’s best gaming content, Tower Torneos has extended the relationship with poker.<
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