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Sportingbet set free in Louisiana

Dicks at ease

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Online gambling giant Sportingbook announced today in a statement that the State of Louisiana had canceled all outstanding arrest warrants issued against current or former employees, including ex-CEO Peter Dicks.

Dicks was arrested last year in New York on a warrant issued by the State of Louisiana and was subsequently released by New York authorities, who refused to honor the warrant and extradite Dicks to Louisiana. Mr. Dicks resigned his position as CEO shortly thereafter, and Sportingbet pulled the plug on its American business entirely, selling it off for $1.

The fire sale of its American front helped lead to a wide scale collapse in the share prices of other publicly listed online gambling companies, which have only recently begun to recover from almost a year of heavy-handed American enforcement efforts.

The announcement is another piece of good news for the industry, coming quickly on the heels of widespread reports that Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Chairman of the House Finance Committee and longtime opponent of online gambling prohibitionism, had seriously begun to consider legislation repealing the much-maligned Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

Although Louisiana's actions are irrelevant to the UIGEA itself, being a federal statute, it does seem to indicate that a more rational debate about internet gambling is taking hold in the US. Frank's candid remarks to the Financial Times provoked a nervous response from Senator John Kyl, one of the idealogical driving forces behind the UIGEA, who circulated a letter through Congress and the executive branch urging all to stand firm on the UIGEA.

Positive developments all around for the troubled online gambling industry.®

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