|Sportingbet.com chief executive Nigel Payne said the decision by Citibank to block its U.S. credit card holder was being politically motivated. |
Mr Payne said of the New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer, who encouraged the bank to make the ban: “He will have a political angle somewhere. I'm guessing, but New York has announced it will build a new Las Vegas outside New York which starts next year. I suspect the political lobbyists have said that they had better start rubbishing the online guys.'
It is hoped that the casino development will generate $1 billion (£700m) of revenue to the state each year.
Sportingbet is attempting to persuade American authorities to recognise the company as a legitimate business in exchange for it paying £7.5m tax annually.
It has seen its share price almost halve this year, amid fears of a US clampdown on internet gambling. The shares are worth about 86p.
Graham Sharp, a William Hill spokesman, dismissed suggestions that the Citibank move could hit its business. He said: 'Why should it? We are not dealing with an unsophisticated market. They will just use another card.'
On Friday attorney general Eliot Spitzer announced that Citibank, America's largest credit card issuer, had agreed to block online gambling using its cards.
But Mr Payne said that Citibank has been blocking internet transactions for 15 months, a claim that he said was backed up by archived US newspaper reports. Citibank insisted it had only recently put the policy in place.