Sportingbet Case: Expert Opinion
By Joe
As Sportingbet’s non executive chairman prepares for his bail hearing thia fertnoon on charges of ‘betting on a computer’, iGaming Business has spoken with leading iGaming lawyer Peter Wilson about the wider implications of the case and how it relates to the earlier arrest of David Carruthers.

“I think it’s going to make executives of online gambling companies who take bets from the US extremely unlikely to travel there,” said Wilson. “It may also affect the willingness of investors to invest in the companies that take best from the US and it may affect their ability to recruit senior executives.”

Above simple travel and recruitment concerns, Wilson suggests that what was initially considered an isolated case may be developing into a pattern. “There was a feeling that indictment (BetonSports) was part of an attack by the authorities on that company and certain politicians in the US took the opportunity to have a go at the online industry generally,” he says. “People were a bit unsure as to whether it was part of a wider campaign. This arrest now gives a bit more evidence of their being a more generalised campaign against online gambling, but again I don’t think it’s conclusive.”

Wilson is clear though that the risk needs to be viewed in terms of the iGaming industry in general rather than sports books in particular. “It applies across the board,” he says. “There is uncertainty and disagreement over the application of US law and a conflict between state and federal policy. It is difficult to distinguish and assess the risk. The law is uncertain and so is the enforcement. One has to lump together online betting, poker and casinos and say that that is the risk. But obviously that risk is heightened by the taking of phone bets.”

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