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Online casino pays off US investigation

US bets remain off

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Shares of online casino PartyGaming jumped 17 per cent today after it announced a legal settlement with US authorities.

The US Attorney General has been investigating the site since Congress outlawed online gaming for US citizens by passing the Safe Port Act in 2006. PartyGaming stopped taking bets from US customers, which it identified from credit card address. Prior to the ban, PartyGaming got about 80 per cent its revenue from US gamblers.

PartyGaming will pay the US Attorney General $105m as part of a "Non-Prosecution Agreement". The cash will be paid in six monthly instalments.

As part of the deal, PartyGaming admits taking bets from US citizens prior to October 2006, contrary to certain US laws. The company will continue to prevent US punters from using its services.

In December last year, PartyGaming co-founder Anurag Dikshit handed over $300m as part of a guilty plea to offences under the Wire Act. He is due to be sentenced in December 2010 and could still face jail.

US authorities have also arrested executives from Betonsports and Sportingbet.

The EU is still investigating whether the US ban breaks world trade laws. ®

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