Sportingbet to contest court ruling
By paul
Shares in online bookmaker Sportingbet fell sharply last week after an Australian court ordered the company to repay $3221400 (US$ 1960400) placed by a customer who was the subject of a theft allegation.

The London Stock Exchange listed company said in October that it was party to legal action over bets placed by a telephone betting customer. Sportingbet inherited the customer when it acquired Australian firm Number One Betting Shop in 2001.

The customer, Craig Telford, is alleged to have defrauded up to Aus $21 million (US$ 12779661) from K&S Transport to feed his gambling habit.

Sportingbet has been ordered by the court to hand back the money to the company. Sportingbet said that it would be lodging an appeal against the court's decision within the 42 day time limit.

Sportingbet has had setbacks recently, including last week's profits warning. The company blamed a disastrous horse racing programme at Cheltenham and poor results from US basketball betting.

In January, the London-based firm said customer numbers had risen to 837,000, making it one of the biggest online sports bookmakers in the world, with operations in Europe, the US and Asia.

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