Defendants React to New Jersey Complaints

23 October 2001
A week after the filing of civil lawsuits in New Jersey against several of the biggest names in online sports betting the fallout continues to be felt.

New Jersey Attorney General John J. Farmer Jr. filed civil lawsuit against eight online gaming operations for violating the state's law by accepting wagers for Garden State residents. The defendants named in the suit are 2betdsi.com, Intercasino.com, Laythepoints.com, Sportingbet.com, Sportsbook.com, Intertops.com, BetonSports.com and Betmill.com


"It is going to be easier to serve [the defendants] with the papers because we know who they are and where to find them."
- John Peter Suarez
Director, New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement

The lawsuits mark the second round of civil complaints filed in New Jersey against Internet gambling sites. In June the DGE and Consumer Affairs filed civil actions against Alohacasino.com, Royalclubcasino.com and 7sultants.com.

At the heart of the case is the principle that online gambling sites are breaking the law by providing illegal betting facilities to users in New Jersey, even if the operators aren't based within the state.

John Peter Suarez, New Jersey's Director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, told IGN on Monday that the process was moving along and that he was hoping to get a speedy conclusion to this round of cases.

This batch of defendants is different from the earlier round, according to Suarez, and issues should be resolved in a timelier manner than before.

"We know who these companies are that run these sites," he said. "It is going to be easier to serve them with the papers because we know who they are and where to find them."

Despite this assurance, some of the defendants claim they still haven't received any official word on the suit.

Sportingbet.com chief executive Nigel Payne passed the case off as "spurious" in the British press. He pointed out that his company is based in England and Alderney and is therefore under the jurisdiction of the British Isles, where it has a license. Gamblers using its services are effectively betting in the British Isles, he said, no matter where in the world they are sitting at their computer keyboard, he said.

The company said it can't confirm the nature of the actions because it hasn't received the actual complaint. The company also said that New Jersey has no jurisdiction to bring any actions against the company because it has no subsidiaries or physical operations, personnel or other assets within the United States.

Payne told London's Sunday Times that he isn't overly concerned with the case since his company has a tradition of being on the up-and-up.

"Sportingbet's policy is to conduct its business throughout the world within an appropriate licensed framework and with the highest standards of scrutiny and integrity," he said.

An executive with Intertops told IGN that his company has yet to see any legal documents, but has heard from numerous sources about the legal action.

He did say that, if the reports are true, it would be the first time the company has been sued.

"We run a tight ship," he said. "We go by the book and have never had a single lawsuit brought against us. We operate in legally, licensed jurisdictions."

The official said the company has no strategy for dealing with the case because, much like Sportingbet, it has no idea what it is dealing with.

CryptoLogic, a software supplier for online casinos and the owner of the InterCasino domain name, told analysts and reporters in its third quarter earnings conference call that it has recommended that its licensees sever ties to online sports books.

CEO Jean Noelting said that, in light of the suit, the InterCasino site has been modified so that New Jersey residents are unable to wager.

Company officials said they were brought into the suit as a third party because it had a link to World Wide Tele-Sport, an online betting site owned by a former owner of InterCasino.

Suarez is confident his office will see some action from this suit. In addition to naming the eight gaming operators, cease and desist letters were sent to telephone companies that provide toll-free service to the sites.

"If you pick up a phone and someone answers on the other end and you make a bet with them that sure sounds like a bookie to me," said Suarez.

He added that DGE has received "good cooperation from the phone companies."

Having trouble locating defendants named in the first cases has been a challenge for Suarez. He acknowledged that it's hard to see action, but pointed out that one of the sites named in the original case, RoyalClubCasino.com, has been closed down.




Nobody knows where Kevin Smith came from. He simply showed up one day and started writing articles for IGN. We liked him, so we decided to keep him. We think you'll like him too. Kevin can be reached at kevin@igamingnews.com.