Could David Carruthers be the savior of Internet betting?

David Carruthers isn’t the only Internet gambling boss facing serious jail time for his involvement in that industry, but he is the only one who seems willing to take on the U.S. over its laws against online betting.

Carruthers is the former CEO of U.K.-based sportsbook, BetonSports.com. He was arrested last July in a Fort Worth, Texas airport during a stopover from Britain to Costa Rica and charged with numerous offenses related to the operation of the company.

Unlike other net betting executives now facing charges, such as bosses from BetUS.com and Neteller, Carruthers is planning to take America to task over the legal basis of the laws which will be used to prosecute him on charges of racketeering and wire fraud.

In a letter sent to former advisors of BetonSports, Carruthers asked his allies to lobby the U.K. government for support in his case. He also accused the U.S. government of actions that have “destroyed businesses, free competition and lives” and disclosed that he will use a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling as a part of his defense.

Last month the WTO ruled in favor of Antigua and Barbuda after the tiny Caribbean nation challenged American laws against Internet betting which Antigua claimed were in conflict with trade agreements. Antigua, which is home to a large number of Internet gaming companies, complained that by using laws such as the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to force banks to deny payments to and from online casinos and sportsbooks, the U.S. damaged an important sector of the Antiguan economy and cost the country millions of dollars.

In a ruling on Feb. 15, 2007, a WTO panel found the U.S. in violation of international trade agreements and “was acting inconsistently with its obligations under ... the GATS (Global Agreement on Trade in Service).” The panel also found that the U.S. defense of “public morality” did not apply because American laws allow other forms of Internet betting, such as horse racing and lottery betting.

The U.S. did not amend its domestic laws to bring them in line with international obligations. Instead they claimed they never meant for Internet gambling to be included in the agreements and essentially rewrote their obligations under GATS.

In his letter Carruthers wrote, “The U.S. decision to arrest me not only shut down BetonSports, but the actions by the U.S. government have destroyed nearly all the public online gaming companies in the U.K.

“Based on what the WTO has now called a treaty violation, more than $10 billion in equity of U.K.-listed companies were wiped away. Three U.K.-listed gaming companies have closed completely and other U.K. citizens have been arrested as well, victims of a policy that the WTO has now determined as unfair and violates their treaties.”

This case could become one of the most significant in the long history of legal wrangling between the U.S. government and the online gambling industry.

Carruthers isn’t the first executive to come under the hammer of American justice. Other CEOs like Ron Sacco of BetCris and Jay Cohen of WSEX have gone to jail because of their positions in the industry. The difference, however, is that Sacco and Cohen didn’t have a weapon like the recent WTO ruling to wield in their defense.

Before the UIGEA was passed in Congress last October, U.S. law enforcement used the 1961 “Wire Act” to prosecute offshore bookmakers, but that was an archaic law which didn’t account for the

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Posted by bigdaddydago8
7 years ago

betcris bounced their check to me. They said they will send a replacement check in 7-10 days. My check was only for $800. so if they bounce that, watch out for the big payouts to bounce.
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Posted by bigdaddydago8
7 years ago

Bill Maher is an fool.
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Posted by daneish
7 years ago

RS24SEVEN says it all, I've been saying the same thing for the past 10 years, the people are being trampled by Bush's archaic laws and the public suffers, if the public enjoys something in his eyes it's no good for us. He doesn't watch the news or read the papers because he is so oblivious to reality, and I agree with Bill Maher, he's an idiot.
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Posted by McAlpine
7 years ago

With all the advertising foreign sportsbooks direct toward the U.S. market, I think the govt felt they needed to fire a shot across the bow of the offshore book business. The charges against Carruthers in particular are a sham. They guy wasn't even heading for a US destination - his plan was enroute through Dallas (I believe) and US agents boarded the plane and pulled him off! Guess what? Now both Canbet (UK) and Pinnacle Sports (Carribean) are officially NOT accepting any wagers from US customers. Canbet has a way of detecting the location of your computer, and if you attempt to make wagering transactions from the US their computers will automatically block you! The govt got what it wanted, and now fewer books will take US action. Of course, there will always be some (CRIS Sports, SBG Global...) whose owners simply don't ever plan to set foot on US soil who will stay in the business. Still, the application of the law is uneven and heavy-handed. I hope Carruthers wins!
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Posted by RS24SEVEN
7 years ago

What ever happened to "OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE"? We are constantly bombarded by freedom threatening and business consuming decisions and legislative decisions that are made with no consideration for what effect it may have on people's lives and businesses. Our United States Govt. simply wants to control the masses. Local law enforcement doesn't operate like they did in the good ol' days with a stern warning or a friendly reminder when a business might be operating in a new form (internet). Let's face facts and understand that we are living in a changing world and we deserve to be treated(legislated and represented) by competent, educated, savvy legislators,judges, law enforcement. Our powers that be are simply not up to speed and don't want to take the time and effort to become knowledgeable and understand the needs (demands) of the public they are sworn to serve. It's time to rise up and demand to be treated and heard in a way that forces these " self serving, career advancement whoremongers" will understand. " IF WE DON'T STAND UP FOR SOMETHING.....WE WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING !!!! " I truly hope Mr. Carruthers sees this comment and contacts me so I can send him some money to help with his much needed stand against " BAD GOVERNMENT " that comes nowhere near the idea of " for the people, by the people". rs24seven@aol.com
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Posted by 10jqka
7 years ago

With this much money involved anything can happen
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Posted by WizardOfOdd
7 years ago

The U.S. Govt. is a joke! They are the "bully" in all cases and get what they want. They are hypocrites (sp?) . You can buy lotto, bet on horses, dogs, yet not on sports!! You can smoke all the ciggaretts and buy all the guns, which KILL people, but you cannot bet online!! Why......Why.......Because they dont get a piece of the pie!!!!!! I really hope that the U.S. Govt. one day realizes they are idiots!!
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Posted by golfkat
7 years ago

I don't think anyone will ever win a ruling over the U. S. government. The courts always rule in favor of the "government". The courts are part of the government, why would they not rule in favor of it. We will never see neteller or Pinnacle again.
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Top Response

Posted by daneish
7 years ago

"RS24SEVEN says it all, I've been saying the same thing for the past 10 years, the people are being trampled by Bush's archaic laws and the public suffers, if the public enjoys something in his eyes it's no good for us. He doesn't watch the news or r..."