In accordance with a temporary restraining order issued on Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice, BetonSports has shut down its sports betting, casino and poker Web sites--a move that will likely cost the company more than £4 million a day in lost revenues.
"It is a court order," a company spokesman explained, "and we were told it was in our benefit to comply."
The company has so far refused to comply with other parts of the order, in particular the request to refund all its U.S. customers and place a full-page ad in a U.S. national newspaper stating it is a violation of U.S. law to accept bets.
The U.S. government has also insisted that BoS establish a toll-free phone number for customers to call and retrieve money lodged with the company.
The company said it is looking at appealing the order.
Internet gambling executives in Britain were told Wednesday that they are at risk of fast-track extradition to the United States because their businesses are breaking U.S. tax law, according to British newspaper the Times. Executives are reportedly worried because the indictment against BetonSports includes allegations of tax evasion. The company is accused of failing to collect wagering excise tax on $3 billion (£1.6 billion) of bets placed by U.S. punters.
The execs are vulnerable to fast-track extradition for tax evasion because they take bets from Americans without charging taxes on them. Under the new fast-track extradition procedure defended by Tony Blair as an anti-terror reform, U.S. prosecutors can demand the extradition of suspects from Britain without showing they have a case to answer.
But Britain will refuse to extradite suspects for breaking U.S. laws against Internet gambling, the report said, because extradition is available only if conduct is illegal in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
European countries have agreed to hand over passenger lists to the United States as part of the War on Terror, which may have given investigators advance warning of Carruthers' Sunday itinerary, according to the Times.
The U.S. government is reportedly opposing bail for Carruthers, who is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing on Friday. Authorities have informed the defense team that they consider Carruthers a flight risk because he is a foreign national and request that he remains in custody.
The World Trade Organization on Wednesday set up a panel at the request of the government of Antigua and Barbuda to investigate whether U.S. restrictions on Internet gambling comply with international trade rules. The request was made after discussions with the United States failed to yield a solution to a dispute over whether Washington should drop prohibitions on Americans placing bets in online casinos. The panel will report on the case within 90 days. Either side can appeal the decision.