November 10, 2006 10:33 AM PST

U.S. permanently bans BetOnSports

British gambling site BetOnSports has agreed to cease accepting wagers from U.S. customers, closing the civil component of the feds' battle against the operation.

Under a settlement entered Thursday by a federal judge in St. Louis, the company must also return all wagers received from U.S. customers as of July 17, 2006, to the appropriate account holders and set up a toll-free telephone hotline that gives U.S. members instructions on how to obtain their refunds.

The court instructed BetOnSports to cancel its U.S. trademarks to the name, among others, and to cease advertising its properties inside the United States. The company must also place prominent markers on its sites to alert potential gamblers that "it is a violation of U.S. law to transmit sports wagers or betting information" on international telephone lines. In addition, it must take out a full-page ad broadcasting a similar statement in a U.S. newspaper with national circulation.

Company representatives were not immediately available for comment on Friday, but a representative told the Associated Press in a statement that BetOnSports was not admitting wrongdoing by agreeing to the settlement.

BetOnSports has already opted to shut off its "U.S. facing operations" based in Antigua and Costa Rica and to repay its American customers' account balances "in a timely manner," according to a notice posted on its Web site. Between 2002 and 2004, the company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, took in wagers amounting to nearly $4 billion, 98 percent of which came from U.S.-based gamblers, according to court documents.

The civil settlement, however, does not end the once-prosperous gambling company's legal woes.

Criminal racketeering charges have been filed against the company and 11 of its employees, including founder Gary Kaplan and former Chief Executive Officer David Carruthers. Scottish-born Carruthers, who was arrested in July, pleaded not guilty. As part of the conditions of his bond, Carruthers remains under house arrest in a hotel outside St. Louis. Kaplan is a fugitive.

Combating the Internet gambling industry, which rakes in an estimated $12 billion annually, proved high on the Bush administration's agenda this year. A controversial measure that criminalizes transferring funds related to most forms of Internet gambling received President Bush's signature in October, albeit in a seemingly unlikely place: a massive port security bill.

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What about personal freedom?
I am so tired of the hubris and arrogance shown by government
officials all over the world.

Why have so many people forgotten that the purpose of
government, according to the Declaration of Independence on
which the united States of America is founded, is to secure the
Free Exercise of each individual's God-given Rights?

Where do U.S. and British officials come off preventing
individuals who choose to do so from gambling online?

I am not a gambler, but I stand in defense of each individual's
rights to make choices about his or her life, even "bad" choices.

I left America because it has become more like Nazi Germany
than the Founders' vision of freedom.

Government should never be allowed to dictate what individuals
can and cannot do with their own property, so long as those
same individuals do no damage to another's life, liberty or
property in the process.
Posted by VoiceofFreedom (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting thougts
I wonder what would happen if this was brought before the US Supreme Court where the merits of a law are weighed against the constitution.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Here we go with "personal freedoms"
Is it my personal freedom to go kill someone? Would the government be interfering with my rights if they arrested me? You won't agree with me but it's the same thing. Using a phone to wager is against the law. Plain and simple. If you don't like that law, write your congressman and get the laws changed. Until that time the government has every right to pull the plug on a $12 billion illegal operation.
Posted by jayhawk73 (61 comments )
Link Flag
the pursuit of property
As far as I am aware the declaration of independence has no legal weight in the US, although for a comparatively ordered country it is given greater dignity than one might expect a rebellious document to receive. But if one is going to dignify rebels then why not dignify their motives of keeping money in American rather than British hands: then taxes, now online sales!
Posted by therealCSMR (7 comments )
Link Flag
Cant Beat Them Ban Them
Land of the not so free, yes that right . Its great to be an American. You have no rights , the government is corrupt on both side and if its not making you guys rich you ban it, or protect it through quota and subsidies. However you will not respect others if they do the same. Wake up there is a world outside your borders. You know just near where you are building the big wall to help Mexico from being swamped with US residents desperate to escape the biggest detention camp in the world.

This will be appealed as anti competitive and because it is self serving, dishonest and a crock.
Posted by rorybaust (17 comments )
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I agree with a lot of your comments. As for BetOnSports I am certainly not a big fan of losing the rights to do as you please in your own home so I am an advocate of online gaming. There were problems with BetOnSports though. They had a knack for not paying people. Check out this book about BetOnSports.
Posted by HacksawH (1 comment )
Link Flag
Whatever you think about the rest of it, forcing a company to cancel its trademarks goes above and beyond.

So much for the great free market.
Posted by perfectblue97 (326 comments )
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just saw this website, how do i get back alot of money i lost
Posted by joema3811 (1 comment )
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hey guys check this out, the one secret to sports betting is revealed!! i just bought it, its unreal!!
Posted by moneymakerhb (2 comments )
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