|The non executive chairman of UK based company Sportingbet, Peter Dicks, has been granted a $50,000 bail by the Queens county court in New York following his arrest by US authorities at JFK airport on Thursday.|
Mr. Dicks was granted bail by New York Supreme Court Justice John Latella while he fights extradition to Louisiana on criminal charges of illegal Internet gambling, in a hearing to be held on 14 September. The court has also ordered Mr. Dicks to surrender his passport.
One London analyst said of the situation: 'I'm surprised this news isn't being taken more negatively ... Louisiana makes no distinction between sports betting and other games, which means that they are as likely to issue an arrest warrant for a PartyGaming or 888.com executive as they are for a Sportingbet one.'
A spokesman for the Louisiana state police said that Mr. Dicks had been detained by US Customs “for charges that our gaming enforcement division was doing as part of an investigation on Sportingbet.com.”
He also warned that other warrants have been issued for two further members of the Sportingbet corporation which carry a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $20,000 fine.
Industry sources believe Sportingbet chief executive Nigel Payne and founder Mark Blandford could face arrest were they to travel to the US, and could also face extradition proceedings. A police statement confirmed that arrest warrants were issued for Peter Dicks and other Sportingbet staff in May, however, neither Mr. Payne, who has a home in Florida, nor Mr. Blandford have visited the US since the arrest of former BetOnSports CEO David Carruthers.
Sportingbet's shares on the London Stock Exchange have since been suspended, but shares in rival PartyGaming closed just 0.25% lower after slumping 10% on Thursday, while 888 Holdings added 1.04% after slumping 16% a day earlier.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Sportingbet added that it had not received correspondence from any US authority regarding 'this or any related matter'.